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Yes, these bagels are gluten-free! Yum!
Yes, these bagels are gluten-free! Yum!

PROFILE: Joan's Great GF Bakes

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PROFILE: Joan's GF Great Bakes

After my first gluten-free bakery profile ran, several members contacted me about profiling "Joan's GF Great Bakes." Here is one request:

Elizabeth, I've seen ads for Joan's GF Great Bakes and their bagels look yummy. Would you consider doing a profile/review? I am really interested in their bagels.

Several of the requests echoed the same theme. The bagels? How are the bagels? Do you know anything about the bagels?

I did not know anything about Joan's. So, after the busyness of the holiday season, I sent Joan an e-mail asking if she would like to be profiled. Joan agreed and sent me amazing samples.

First, we need to talk about the bagels. Joan sells frozen bagels that customers need to thaw and bake. After receiving my box of goodies, I thawed the bagels according to Joan's directions and popped them into the oven.

Folks, these bagels are amazing! They sprung up in the oven to twice their pre-baked size and they browned! Wonderfully. In fact, I would challenge anyone to tell the difference between Joan's bagel and a standard bagel. Visually, they look the same. But how would they taste?

After allowing the bagels to cool, I sliced and toasted it. The crumb looked great and, after one round in the toaster, it had toasted nicely. The "chew" was spot on! This was one great gluten-free bagel.

Joan also sent me samples of her English muffins, pizza and chocolate chip cookies. Everything was fantastic!

Once I had sampled her products, I wanted to get to know more about Joan. Here is our e-mail conversation:

Elizabeth Talks with Joan

When did you start "Joan's GF Great Bakes"?

Joan's GF Great Bakes officially opened its doors on April 1 2008.

Thirty-six years ago, your son was diagnosed with Celiac disease. While raising him, you found gluten-free baking a challenge. Now you own a gluten-free baking company! WOW! What changed for you in regard to gluten-free baking?

It has been almost 40 years now and many things have changed not the least of which are the years of experience I now have cooking for my family. There are many different raw materials available and most important my desire to give my grandsons everything any other child has, gave me the determination to succeed where I could not before.

What was the first product you offered?

Our first product was the bagel.

What is your most popular product?

Two products are tied for most popular, the plain bagel and the Sicilian pizza.

What item was hardest to develop?

The English muffins came about because my grandsons needed to make English muffins pizza with the rest of their class in the 3rd grade. I promised them they would have what they needed and I was under a great deal of pressure to produce what I had promised. The development of the English muffins kept me awake many nights and they were probably the hardest to develop. They are the only product we offer that only needs to be toasted. They are already cooked on a griddle.

All of your products arrive frozen and need to be baked before enjoying. How do folks respond to having freshly baked treats coming out of their ovens?

Our customers LOVE having the freshly baked products to eat. The prep time is minimal and there is no effort involved so it is all pure enjoyment. Many people actually cry when they taste our bagels for the first time. They do not need toasting, microwaving or, refreshing in any way to be eaten. Ours are like having a bakery fresh product every single time.

I notice you offer comfort-style foods, bagels, chocolate chip cookies, English muffins, how do you decide what products to introduce to your customers?

Our decision to produce certain things are based on three factors, what my grandchildren ask for ,what products can be made to equal the wheat based product in taste, texture, appearance and nutrition and what products most people feel are missing in their lives

I know that pre-made dough is commonly available in the "gluten-world", I am thinking of things like slice and bake cookies, what gave you the idea to offer pre-made doughs to the gluten-free community?

I actually did not produce these products as a commercial venture. My daughter-in-law Angela is a very busy working Mom of twin boys. When the boys had to follow the gluten free diet, I offered to help her by preparing ready to bake foods for her to give the kids. All she would have to do is defrost and bake. She would still be able to offer them delicious and nutritious gf foods, even though she was pressed for time. That is actually the origin of the business and we have never changed the recipes or the methods. We just realized that other people could benefit from the same things our family enjoyed.

Lastly, what does your family think of your business? Do they take credit for inspiring it?

I hope my family does take credit for inspiring the business. I know the twins have turned into real food critics. I get a very fast thumbs down if they don't like something and the best hugs if they do.

For more information, or to order, visit www.gfgreatbakes.com

Thanks Joan for the yummy baked goods and thank to all the members who requested a profile!

If you would like to request a profile on a gluten-free bakery, send me an e-mail

English muffins, with nooks and crannies!
English muffins, with nooks and crannies!



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