The link: Mojca Pipus
Name: Mojca Pipus
Residence: Economy, Beaver County
From loaves of bread to pumpkin tarts, Mojca (pronounced Moy-tsa) Pipus, 33, bakes it all. The owner of Squirrel Hill's Gluuteny, the city's only gluten-free bakery, began baking sans gluten three years ago when her daughter was diagnosed with a form of autism at age 3. Pipus went online and found that a gluten-free diet could help her daughter, but when she couldn't find any gluten-free products worthy of her daughter's taste buds, she strapped on an apron and got to work.
Question: When did you know you had perfected your pastries?
Answer: There was no magic formula. I baked the same thing 50 times. I would make a small change, and the whole thing would be completely garbage. When I finally got it, until I was like, "Oh my God, that's perfect." Then, at some point, I realized other people need that, too.
Q: Is baking gluten-free much different than the normal baking process?
A: This has nothing to do with regular baking. I had to forget everything I knew. It's like completely different. The whole chemistry is messed up. It was completely new. (In regular baking), gluten is like glue -- it's the thing that makes things happen in baking -- it holds stuff together and gives texture. You can't take the regular recipe and put different flour in there. You have to readjust everything.
Q: How much of your menu did you have perfected before you opened Gluuteny?
A: I made a few things after I knew I was going to open a business, but the majority of the stuff on the menu I made for my daughter.
Q: How often are you in the kitchen?
A: All the way up to this week, I was killing myself working. Somehow, maybe I have it figured out and organized, because I finally feel like I own the place. I hope I don't have to do it again, because I'm a night person. I want to sleep in in the morning.
Q: Have you had any baking nightmares?
A: When I perfected the chocolate chip cookie, I said "Honey, oh my God, this is a million-dollar chocolate chip cookie," and then I lost the recipe. I swear it took me like six hours to get it. I was up all night crying, trying to find the recipe. I didn't have it memorized.
Q: Have you ever thought of putting things on the menu from your home country of Slovenia?
A: No, because I know people want their comfort foods. They want the things they know. They don't crave some fancy pastry from I don't know where. They want to have a muffin, a chocolate chip cookie.
Q: Are there any advantages for someone without dietary needs to eat gluten free?
A: No. You're gonna get fat either way. It's only good for you if you cannot have other stuff, but for anyone else, no.