Monday, November 9, 2009

Great Harvest Bread offers Gluten Free Bread

My gluten free UNC student alerted me to the fact a few weeks ago that the Great Harvest Bread Company in Chapel Hill is offering gluten free bread on Thursdays. I called and spoke with the owner, Rebecca McCorkle, to gather further information. She informed me that they offer both a plain sandwich loaf and a cinnamon raisin variety, each for $5.95. She also explained that they understand the importance of limiting the risk of cross contamination. Thus, the gluten free loaves are baked first thing in the morning in machinery that has been clean and sanitized. They are baked in disposable pans. The gluten free loaves are also stored with a paper covering over the top. I contacted the Dieitian, who serves as a nutrition consultant with with the corporate Great Harvest Bread Company and received the following information: That many of the franchise stores have begun to offer Gluten Free Bread, the basic recipe includes: Water, Cultured Buttermilk, Tapioca Flour, Honey, Brown Rice Flour, Eggs, Buckwheat, Flax Seeds, Cornstarch, Butter (Milk), Yeast, Xantham Gum, Salt, and White Wine Vinegar. NOTE The Chapel Hill Store is offering their bread as both GLUTEN FREE and DAIRY FREE. They have modified their recipe to substitute the buttermilk with rice milk and replace the butter with canola oil. So what about Cross Contamination? The email from the corporate dietitian reads: "Please keep in mind that Great Harvest is a whole grain bread company and that we have lots of flour dust in the bakery. We cannot guarantee a completely gluten free product." Rebecca, from the Chapel Hill Store, seems very motivated to meet the needs of those needing to consume a safe GF product and is willing to consider testing for the presence of gluten in their product. I plan to provide them with further information on reliable testing of products. My daughter and I have tasted both varieties of their bread without any noticeable negative reactions. The quality of the bread is very good and the slices taste good both toasted and freshly sliced. If these products test less than the 20 ppm level, they will make a nice addition to a gluten free diet.

Location and Hours:

229 S. Elliott Road
Chapel Hill, NC


Great Harvest is open:

Tuesday-Friday 7am-6pm
Saturday 7am-4pm

1 comment:

apward said...

I second the verdict on the taste and quality of the bread -- especially the cinnamon raisin bread. Like most GF breads, a little warming in the microwave or toaster makes them palatable. The only drawback is the cost, which makes the purchase a once a month, rather than once a week thing.