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Can I realistically bake Gluten Free in a Non-Gluten free kitchen?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I rent a commercial kitchen for all my cake orders...It is a kid's Cookery/school where the kids bake pizzas,cookies,cupcakes etc for birthdays and such..They also have a few adult cooking classes as well.

 

Having told you that....Can I offer Gluten-Free cakes if I take careful precautions to make sure all my utensils and bowls are washed thoroughly....I am getting lots of inquiries about gluten free baking and Dawn foods now offers a line of gluten free base mixes...

 

Can I have your thoughts....should I try and offer it or stay away...

 

 

Thanks

Busy Bakin Kakes For Kids!!!

Mom to Mitchell 13 yrs and Delaney 11 yrs

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Busy Bakin Kakes For Kids!!!

Mom to Mitchell 13 yrs and Delaney 11 yrs

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post #2 of 16

I strictly offer Gluten Free, in my own commercial GF kitchen.  I would never offer GF from a kitchen I shared with others.  

 

It is difficult enough to try and keep your own area GF while making a preparing cakes never mind trying to keep track of others.

 

Cross contamination happens really easily.  All the Gluten particles get into the air and then land on everything.  So you would have to be sure to wait at least 24 hours after baking with gluten and then clean EVERYTHING, every crack, every nook before starting to bake your GF cake.  And use new unopened sugar and all other ingredients you normally use to bake regular cakes.  You also need to read the ingredients on everything.  Your mix might be gluten free but what about the other ingredients you add in, and the icing and filling, and fondant.   All your tools must be cleaned and GF too.

 

In a shared commercial kitchen I think that would be nearly impossible.

 

You could consider asking people  if they need GF for Celiac or it's just a lifestyle choice.  If it's just a lifestyle choice than you don't have to worry too much about cross contamination.  But for a person with Celiac like me.  I would be very, very careful or turn it down.

 

Be honest with all your customers and have it in writing and on your website and receipt.  You take all pre-cautions to ensure a gluten free cake but you are in a commercial kitchen that does make food containing gluten and other allergens.  So cross-contamination is possible. And may contain gluten.

 

Be honest and let the customer decide how much risk they are willing to take.  But be sure to cover your own butt first.

 

Good Luck, feel free to PM me if you have any questions I might be able to help you with.

Quinte West, Ontario, Canada   www.TeriLovesCake.ca   Strictly Wheat & Gluten-Free         

 

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Quinte West, Ontario, Canada   www.TeriLovesCake.ca   Strictly Wheat & Gluten-Free         

 

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post #3 of 16

http://cakecentral.com/t/764696/is-it-easy-to-add-gluten-free-items-to-my-menu-or-not-a-good-idea

This is the thread you started in October about incorporating gluten free in your offerings.  Without rereading the whole thread again I believe it contained some good info and perspectives for you, ultimately you are the only one who can determine if you can realistically do this in a shared kitchen based on info you source out to make your informed decision.

 

Personally it isn't a move I would make unless I had a dedicated gluten free workspace, even with my best efforts to clean and sanitize everything before beginning I don't think I could 100% guarantee that cross contamination wouldn't occur.

 

Good luck with whatever you decide

post #4 of 16

Oh something else to consider is that many people with Celiac also have other allergies, like milk, eggs, dairy, corn ect...

 

Will you be able to accommodate them?  And also deal with the cross-contamination of these allergens as well?

 

More food for thought.

Quinte West, Ontario, Canada   www.TeriLovesCake.ca   Strictly Wheat & Gluten-Free         

 

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Quinte West, Ontario, Canada   www.TeriLovesCake.ca   Strictly Wheat & Gluten-Free         

 

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post #5 of 16
It is possible. As MsGF mentioned the biggest concern in an open shared space is airborne cross contamination. If you can confirm that no one will be using the kitchen for 24 hours before you bake gluten-free you should be OK as long as you be sure to sanitize all surfaces and equipment.

