Saturday, October 8, 2011

Happy Campers Baking

(Second Review -- June 2012)

Happy Campers Baking, headed by Jan and Lacy, specializes in gluten-free bread. They can be found at several of the Portland farmers' markets, and Happy Campers will also ship their bread to you via USPS!

All three loaves
One of my former business school professors graciously shared some of the Happy Campers bread with me. There are three gluten-free breads to choose from: Classy Grains, Party Hardy, and Kiss Me Garlic Rosemary. I opted to try the Party Hardy and Garlic Rosemary loaves. I know I did not always have positive experiences with gluten-free bread, but hey, several people at Atkinson (Willamette's business school) highly praised this one, so I figured, why not?

The loaves were conveniently cut in half, so I was able to take two different halves (the Party Hardy and the Garlic Rosemary) home and try right away. I cut two large slices (one from each half-loaf) and toasted them.

Party Hardy (half-loaf)
Party Hardy (cross-section)
Kiss Me Garlic Rosemary (half-loaf)
Kiss Me Garlic Rosemary (cross-section)
Both breads were excellent. Lacy and Jan have virtually perfected their gluten-free bread. All too often, gluten-free breads can suffer from being too dry or crumbly (gluten affects the pliability and chewiness of the product). Here, the bread was moist and hearty. I put a little jam on the Party Hardy toast and happily noshed away.

Each loaf has its strengths. I liked the Party Hardy for the whole seeds that are scattered throughout the bread's interior (sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, and pumpkin seeds). Just that extra nutty texture enhances the eating experience tenfold.

I personally enjoyed the rosemary garlic bread a bit more. That herbaceous flavor and smell just massages every sense imaginable. Heck, even my bag now smells like rosemary and garlic. Perhaps I shoulda left it in the car for a few minutes as well.

I would possibly like to see a sweet or a dessert-like gluten-free bread in the future. Perhaps one with cinnamon or dried fruit. Maybe it's even possible to do a gluten-free Hawaiian sweet bread or sweet roll recipe. Since there is a strong Hawaii contingent in the Northwest, it could be an idea to capitalize on.

For now, it's an excellent start. I look forward to trying any new gluten-free bread creations that roll out of Happy Campers Baking! And visit their website for more information!

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