Every morning starts early at Bob’s Red Mill as bakers on staggered shifts arrive to prepare the store’s baked goods in preparation for the store’s retail customers.
First to hit the ovens are the muffins and scones, next the wheat bread.
Soon the gluten-free baker arrives. She gets a recipe for a new cookie that the bakery staff is working to create to be produced in bulk for Costco.
More staff, more noise, more recipes, and soon the kitchen is a hum of bodies, the clanking of pans, the shutting of ovens, and the whir of mixers.
Kasie Rapp is orchestrator of the activity. As the director of the kitchen, Rapp explains why she insists that all hires have culinary experience and have worked in kitchens. The process of creating recipes for Bob’s Red Mill is collaborative, Rapp explains, and she needs her team to be able to trouble shoot issues that may arise with flavor, texture, and chemistry.
Studies indicate that 1 in 133 people has celiac disease, an auto-immune disorder in which the gluten in certain grains causes havoc on the lining of the small intestine and, if left untreated, can cause a number of other ailments.
Finding combinations of ingredients that create tasty baked goods without gluten-containing products can be a challenge. Rapp explains the products that her kitchen team uses as they create gluten free and vegan recipes.
To provide leadership in the local area, the company holds gluten-free cooking classes and continually tests new combinations of ingredients to make the most satisfying gluten-free products.
The company’s kitchen, Rapp explains, is not currently gluten free. They make wheat free products, meaning no wheat ingredients are included in their gluten free products, but because they are made on equipment shared by wheat products and because of the open environment, they cannot guarantee 100% lack of contamination. To solve this, they are currently expanding their kitchen facility to have a dedicated gluten-free section.
“Super exciting. We have been waiting for this for a long time,” says Rapp about the renovations. “We’re going to have a separate kitchen, separate mixers, oven, proofbox, everything, so that we can be a certified gluten free instead of just wheat free kitchen.”
Renovations are predicted to be finished in late fall of 2013. Classes will resume after the remodel is complete.
Bob’s Red Mill’s outreach program is progressive. In addition to sourcing and providing over 400 non-GMO products and heirloom quality whole grains throughout the United States and the globe, they host the annual Spar for the Spurtle contest where they reach out to home cooks around the nation and bring attention to another gluten free product: oatmeal. The annual winner wins a trip to represent the company in Scotland for the chance to win the Golden Spurtle.
Bob and Charlee Moore, founders of the now employee-owned company, donate food to local foodbanks, open their facility to factory tours, and have donated $25 million to Oregon Health Science University in Portland, Ore. for the launch of the OHSU nutrition institute.
Products from Bob’s Red Mill can be found at most chain grocery stores but can also be purchased directly from the store’s website.