In the Store with Sigona’s Featuring: Great bread, no gluten. No kidding.

Great bread, no gluten. No kidding.

I’m one of millions of Americans who avoid gluten.  In my case, it’s a genetic sensitivity. (Thanks, ancestors.) Too bad that genetic marker didn’t also take away my occasional craving for some bread, torn off a fresh-baked loaf and slathered with butter, steam rising from the bread and the butter melting golden and warm.

I miss bread. Unfortunately, most of what’s gluten-free isn’t anything I’d call bread.

Finding that perfect bread – satisfying taste and a perfect crumb – is as big a challenge to bakers as it is to consumers.  We’ve found a food partner who has achieved that: Ducks & Dragons of San Carlos.

A couple weeks ago, Sigona’s ran a promotion with them. Your feedback was so positive, we want to tell you more about this wonderful bakery and their bread.

First, the bread: Baker Mina Makram uses a blend of almond and coconut flours. That means fewer carbs, more protein, and more fiber than a similar amount of grain flour (which makes it Paleo-friendly too). To this, he adds eggs, flaxseed, yeast, psyllium husks, salt, and xanthan gum, as well as tapioca and arrowroot flours.

There’s a personal story behind Ducks & Dragons. Four years ago, Makram weighed 400 pounds.  He was so out of shape, even short walks at work would leave him sweating. He made a decision to change. First he learned to ride a bike. Then he started to work out at the gym, and overhauled his diet. The regimen that worked for him was a lower-carb plan. But it meant losing out on the baked goods he loved, and he wasn’t willing to give them up.

So he began to experiment. What began as a quest to create a worthy lower-carb pancake is now a dedicated gluten-free bread and bagel bakery he runs with his girlfriend Kim (they met at the gym).

Oh, and about the name: it’s in honor of Kim and his mom, two of the most important women in his life.  Both of them have been instrumental in, and supportive of his efforts. Kim, as it turns out, is very fond of dragons. And ‘Ducky’ is his mom, the nickname an endearment from his dad.

Two tips. Plus bonus recipe fix.

Keeping. Thanks to no preservatives, Ducks and Dragons bread will stay fresh a couple days at room temperature. Otherwise, freeze it for up to six weeks.

It takes more than gluten-free to be lower-carb. Sugar hides a multitude of sins. With packaged goods like supermarket cookies, manufacturers pump up the sugar: your taste buds focus on the sweetness and don’t register that it’s actually pretty mediocre.

A Tabouli Tip. This isn’t really about bread, but since we’re talking about gluten free, I wanted to share one of my favorite recipe fixes with you.

Store-bought tabouli has gluten (it’s the bulgur). Use cooked quinoa instead. Mix it in with your parsley, tomato, onion, olive oil and lemon juice.  Each grain (technically, the seed) of quinoa ‘bursts’ nicely when you bite into it. A footnote: this recipe passes even the discerning palate of my Lebanese-American husband!


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