I happened to be in the area (too bad I forgot my camera) and couldn’t resist dropping by for a visit. I was particularly curious to know now they separate gluten-contaminated from gluten free bread.
Little Stream Bakery is located just outside of Perth, in a fairly small and unassuming building. They don’t have a big sign, if you weren’t looking out for it, you could easily miss it, and it’s off the main road anyhow. As soon as I saw a roof covered in solar cells, I somehow knew that this was the place.
I’ve been eating Little Stream gluten-free bread for a few years now. Before that I pretty much didn’t eat bread. My gluten allergy has kept me away from wheat for more than two decades, and I couldn’t find any gluten free bread worth eating so I pretty much gave up on bread altogether.
My discovery of Little Stream bread changed all that. It is the best gluten free bread I’ve ever had – tasty, holds together, not too hard, not too soft, and surprisingly flexible for bread made without gluten. I’d say it’s about as flexible as fairly heavy wheat-based bread, as far as I can remember from the last time I handled such bread in another lifetime, or so it seems to me now.
While there I bought some of my favourite buckwheat bread (buckwheat is entirely unrelated to wheat and isn’t even a grain), as well as a loaf of an experimental bread they’re working on, made of rice and chia seeds. Normally, rice-based baking does not produce the best results but I was very impressed with the rice-raisin bread I got from them today.
They do keep the gluten-based flours and gluten-free flours well separated, although I did have the time to them about the protocol they follow to prevent cross contamination. They do have their gluten free protocol explained on their website. They also test for gluten in raw ingredients and finished product using EZ Gluten test strips.
The oven is interesting – they build a big fire in it, which heats up the bricks, then they clean it out and allow the heat stored in the bricks to bake the bread.
Wheat-based bread needs a higher heat than gluten-free bread, so they do the wheat-based bread first. Which I can’t say I’m crazy about, but they say they clean out the oven after that, put the bread pans on trays, and test the baked bread to check there’s been no cross contamination.
They’re thinking about setting up a separate building for gluten-free bread only, a move I wholly approve of. It is apparently the larger part of their business, which is encouraging.
More later when I next get a chance to visit.