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Bakery owner brings gluten-free treats to Dickerson Run

| Saturday, June 11, 2011

Made-to-order gluten-free baked delights are now available at Lisa's Gluten Free Bakery in Dickerson Run.

Lisa Brower, owner, was diagnosed with celiac sprue disease in 1997. It was a life-changing diagnosis for her because she had been baking since she was 12 years old and very much enjoyed breads, pastries and baked goods.

"I tried product after product that wasn't fit to eat and finally just gave up all the foods I used to love," she said. "The aroma of baked goods was like torture so I even stopped baking for my family. After a few years I tried baking with a gluten-free cookbook, but the food still didn't taste like the food I remembered eating."

Then Brower just got out her old recipe box one day, picked a recipe she was hungry for and rewrote it, using a variety of gluten-free flours. After a few years of blending and tasting, her baked goods began to taste like the wonderful food she remembered. The grit was gone and the flavor was delicious, she said.

Brower knew what it was like to have to give up the baked foods and so, having earned a degree in business marketing and management and confident in her gluten-free recipes she set created the new business in order to share the gluten-free recipes with others.

Gluten-free items cannot contain wheat, barley or rye. The main ingredient Brower uses is xanthan gum, although she also uses others such as gelatin and guar gum. In addition, she created her own flour blend that is in almost everything she makes.

Gluten-free breads, fresh baked by order at Lisa's Gluten Free Bakery are sandwich, Italian, baguette, onion, potato and monkey bread. Buns include hamburger, hot dog, Kaiser, onion, hoagie (plain or herb), dinner roll, buttermilk biscuits, English muffins, croutons and stuffing bread. Pizza dough comes frozen in both balls and flats. Breadstick flavors are cinnamon sugar, plain, garlic and herb. Cookies include peanut butter, peanut butter kiss, chocolate chip, chocolate chunk, chocolate peanut butter chips, oatmeal (no bakes), oatmeal raisin, thumbprints, snicker doodles, snowballs (Russian tea), sugared, sugar cut-outs, sugar spiral, white chocolate, oatmeal cranberry walnut, chocolate-covered cherry cookie, peanut butter cup, filled, nut tassies and bear claws (cinnamon nut roll).

Also available are mini fruit pastries, popovers, brownies and chocolate, orange and pumpkin gobs and apricot and nut rolls. Mini fruit pies include cherry, apple and peach. Cakes and cupcakes and mini cupcakes are available in chocolate, vanilla and red velvet. Choices of specialty cakes and breads are zucchini bread, pumpkin bread and orange-cranberry cake.

The orange-cranberry cake is popular for special occasions, holidays and office parties, with a unique flavor mixture that is a favorite of many of Brower's customers, she said.

Other items made by Brower are cinnamon and raisin scones, flour tortillas and pepperoni rolls, fudge, large pies and corn muffins.

"Everything is made with real butter and real sugar, there are carbs just like any bakery, so diabetics and those who watch calories need to eat in moderation, just like they would from any other bakery," she said. "Everything I make tastes normal, you can pick anything and never suspect that it is gluten-free. My grandkids, my neighbors, my customers all think the gluten-free goodies are more delicious than traditional baked goods and gluten-free is easier to digest."

Brower added that she can make items higher in fiber, when requested, by adding coconut flour or ground flax seed. "I can bake without milk proteins or eggs when necessary,too, using alternatives for people who have those special needs."

The texture and density of her products are important, as is the softness of her bread and buns.

Brower orders from Bob's Red Mill, in Oregon, a very popular supplier of gluten-free. She often takes her own bun and even pizza dough to restaurants and asks to have her sandwich or pizza made using her gluten-free item -- this is possible only when the person is not super sensitive and the restaurant is willing, she said.

Brower encourages people to keep gluten-free in mind for any guests they might be having who have celiac disease. "They will appreciate the consideration of simple gluten-free sandwich buns at a picnic or a dinner roll or dessert they can enjoy. Baked goods, in most cases, can be frozen for several months."

She added that a best seller for her are the dry mixes that people can take home to bake on their own, including Lisa's Flour Blend, sandwich bread, pizza, buns, noodles and pie crust.

"People really enjoy being able to use their own zucchini from their garden to then make fresh, gluten-free zucchini bread using my dry mix," Brower said.

She ships mixes to customers from out of the area. Those who live locally can pick theirs up in the bakery in Dickerson Run.

"They are easy to ship. Many people enjoy baking and the ease of the mix to whip up whatever they're hungry for at home anytime. The mixes have been a real hit and I'm happy to be able to provide them. Customers then can enjoy the aroma of fresh baked bread, for instance, in their own kitchen. Just add eggs, water and oil and you can have it fresh for any meal, picnic or special get-together you're having. The directions are very easy," she said.

The bakery is located at 213 Hollow Road, Dickerson Run. For more information or to order, call 724-529-2899 or by email at lisasglutenfree@live.com .

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