Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Truly friendly bagels?

I’m about to go try to make some bagels.  This is actually a big deal in my family. 

Because of the severe food allergy limitations that my mother, my daughter and I have, breakfast can often be a very frustrating time, especially for my daughter who is not a “breakfast person” (neither am I), hates cereal, AND is a very slow eater.  A quickly toasted bagel with her favorite topping would pique her interest and might even get her to the bus stop on time.

However, we’ve found very few commercially available bagels that can measure up to the taste and texture of the “real” (i.e. WHEAT!) bagels we used to love.  My daughter and I do like Glutino’s sesame bagels (Premium Sesame Bagels | Gluten-Free Bakery Products | Glutino & Gluten-Free Pantry).  Another brand, Udi’s, was praised in a posting last year by “GlutenFreeSteve” ( but we haven’t tried it yet.

None of the brands currently out there are safe for my mother, who after all has a total of only 30 foods (ingredients) on her “safe-to-eat” list.  The main reason that commercial brands are not safe for her is that even when gluten-free, they contain one or more ingredients that are allergens for her, e.g. soy, potato starch, and/or cow’s milk.  Ideally what she needs is bagels that only contain one ingredient, which seems to be a tall order for manufacturers.

Up until about a year ago Mom was fortunate to have found a company in Dallas, TX (near the allergy clinic she sometimes attends) which actually made satisfactory bagels with just pure water and one other ingredient – such as chestnut, arrowroot, yam, rice, and water chestnut.  She relied on those bagels for sandwiches and snacks as well as breakfast.  Unfortunately that company went out of business and now her frozen cache of bulk-ordered bagels is depleted.  This is a travesty not only for her but also for many people we know who now cannot obtain what had been a significant food item in their limited diet.

Since we haven’t been able to find ANY one-ingredient bagels sold commercially, my plan this morning is to try to make them myself, using just water and one “safe” ingredient.  I’m eying a few recipes gleaned from various sources but am figuring I’ll still have to tweak and experiment (“Adapt-a-Recipe Queen” in action) because none call for just water and one other ingredient.  I’m also aiming to bake the bagels because frying will add an extra and unhealthy ingredient and boiling will leach nutrients.

I don’t know how this is going to turn out (prayers welcome!), but I know that the company in Dallas did it, so it’s not impossible!  I’ll keep you updated, and meanwhile if you know of any “friendly bagel” recipes or brands that fit the bill for very limited food allergens, please share!

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