The Sourdough Dough Off

Gluten-Free Edition

There has never been a better time to be a celiac. Well, there’s no good time to be a celiac, but in terms of food, more wheat-free options are available than ever, including sourdough bread.  So, we wanted to explore the gluten-free sourdough options for the gluten intolerant and see how they stack up. So, we went to two gluten-free bakeries, Lemonade Gluten-Free Bakery in Cambie Village and East Village Bakery in Hastings Sunrise, for this edition of the Sourdough Dough Off. 
Lemonade Bakery is owned by Tracy Kadonoff, who was a pastry chef for 20 years before developing a major gluten intolerance. She opened Lemonade Bakery in Cambie Village, recreating favourite recipes into gluten-friendly delights. East Village Bakery in Hastings Sunrise started as a full wheat flour operation, but eventually switched to gluten-free due to customer demand and now has a full array of breads and patisserie.
The sourdough loaves from Lemonade and East Village couldn’t be more different. Lemonade’s is small, dense and heavy next to East Village’s large, light and voluminous loaf. While East Bakery’s looked the most like a classic sourdough, it’s soft texture made it a bit crumbly and could not hold the weight of moist toppings. Lemonade recommends toasting the bread for best results, and we agree, otherwise it has the consistency of a firm polenta. The firmness makes it more durable and better for toppings. 
Texture aside, people love sourdough for the tangy taste, and neither really satisfied that requirement. Lemonade’s had a nice nutty quality and a bit of a tang, while East Village’s lacked flavour in general.  The question when judging gluten-free baking is whether or not it should be compared to its glutenous counterpart, or considered its own entity, separate from traditional wheat flour baking. If compared to traditional wheat sourdough, neither of these loafs have quite hit the mark. When  compared to each other, Lemonade wins for best flavour and density.  East Village’s was nice and fluffy, which I’m sure gluten-free folks appreciate, but it lack flavour and wouldn’t last the morning commute in your lunch bag. Lemonade Bakery is the winner.

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Excellent work. Well done you. Bravo.

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