Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I realize it has been weeks since my last post, and I apologize. However when you read what's going on I think you will understand.

It's a Friday evening and I'm racing to finish dinner before my wife gets home. The theme is Middle Eastern: eggplant dip, vegetables braised in pickled lemon and raj el hanouf, and a salad with clementines and arugula. It's 7:40, and Leslie is due at 8:00. And it then dawns on me: I've forgotten to make the flatbread.
No worries. I open a ziplock of flour blend, pour it into a bowl, add water, stir and fire the oven. At 7:50 the heat is up and three discs of garlic fermented flatbread dough go in. At 7:57 they are done. At 8:10 we're sitting down to dinner, warm naan in hand.
A boule of gluten-free bread, made from my Classic Sourdough blend
Such is life in the Luce household these days. Very easy. Very optimistic. Despite the flow of recent events....
A month ago my latest attempt to negotiate a business opportunity with a wholesale gluten-free baker fell through. For a day or two it looked as if Luce's Gluten-Free Artisan Bread was going to remain a pipe dream. And then I bit the bullet and made a decision: my breads weren't going to get on the market unless I put them there, and no way I was not putting them there. Since I didn't want to bake by the truckload, I decided to make and sell dry blends. 
By last week I'd come up with flour formulas and a supportive technique that would let anyone, without skills or even sophisticated kitchen tools, make artisan gluten-free bread. By which I mean: Crispy crust; moist, open crumb; deep, rewarding taste; an ingredient list that's primarily whole grains; a staling timeline that runs to 7 days.
A couple of you are thinking, "Hey, wait - I tested something like that last fall." Indeed I put some beta out there. But the feedback I heard pushed me to make one final change: devise a bread mix that was not only easy but very fast. Which I've done.
Dinner rolls made from my New Italian blend
Buyers of my GF mixes won't just get a bag of flour, but a whole "kit"; all pre-measured and ready to go. No sophisticated tools or techniques are required: you can make bread with nothing more than a bowl, a stirring spoon, a measuring cup, water and an oven. The mixes aren’t only gluten-free, they're dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free and nut-free. Plus you don't have to add any of these ingredients. Which I know sounds incredibly bland, but believe me, they're not bland. Also, the bread does not need to rise. You mix it up, shape it into a loaf and bake it. From package to cooling rack is about 1 hour. (That 10-minute garlic flatbread is still in testing. I hope to release it over the summer).
So. I've found a rental space and we’re negotiating terms. We’ve got a budget and we're raising capital. We perfected the formulas and we’re getting nutrition labels. We’ve designed packaging. We're working like mad toward a goal of product launch by May 1. 
I'll open with three types of bread: Classic Sourdough, New Italian and Bold Buckwheat. More descriptions will be on my revised website, which should appear mid-April. In the pipeline are many more flavors, and some specialty blends too. Ever had Lefse bread? Berber bread? I've a (GF) blend for that. 
Bold Buckwheat. From flour to this took < 1 hour.
We'll sell directly to consumers through our website, but we also plan to get products in stores. Eventually we want to sell bulk to professionals: caterers, bakers, chefs. Wouldn't you just love to walk into any good restaurant and see crusty gluten-free loaves in the bread basket? That's my goal.
Since receiving a diagnosis of Celiac Disease in October 2002 I've worked to invent excellent, honest gluten-free bread. I've finally - and really, truly - got there. I can hardly wait to share my work with the world.


Anonymous said...

Can't wait to buy it!!!

Anonymous said...

To get into restaurants, maybe you should go on the road, like Colonel Sanders did. He started out at your age, traveling around and sleeping in his car, and look where he wound up!

Wholesale gluten free said...

Nice post..

Gluten free bread looking awesome..

Charles Luce said...

Thank you! I'll let you know when we're ready to ship to Australia.

Anonymous said...

I guess you've abandoned your blog. Have checked every day for almost a month and no posts. Oh well. --Not Betty Crocker

Charles Luce said...

So sorry! Thank you for checking daily. I've been spending most of my time trying to get the dry blend business launched, which gives me little to write about entertainingly. I'll do something before Easter Monday - promise!!!