Sunday, March 30, 2014

DeLand Bakery's Bagel Review

DeLand Bakery, located 45 minutes north of the Orlando area, offers a full range of gluten free breads, buns, rolls, cookies, and more.

However, this hasn't always been the case. I first became aware of the bakery through That Deli, a Lake Mary deli that offers gluten free sub rolls from the company. While talking with the staff, they excitedly informed me about the bakery and their plans to build a gluten free expansion, but told me that the bakery still used a shared line for their baked goods. Their breads are available at many local outlets such as Whole Foods Market, Hoover's Market, Chamberlains, and Earth Origins Outlet, but the label clearly read "contains wheat/gluten." Because they had no apparent effect on me, I consumed the bagels, buns and bread on a regular basis. However, after going without them for a while, I found that I did have a slight reaction when I went back to eating their products.


Which is why I was pleasantly surprised to find DeLand's bagels at Whole Foods Market in Doctor Phillips with a entirely new packaging featuring the Gluten Intolerance Group's (GIG) "gluten free" certification. Although hesitant to give them a second chance, I ultimately missed eating them so decided to take the leap. 

The first thing I noticed in the store was that the bagels were fragile. Of the three packs in stock, two of them had bagels that had big air bubbles that had "popped" leaving the bread deflated and very airy. Being very careful, I was able to get my pack home intact. 

Besides the addition of the GIG's certification, there were new additions to the now gluten free bread. The old bagels I was used to featured brown rice flour and millet, among other ingredients. The new product has done away with the millet addition and instead based on white rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca starch. In addition to being gluten free, the bagels are dairy, soy, egg, corn, GMO, corn syrup, and nut free as well as naturally vegan and Kosher. In seeing all the ingredients these don't have, I was impressed to see just how adaptable they are to many different special diets.

On first glance, the bagels didn't really resemble their glutenous counterparts. With no distinguishable center, they reminded me more of hamburger buns or brioche. They are not pre-sliced but easy to cut with a serrated knife. The texture of the bread is light spongy and reminiscent of "white bread." While there were a few air pockets, they did not drastically affect the bagel. I sampled a piece of it plain and it really didn't have much flavor. As with many gluten free products, I preferred them toasted until crisp, but not overdone. When toasted, they have a more distinct flavor and are less sponge-y. When toasted, they do have a tendency to be kind of messy with crumbs. However, the ultimate effect of toasting resembles, in my opinion, an English muffin. 


All in all, I liked the bagels but didn't love them. Although I typically eat them without any toppings, I think these needed something to top them off. Almond, or other nut butters would do nicely, as would fruit preserves for non-dairy options. They do create a variation in my morning breakfast from my typical Udi's bagel though. Though I've only seen the gluten free bagels at Whole Foods, I will definitely keep my eye out for other varieties and will review them as I come across them. 

For the full listing of DeLand's certified gluten free options, a spreadsheet can be found at this link.

Disclaimer: The review provided is current to the time I bought the product. Ingredients and manufacturing processes can change without notice. Each product should be reviewed for individual nutritional needs. Feel free to to contact me with any questions or comments. I was not compensated for this review and it is a reflection of my personal opinion.


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