Dear happy campers,
It seems like forever ago and a long journey since our unexpected bakery move to Denver, CO. The move brought about just a mountain of unforeseen challenges that affected our bread quality.
We’re excited to let you know that after weeks and weeks of relentless research and troubleshooting, we've identified several culprits and finally implemented improvements to address them!
We honestly feel we could write a very long (and a very boring) novel on troubleshooting gluten free bread. So in this blog post, we thought we’d summarize our improvements in a bullet point format. We're not saying that this will make it not boring, so proceed to read at your own risk! 😂
Root issue #1:
- At Denver’s high altitude, water boils at a lower temperature compared to lower altitudes.
- Symptom: Once loaf is in the oven, the steam inside of a loaf is created earlier in the baking process when the loaf is still raw inside. The steam travels through the loaf, creating holes and air pockets.
- Solution implemented: Increasing moisture in the oven, so that the steam can easily escape through the top of a loaf. We're also installing steam function inside our ovens to further improve and regulate the moisture level inside of ovens.
Root issue #2:
- Denver water pH is a whole 1.5 points higher than water in the Pacific Northwest.
- Symptom: Carbohydrate molecules don’t bind well at this high pH, which leads to bread crumbling.
- Solution implemented: we’re starting to add pure Organic Apple Cider Vinegar. Just 1 teaspoon per whole loaf lowers the pH effectively and helps prevent bread braking apart and crumbling!
Root issue #3:
- Denver water contains minerals that interfere with function of baker’s yeast
- Symptom: Improperly functioning yeast leads to inconsistent loaf size and shape
- Solution implemented: Special carbon filter which filters all water going into our bread
Root issue #4:
- Our new packaging is not effective enough to protect against mold
- Symptom: early onset of mold
- Solution implemented: we’re starting to use a new ingredient – Rowanberry extract! Rowanberries (aka Mountain Ash berries, photo below) are boiled, dried and milled into a powder. Just a pinch of this natural powder in a loaf provides effective 10-day protection against mold without the use of any preservatives!
Root issue #5:
- Boxes are handled roughly during UPS transit
- Symptom: Boxes are arriving to you damaged
- Solution implemented: stronger boxes and air pillows inside for cushion. We’ll be continuously improving this solution with focus on reducing the plastic air pillows without the compromise of effectiveness.
Update on December 2022: we are no longer using plastic air-pillows and instead use heavy duty custom boxes with cardboard dividers. As shown in photo below, these strong boxes completely eliminate any bread movement during transit and therefore damage!
The past several months have been a tough journey, starting with our unexpected bakery move, unforeseen quality challenges and personal health stuff.
We're so excited for the hard work of our team to starting to turn the tides... and most of all, we're so grateful for your patience and support!
Yours truly, Lacy and Jan