31 March 2010


 March 31, 2010

The other day I came home to find a parcel from my friends at the Canyon Bakehouse and thanks to everyone’s favorite gluten-free public relations person Gluten Free Dee.  Now we all know that gluten-free bread has long been a sticky wicket among Celiacs.  Yes, there are now quite a few brands doing the gluten-free bread thing but in actuality very few (read I can count on one hand) do it exceptionally.  Well, my friends Canyon Bakehouse out of Loveland, Colorado has just raised the gluten-free bar.

Before I start gushing (oh, and I will be gushing) about their products I want to give you a brief little background about the company.  Canyon Bakehouse is a gluten-free facility that came about when Christi Skow, one of the owners along with her husband Josh and Master Baker Ed Miknevicius, was diagnosed with celiac disease during a routine physical.  She found going gluten-free to be a challenge (we have ALL been there) but really had a hard time finding a great tasting gluten-free bread.  So, the trio set out to make their very own great tasting gluten-free breads…nice.

So on to the products.  I was lucky enough to sample their entire current portfolio of gluten-free breads.  There is San Juan 7-Grain, Mountain White, Cranberry Crunch Muffins, Rosemary and Thyme Focaccia, and rounding out the group…wait for it…Cinnamon Raisin bread, yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus.

I have to first confess that I actually ate my way through all of the products in two days.  No, not the entire packages but I normally tend to eat one variety down and then move on.  Given the diversity of these products I just could not wait and found myself ripping through the packages like a kid at Christmas.

The San Juan 7-Grain bread was out of this world.  I never thought I would see the words 7-grain and gluten-free in such close proximity to one another.  The bread has a fantastic texture and (as with all of the breads) is great straight from the package.  It is moist and the taste is phenomenal.  You get really nice nutty tasting notes with just a hint of sweetness from sugarcane molasses.  Delicious.

Next came the Mountain White variety.  This one is a hard one to get right and many have tried and failed quite miserably.  Not here.  The white is just as moist as the others and has a rich, full-texture.  The flour mix of brown rice, tapioca, sorghum, white rice, and garbanzo is just perfect.  It is sweetened with agave syrup and sugar which provides a really nice homey sweetness to the loaf.

What’s next on the list you ask?  Well the Rosemary and Thyme Focaccia of course.  Now this I found to be most intriguing.  I was really apprehensive about this one but it was so soft in the package I somehow knew it would be delicious.  If you miss focaccia then head on over to their Web site and order this immediately.  This was a real highlight of the tasting and really out of this world.  The focaccia has just the perfect amount of denseness you expect in a focaccia without being a brick of bread.  I ate this one every which was – with cheese untoasted, toasted with cheese, as bruschetta, and all by itself.  The flavors are amazing.  You get the woodsy notes of the rosemary and thyme with just a very subtle hint of the extra virgin olive oil that helps tame the bite of the herbs.  The balance is perfect and I truly cannot say enough about this one.

For dessert there was the Cranberry Crunch muffins.  Now there are other brands out there that claim crunch but Canyon Bakehouse is the only one I know of that delivers.  These muffins while moist and delicious actually have a crunch to them.  These are truly complex muffins with a wonderful flour mix that is paired with poppy seed and tangy (but sweet) cranberries.  Just one of the muffins will easily fill you up, satiating your sweet tooth without leaving you feeling like you just ate a heavy item.

I have saved, in my opinion, the very best for last.  Now, all of the products really stand out among the competitive landscape but one in particular had me over the moon.  The Cinnamon Raisin loaf is the most unexpected (next to the focaccia) and I ate my way through the loaf in record time.  I am not a huge breakfast person but I actually found myself taking slices to the office and toasting it for brekkies.  This moist loaf does not disappoint.  It is chock-full or wonderfully sweet raisins with sunflower seeds scattered throughout and sesame sees on top.  It is the most complex raisin bread I have come across gluten-free or otherwise. Toast it (or not) and spread a little cream cheese love atop and prepare yourself for gluten-free nirvana.  Seriously, it is just that good.

Run, don’t walk over to their Web site and place an order.  You can view their entire product portfolio, learn more about the company, and follow them on all your favorite social networking tools.  Oh, and the final selling point (as if you needed it) is that the loaf breads are just 90 calories a slice, yes, there are delicious and calorie-friendly.

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