We successfully ran an allergy-friendly bakery (including gluten-free) out of a shared commercial kitchen for years with no cross-contamination problems. It helped that the facility had separate kitchen spaces instead of one large open room.
post #6 of 16

NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. Airborne gluten will take you way over the 20ppm limit, and most people are symptomatic at 5ppm. Please, don't do this. There is no way to clean, decontaminate, etc.

post #7 of 16
According to my inspector (Pennsylvania), no nutritional claims can be made without specific laboratory testing to quantify the results. This includes gluten-free, dairy-free, peanut-free, vegan, etc...

~ Follow me to the underground ~

http://www.undergroundcakes.com

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~ Follow me to the underground ~

http://www.undergroundcakes.com

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post #8 of 16

if you are wishing to specialize in GF products, you need a dedicated kitchen.  If you wish to offer cakes "made with no wheat or gluten containing ingredients, but in a kitchen where gluten is present" then the people who need to have very strict gluten levels can make their own decision about your offerings.  Only a small percentage of those wishing to have 'gluten free' baked goods need to have it laboratory-level contaminate free (i.e. from airborne, etc), but there is a much larger market who would be satisfied with a non-gluten/non-wheat containing product.  

 

I think as long as you are very straight forward about your offerings and labeling as far as your workspace, you are fine in going ahead with your plan.  

post #9 of 16
It really depends that you make sure and clean the area good. I have friends who their family has 2 with celiac and the other 2 can have gluten. They don't have a seperate kitchen or utensils. They just make sure and clean everything good before serving anything to the ones with celiac
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by SansG View Post

NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. Airborne gluten will take you way over the 20ppm limit, and most people are symptomatic at 5ppm. Please, don't do this. There is no way to clean, decontaminate, etc.

This...

Regardless of what people say, airborne gluten is enough to make some people really sick. I know of a few people who have very strong reactions to gluten and allergens, and they can't tolerate any cross-contamination at all.
post #11 of 16

@Cakebaker21,  I just need to reply to this.  I have Celiac and my son does not, he lives with me.  And yes he eats pre-made gluten filled cereal and bread in my house in my kitchen.   That sort of stuff is easy to clean up after.   But we never, never, use regular flour in my house to bake anything.   If he wants baked goods home made he gets gluten free.  Cleaning up crumbs from crackers, cereal and bread is not the same as cleaning up from flour slinging.   While you bake  you are making dust, no matter how careful you are.  And that is the biggest problem.  This dust gets everywhere and into everything.  And yes you are putting people at risk, Celiac's must not consume more than 20 ppm (parts per million) of gluten.  If they do damage will occur in their intestines.  They may not feel the damage immediately but it is still occurring.   This damage puts us at risk for many nasty health issues including cancer.    This isn't  to be taken lightly, people can become very ill.

 

I do not think it is possible to safely and consistently prepare safe gluten-free foods in a non-gluten free bakery,  my Health Guy agrees 100%.  

Quinte West, Ontario, Canada   www.TeriLovesCake.ca   Strictly Wheat & Gluten-Free         

 

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Quinte West, Ontario, Canada   www.TeriLovesCake.ca   Strictly Wheat & Gluten-Free         

 

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post #12 of 16

I was recently diagnosed with Celiac's. I own a non-gluten free cupcake bakery, which I am currently in the process of selling. When I was diagnosed, my doctor strongly recommended for me to stop baking and sell the business due to the flour dust in the air. Until the sale is finalized, every time I step foot into the bakery, I have to wear a mask to avoid breathing in the dust in the air. I already have severe intestinal damage due to the Celiac's, so this is a serious problem for some people. I display symptoms within 30 minutes from just walking in the door of the bakery and while wearing a mask. I get stomach pains, a headache, my neck and shoulders ache, and I break out in hives from head to toe (this is while I'm on 3 different allergy/antihistamine medications), all from just breathing the air and not even consuming anything with gluten in it. This is not something to be taken lightly.

post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by lexi55033 View Post
 

I was recently diagnosed with Celiac's. I own a non-gluten free cupcake bakery, which I am currently in the process of selling. When I was diagnosed, my doctor strongly recommended for me to stop baking and sell the business due to the flour dust in the air. Until the sale is finalized, every time I step foot into the bakery, I have to wear a mask to avoid breathing in the dust in the air. I already have severe intestinal damage due to the Celiac's, so this is a serious problem for some people. I display symptoms within 30 minutes from just walking in the door of the bakery and while wearing a mask. I get stomach pains, a headache, my neck and shoulders ache, and I break out in hives from head to toe (this is while I'm on 3 different allergy/antihistamine medications), all from just breathing the air and not even consuming anything with gluten in it. This is not something to be taken lightly.

