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How to buy or bake gluten-free breads

Q My granddaughter was diagnosed with the celiac gene last fall, and now my daughter has also tested positive. Her family of five has to become a glutenfree household, and we have to provide gluten-free meals when they visit.
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One place to obtain gluten-free baked goods is the Origin Gluten-Free Bakery, owned by Tara Black and Marion Neuhauser, at 1525 Pandora Ave.

Q My granddaughter was diagnosed with the celiac gene last fall, and now my daughter has also tested positive. Her family of five has to become a glutenfree household, and we have to provide gluten-free meals when they visit. It is very difficult finding safe products and tasty recipes, and I have three requests for you:

- Names of grocery stores in Victoria that might specialize in gluten-free products.

- A good, basic gluten-free cookbook you would recommend for breads, pastas, muffins, cookies, crackers, etc.

- A recipe for tasty glutenfree bread; the storebought ones can be very expensive. My daughter is a full-time working mom and she would like to be able to utilize her new, automatic bread machine, purchased specifically to make gluten-free bread.

Shelley McKelvie, Duncan

ATo help answer Shelley's queries, I contacted Anne Wraggett, former president of the Victoria Chapter of the Canadian Celiac Association. She in turn contacted that association's executive, and they collectively provided great information.

Celiac-friendly places to shop in Victoria include Lifestyle Market (Douglas Street location) and Planet Organic Market. In Nanaimo, they suggested Island Natural Markets.

Thrifty Foods has created a master list of all glutenfree products in their stores. To find it, go to thriftyfoods.com, click on cooking and lifestyle, and then on nutrition.

To find celiac-friendly restaurants in our area, and for other related information, check out Ellen Bayens's impressive website, theceliacscene.com.

To buy fine quality, gluten-free baked goods, Shelley should check out Origin Gluten-free Bakery in Victoria, and Silly-Yak Bakery in Qualicum Beach.

For a bread mix to get accustomed to making your own gluten-free bread, they recommend the Silly-Yak mix from Village Bulk Foods in Qualicum Beach (Silly-Yak Bakery is part of that store). You can also buy the mix at other Island locations, such as Lifestyle Market and Lynn's Vitamins in Duncan.

For cookbooks, they recommend the gluten-free series published by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt (see them at bestbreadrecipes.com). Today's bread machine recipe is from their book, 250 Gluten-Free Favorites. They also highly recommended Nanaimo-based Cathy Lauer's gluten-free cookbooks (see them at cathysglutenfree.ca).

The Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource, by Shelley Case RD, is another must-have book for celiacs. It provides an unparalleled detailing of the gluten-free diet.

The truly best way for Shelley and her family to learn about the gluten-free diet is from others who live it, and the best way to do that is to join a group such as the Victoria Chapter of the Canadian Celiac Association. This organization, which has more than 400 members, covers Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands and has two satellite support groups in Nanaimo and Comox. They hold potluck events, can help with peer counsellors, produce a recipe-rich newsletter, and can provide in-depth information on preventing the cross-contamination of foods, a serious danger to celiacs.

Their website, victoriaceliac.org, is also a great resource for those affected by the disease.

If that includes you, on March 19 and April 16, starting at 12: 45 p.m., the celiac association is teaming up with Thrifty Foods to offer anti-panic sessions to help people adapt to the gluten-free diet. The event, being held at Thrifty Foods Tuscany Village store, is free for members of the association, their families and significant others.

For information and to register, visit the Thrifty Foods website or call 250-483-1222.

BROWN SANDWICH BREAD

For those who want a rich, golden, wholesome, nutritious sandwich bread to carry for lunch, this is your loaf. It is gluten-free, dairy-free, lactose-free and white sugar-free.

Excerpted from 250 Gluten-Free Favorites by Donna Washburn & Heather Butt (c) 2009 Robert Rose Inc. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Makes: 1 loaf (15 slices/1 per serving)

1 1/4 cup sorghum flour

1 cup pea flour

1/2 cup tapioca starch

1/3 cup rice bran

2 Tbsp packed brown sugar

1 Tbsp xanthan gum

2 tsp bread machine or instant yeast

1 1/2 tsp salt 1 2/3 cups water

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

2 Tbsp light (fancy) molasses

1 tsp cider vinegar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 egg whites, lightly beaten

2 egg whites, lightly beaten

1. In a large bowl or plastic bag, combine sorghum flour, pea flour, tapioca starch, rice bran, brown sugar, xanthan gum, yeast and salt. Mix well and set aside.

2. Pour water, oil, molasses and vinegar into the bread machine baking pan. Add eggs and egg whites.

3. Select the dough cycle. As the bread machine is mixing, gradually add the dry ingredients, scraping bottom and sides of pan with a rubber spatula. Try to incorporate all the dry ingredients within 1 to 2 minutes. When the mixing and kneading are complete, remove the kneading blade, leaving the bread pan in the bread machine. Quickly smooth the top of the loaf. Allow the cycle to finish. Turn off the bread machine.

4. Select the bake cycle. Set time to 60 minutes and temperature to 350 F. Allow the cycle to finish. Do not turn machine off before taking the internal temperature of the loaf with an instant-read thermometer. It should be 200 F. If it's between 180 F and 200 F, leave machine on the keep-warm cycle until baked. If it's below 180 F, turn on the bake cycle and check the internal temperature every 10 minutes. (Some bread machines are automatically set for 60 minutes; others need to be set by 10-minute intervals.)

5. Once the loaf has reached 200 F, remove it from the pan immediately and let cool completely on a rack.

eakis@timescolonist.com

If there is a cooking issue that has you scratching your head, send your question to Eric by email at eakis@timescolonist.com, by fax to Ask Eric at 250-380-5353 or by regular mail to Ask Eric, Times Colonist, 2621 Douglas St., V8T 4M2.

Eric Akis is the author of the recently published Everyone Can Cook Slow Cooker Meals. His columns appear in the Life section Wednesday and Sunday.

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