Going gluten free – how an innovative bakery is bucking the assumption of what makes a good loaf of bread

Traditionally, a gluten free diet has been adhered to for medical reasons such as an individual being diagnosed with coeliac disease, or a non-coeliac gluten sensitivity. However, new low carbohydrate diets are changing the landscape of who is choosing to eat gluten free products.

Amanda Longfield, a contributor at www.healthyfood.co.nz, describes two popular low carbohydrate diets. “Paleo is a high-protein, low carbohydrate diet that eliminates grains, legumes and dairy foods from your meals”. The ketogenic (keto) diet “aims to get your body to use ketones from stored fat as its preferred fuel source, instead of glucose from carbs,” Amanda says. There are pros and cons to each of these diets, which Amanda outlines here.
Rebecca Rolls is the owner of Thoroughbread Foods, a Horowhenua bakery that specialises in making gluten free bread products. Over the past few years, Rebecca has seen a rise in individuals looking for paleo and keto friendly bread. In response to demand, Rebecca has developed four paleo loaves, with a new fruit loaf due out very soon.
Alongside those seeking gluten free products as part of a specific dietary requirement, Rebecca says that approximately 30% of her customers eat gluten. These customers have usually heard about Thoroughbread by word of mouth, or family. They tried the bread, loved it and keep coming back for more.


The challenge of creating healthy gluten free products
Gluten is the main storage protein of wheat, rye, barley and oats. Dietitian Anna Richards states that “gluten gives a sponginess and tenderness to baked products” (www.healthyfood.co.nz). This is due to the important role that gluten plays during the baking process. 
Anna says that some gluten free products contain additional fat, sugar and sodium to compensate for the flavour and tenderness that gluten provides.
Rebecca experienced first-hand the difficulties of baking gluten free bread, when devising the recipe for her first linseed and sesame loaf 14 years ago. “To me, because I was used to making wheat bread that was nice and rounded on top, I wasn’t happy with these gluten free loaves that were sunken in the middle. I couldn’t work out how to get what gluten gave. I thought it was all down to the gluten you see. But over time, it was the mistakes that made think, “Ah, maybe…’” Rebecca says. Out of those mistakes and ongoing experimentation, the Thoroughbread products were developed.
When you look through Thoroughbread’s product list, you can see that natural ingredients are used, without the need for additional fat, sugar or sodium. Thoroughbread also grinds its own flours. “For me, I love the thought of starting from scratch as much as possible. That’s why I like to freshly grind the flours as much as we can,” Rebecca says.
These hearty and natural ingredients lend themselves to healthy, great tasting bread.

Thoroughbread products appeal to a wide market
Thoroughbread has developed gluten free bread that can taste better than traditional wheat products. The proof is in Thoroughbread’s Paleo Seed loaf. Bursting with linseed, sunflower, chia, poppy and sesame seeds, and freshly ground flours it won gold in the innovation section at the Baking Industry Association of New Zealand’s Bakery of the Year Awards 2018. The loaf went head to head against gluten based products. Rebecca says that one judge told her it was the best thing he had tasted throughout the whole competition.  

Furthermore Thoroughbread's Paleo Seed and Paleo Rustic was the Fresh Winner in the 2018 Inspire and New Zealand Artisan Awards.
The cornerstones of Thoroughbread’s success includes passion, patience and partnership. Thoroughbread introduced its first gluten free loaf in 2004, as a start-up business in a 24sqm space. Thoroughbread now works out of a 200sqm bakery in Levin, with a team of 13 staff. Its products are used in approximately 40 cafes and restaurants, and sold in 40 retail shops throughout New Zealand.  
Rebecca’s passion remains just as strong all these years later. “I love doing something the very best that I can and using my skills to make a bread that fulfils someone dietary need. I’m not quick with developing a new product. I wait until I get to that point that gets me really excited,” she says. Any new product must meet her high expectations of moisture content, taste and texture.
Rebecca’s relationship with her customers is at the heart of Thoroughbread’s business model. Thoroughbread’s range of products exists due to requests from its customer base. It started with one gluten free loaf. After ongoing conversations between Rebecca and her customers, Thoroughbread has continued to develop new gluten free, yeast free, egg free and grain free bread products.  
The future is exciting for Thoroughbread with further products on the way - Rebecca is currently developing a recipe for a low carbohydrate loaf. She also intends to enter a range of products in the 2019 Bakery of the Year Awards.

PictureThoroughbread will be revealing a new loaf of bread at the Horowhenua Taste Trail!
Participants at the Horowhenua Taste Trail will be the first to try Thoroughbread’s newest product - the Paleo Fruit loaf.
For the Taste Trail, Thoroughbread will be co-locating onsite at Genoese Foods, 148 CD Farm Road, Ohau. At the stall you can expect:
·         Samples of Thoroughbread products, including the paleo fruit loaf
·         A range of products for sale
·         An opportunity to chat with Rebecca and her team about their gluten free products
·         Details of the outlets across the country that stock Thoroughbread products.
If you can’t wait until the Taste Trail, you can purchase Thoroughbread products locally at:
·         Paraparaumu Beach Market, Saturdays between 8.45am and 12pm
·         Te Papa Wellington market, Sundays between 8am and 1.30pm
·         Thoroughbread Bakery (25 Totara Street, Levin ) in Levin, Fridays between 5pm and 9pm