THIS is why, whenever this question comes up, I tell people that wiping down your equipment "really well" in between non-gluten and gluten batches is not enough. You ladies need to be on the lookout for this kind of thread to point out that the dust in the air can also be harmful, because there are people on here who will say that it's no big deal.

post #14 of 16

My 2 cents - I don't mean to dismiss people that do have serious health problems, however... "gluten free" right now is a major health fad in some areas, and I live in a big one.  I don't have the statistics in front of me, but I think I remember reading that less then 1% of the US population has an actual health problem with gluten.  Meanwhile, all kinds of people want "gluten free" because they think it's better for them and/or will help them loose weight and I get a LOT of requests for "gluten free" cakes for children because wheat is now the devil.  I totally get it - I can't get non-GMO cake flour and it drives me NUTS.  In fact, I have never seen non-GMO flour at all and I'm very anti GMO (now THAT is a health problem that EVERYONE should be freaked out about), whereas the starches and flours I get for my wheat free cake is all organic and GMO-free.  Anyway,  Jimmy Kimmel just did a funny bit asking people that maintain GF diets if they actually knew what gluten is and why it's bad and not one of the people they showed had any clue.  Obviously the bit was to make fun of the topic, but I can say 1st hand I get a ton of requests here for GF baked goods, here is my cut and paste reply via email:

 

"Thank you for your inquiry for a gluten-free cake.  I would love to accommodate this request but I do not work in a kitchen that can maintain the strict FDA standards to make a "gluten-free" item and do not want to ever make anyone ill with items we bake with love.  I cannot guarantee there are no cross contaminates with gluten for anything I make.  If you have serious health issues where microscopic contaminates will make you or a loved one sick, I must decline your order and encourage you to go elsewhere.  However, if you are looking for a non-wheat containing cake for other reasons I make excellent wheat flour-free cake that has a custom blend of rice, tapioca and potato flours in the place of regular wheat flour, and all other ingredients I use are certified 'gluten-free' by the manufacturer, but again I do not work in a non-gluten kitchen so any or all of those ingredients may be contaminated with gluten."

 

I have only ever been told twice since I started making wheat free that they needed strict gluten-free and they went someplace else.

 

Long story short, I have no problem making wheat flour-free and state on my website and with every inquiry that my items are not "gluten-free".  If you have the chops and can pull off making it well (and it takes some work!), I say go for it as long as you are extremely transparent with your clients.  I even go so far as correcting them if they email me back to proceed with the order and say "I want the gluten-free chocolate cake".  I remind them it is not gluten-free, then confirm the order for "wheat flour-free chocolate cake".

post #15 of 16

FromScratchSF, you are spot on with your reply and advice.  

 

Many people have their children on a GF diet for autism, fine no problem.  And others do it Health reasons, and as long as you are clearly and firmly and repeatedly  telling them cross contamination will happen and if they want to take a chance fine.  Their problem.

 

But it is so important to keep telling clients that so it really sinks in and they understand that.   I love that you take this seriously.

 

What irritates me is people believing that because we don't have a throat swelling reaction to gluten that is isn't serious.  For us getting glutened is serious.  It can take days sometimes weeks to fully recover.   And I want bakers to understand that taking on Gluten Free should be well researched and understood prior to starting.   It isn't something to just do on a whim, because they are desperate for orders and don't want to turn any down.

 

I have also seen many "Can I use Almond Extract in my cake for a person with a nut allergy"  are you kidding me.  If you don't know the answer you shouldn't take on the cake order.  Nut allergies can be deadly.

 

Please people, think, and research carefully before taking on food allergies and intolerance.  They are serious business.

Quinte West, Ontario, Canada   www.TeriLovesCake.ca   Strictly Wheat & Gluten-Free         

 

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Quinte West, Ontario, Canada   www.TeriLovesCake.ca   Strictly Wheat & Gluten-Free         

 

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