Be Free Bakers: Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free Baking Mixes and Baked Goods
I recently interviewed Jennifer Ward, owner of Be Free Bakers, and was touched by her enthusiasm for offering allergy-friendly goods.
Her family-run business is dedicated to making gluten-free baked items that are made with whole grain (teff) and without dairy, eggs, nuts...in fact they are free of the top 8 allergens. Most products are even corn-free.
Here is the information she shared with us:
- Allergens: "Our products are gluten-free, nut-free and vegan. None of our products contain any of the top 8 allergens, nor do they contain corn, soy (no lecithin either), sesame or anything else hidden. In fact, we eliminated the xanthan/guar gums from the cookies. No "natural flavors" anywhere - all ingredients are disclosed. The cupcake and pancake mixes do still contain xanthan gum which may bother some folks with corn allergies. Bob's Red Mill states that there is no corn in their xanthan gum, but I took it out of the cookies to prevent any possible cross contamination questions. Actually, they are better without it. I haven't been able to reformulate the cupcake mixes nor the sugar free pancake mix without the xanthan gum, but perhaps that will be a future project. At this point, we are not certified gluten-free or kosher/vegan, but that is on our wish list for when we outgrow our current facility."
- Equipment: "Be Free Bakers shares a kitchen with other incubator/start up clients at The Ennovation Center in Independence, MO. That being said, we use dedicated BFB-owned sheet pans, bowls, utensils, spatulas, measuring cups, etc., and store everything in a dedicated closet, pulling it out into the kitchen area only for baking. We bake in a gluten-free enclosed area within a larger shared kitchen area. All of the bakers at the facility do everything by hand as we are all start up companies without any fancy equipment. There are no "production lines" at the Ennovation Center where we bake. The only piece of equipment we share is the Hobart Mixer and attachments, but we, Be Free Bakers, sanitize everything before use in a mechanical Hobart dishwasher and wipe down/sanitize the mixer itself before and after using it each and every time. In addition, we purposefully test for gluten using the Elisa Testing Strips at random intervals to ensure gluten free compliance. We have passed every time."
- Food Allergy Policy: "At the moment, there are very few people authorized to cook and prepare Be Free Bakers products: three, to be exact. All have been personally trained by me in our allergen friendly baking procedures. All are overseen by me personally. To date, I have overseen every single day of production and work alongside every single person authorized to bake our products. So, to answer your question, yes, we are extremely careful. My own daughter has suffered multiple unfortunate allergic reactions from eating at restaurants, one of them near fatal anaphylaxis, so I am highly focused in our production process to prevent such an occurrence. In fact, I have been known to call or write every single supplier from which we purchase ingredients to ensure they are compliant as well."
The information shared here is for your convenience only, it is not an endorsement or guarantee of the product's safety. Please read the ingredient labels and contact the manufacturer if needed to confirm the safety of a product for your child.
Shared by: Melanie Carver, KFA's Web Developer & News Editor, a long-time vegan and mother of two children with food allergies.