Boundary-free bakery

Mary's Bakery in Cornwall opens a new dedicated space that offers an array of fresh-baked gluten-free goods

Published on June 27, 2013
Saylor Hyde recently expanded her Mary's Bakery business in Cornwall to include a dedicated space for baking and selling gluten-free cakes, cookies, bread, scones and more.
Guardian photo by Mary MacKay

If you think a kid in a candy store gets excited, then you should see the reaction of a fully grown adult with celiac disease in a bakery that has no boundaries.

This is a daily occurrence at Mary's Bakery in Cornwall, which has just opened up an entirely new gluten-free bakery section and a whole new tasty world of fresh baked goodies for people, who cannot consume gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.

"We'd actually come in here for my husband to get their buns all the time, but we were so excited this year when we saw that there were that there were actually gluten-free things," says Cathy Kay of Port Dover, Ontario, who was bakery shopping with her son, Phil, who also has celiac disease for which the only medically accepted treatment is a gluten-free diet.

Gluten-free is a new bakery venture for Saylor Hyde, who has owned Mary's Bakery for a dozen years.

"We just started experimenting with a couple of gluten-free recipes and I said, 'We could probably do this, but we'd need a separate area (to avoid cross-contamination) with (gluten products),' " she remembers.

However, when the space next door to the bakery became available that sealed the deal for Hyde's expansion idea.

"In our other side, it's totally old-fashioned. We come in, we make it, if we run out, sorry we ran out and tomorrow we start again," she says.

"So that's what we're aiming for (with the gluten-free section). People can come in and find something that was just made today. They have the same opportunity as anyone else."

However, first Hyde had to find recipes that offered great taste without the gluten.

"The first thing I really wanted to know was if there was an all-purpose gluten-free flour . . . and where could I get something that was already put together that I could just substitute (for flour)," she says.

"There is a lot out there, but I still find you have to modify it. We have five different flour blends that have different levels of (ingredients) like rice flour, potato starch, arrowroot or whatever you are blending together."

Once Hyde had her prime baking ingredient sourced, the next step was to determine what were the main baked goods that people really wanted and then fine-tune the recipes to her standards.

"It's kind of in my nature. I'll try the original way first and say, 'Ok I need to add this or that.' So with the scones, the original recipe didn't have eggs in it and it called for milk, so I did tweak it a little. I put in some eggs and took out the milk," she says.

It must have worked because the scones were at the top of Kay's must-buy list.

"We had the scones yesterday, the blueberry ones. They were to die for - just packed full of fruit and so light.

"Often the original stuff that came out for gluten-free was always so heavy and dry. But these were light and moist," says the Ontario woman.

The gluten-free choices are as varied as those found in the original bakery.

"Pretty much we're going to try to go for everything that we have in our regular store," Hyde says.

"So it would be breads, squares, scones, cookies, garlic bread, the only thing I haven't been quite able to figure out is the cinnamon rolls because the dough does not roll. It's not the stretchy (dough) so I might have to go with the old-fashioned buns in a pan."

This spread of gluten-free choices is especially good news for parents of children who are on a gluten-free diet.

"There were a couple of families in on our first day and the kids were so excited they were allowed to try everything, and the parents were saying that this was going to be so much easier for them," Hyde says.

"That is (in part) what we're aiming for - to get it a little more not quite so separated.

"So when you take something home everyone is 'Oh, you've brought (baked goods) home!' instead of 'Oh, leave that for little Johnny.' Hopefully this will blend it in a little bit."