Before you ask, I will confess: We are not going to offer gluten-free bread. We will make breads made without wheat but we are not going to have any without any gluten.
There’s no point in making bread for people who really have celiac disease. Our store is going to be suffused with wheat and rye gluten; it will be in the air, on the ceiling and the walls. Those with celiac won’t want even to come into the bakery, I fear.
As for the gluten-intolerant, we will be making breads in traditional ways and making them with organic flours and grains; so some gluten-intolerant people may find that our breads are digestible.
As for those who avoid wheat because that is a currently fashionable way to eat, all I can say is that we are going to be a very glutinous store and we’ll never see Gwyneth Paltrow at Bread Furst.
There is one more reason for our not offering gluten-free bread. I have not been able to make one I like; nor have I tasted one I like. They always seem to me dense and gummy and very poor substitutes for well-made bread.
I don’t take it as lightly as I am making it appear. I certainly would dislike having to avoid foods made with wheat. At least 1.8 million Americans have celiac disease and no one knows exactly why. Is it environmental? Is it because we have changed so much the genetics of wheat?
There are as well who-knows-how-many people who are gluten-intolerant, those who feel slightly queasy or more than slightly when they eat bread made with wheat, sometimes other grains too. There is some indication that some of those people can eat bread that is well made, that is to say bread made in traditional ways with traditional grains. We’ll be doing that.
And then there are the 1.6 million people who avoid gluten because that is a current dietary style. What can I say?
My own dietary perspective that certainly will be reflected at Bread Furst is that what counts most in a healthy diet is prudence and balance. We are going to offer at the store foods that lean heavily on vegetables and grains. We are going to make breads from whole grains and ancient grains and our breads will be made from organic flours and grains. And our pastries and desserts – cookies and the like – will be modestly sized.
We won’t be a health food store and every food we make will taste good – at least in our mouths. At the end, that’s what counts most to us.