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Start your day the Great Harvest Bakery Way

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By: Kerri-Lynn Swanson

The Great Harvest Bread Company

Stacy wakes up early every morning and heads to her bakery to get a jump start on breakfast for the early morning commuters and weekend visitors, turning simple ingredients into fresh-baked wonders whose aromas fill the morning air. Stacy is the baker and proprietor, turning out fresh breads daily at Great Harvest Bread Company in Puyallup, WA and the locals couldn’t be more thankful for her early morning efforts. It is what you won’t find in the bakery’s most popular baked goods that make this place special for many people.

It was not that long ago that people with allergies to gluten and dairy had to become amateur pastry chefs, spending hours in the kitchen to turn out breads and baked goods that were nothing like theregular breads and sweets offered in bakeries, restaurants, and markets. As the demand for specialty items grew, the Great Harvest Bread Company saw the opportunity to offer their consumers delicious fresh-baked good that were free of the ingredients that were allergens for a growing percentage of the population.

“We have a lot of customers that are very appreciative and thankful (for our gluten-free products). It makes it fun to help people and get them…to enjoy breads and sweets that they haven’t been able to in a long time.”

Gluten free bread starts off much like traditional wheat bread. A blend of rice flour, tapioca flour, and potato starch are added to the mixing bowl. As for why they use a blend of flours, Stacy explains that they use a variety of gluten-free flours because it makes better bread. Even though the majority of the mixture consists of rice flour, the addition of the potato starch and tapioca flour creates a lighter, less dense loaf than one consisting of only rice flour. In order to help the loaf rise, Stacy adds xanthan gum and vinegar to the mixture along with canola oil as a substitute for butter and rice milk in lieuof regular cow’s milk. To add a bit of sweetness to the dough, fresh honey is added. Stacy explains, “We had a lot of customers (purchasing our gluten-free bread) request that we use honey instead of white sugar. We found no difference in taste so we went ahead and switched over (to honey).”

After one hour in the oven, the breads are ready for the lines of eager customers. On any given day, one can find several variations of their traditional gluten-free bread such as cinnamon chip as well as a seeded version with millet, sunflower and pumpkin seeds. As to why the bread is so popular, Stacy believes that freshness is key. “For gluten-free, it is a pretty good bread. A lot of gluten-free breads are really dry and ours tends to be (more moist)… because of the freshness of it.” In addition to breads, the bakery also prepares gluten-free muffins and rolls daily giving those with certain dietary restrictions the ability to enjoy foods that were once off limits. For more information, or to find a Great Harvest near you, visit


By: Kerri-Lynn Swanson

Photo: Allen Carrasco

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