Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Toté Package

Toté Bakery's teff loaves just out of the oven
As I broke off yet another piece of Toté's warm, chewy baguette, I thought about the Seinfeld episode where Jerry and Elaine couldn't believe that the delicious frozen yogurt they were eating was non-fat. Could this bread really be gluten free?

The same question could be asked about the freshly baked bagels, crusty teff loaves and soft chocolate chip cookies that I picked up on a recent Sunday morning at the South Philadelphia bakery (1024 S. 9th St., 215-551-5511). Toté is operated by Omer Taffet and Eugene Torsunov, who work the ovens six days a week in the heart of the Italian Market. Indeed, all of the baked goods are gluten free - some featuring more exotic ingredients like amaranth, millet and coconut flours.

Co-owners Eugene Torsunov (left) and Omer Taffet prepare
fresh gluten-free baked goods six days a week
House staples include the baguettes (now used at Paesano's Philly Style across the street for gluten-free steak sandwiches), focaccia, and multigrain quinoa and teff breads. Also in rotation are sourdough and challah loaves, kaiser rolls and pizza crusts. If there's something in particular you're looking for, just call a day or two in advance of your visit.

Toté's bagel varieties include plain, poppy
and cinnamon raisin 
The bakers have been expanding their sweet selections too. Given the location, biscotti and tiramisu are popular (could cannoli be on the horizon?), but the red velvet whoopie pie is an indulgent treat too. Poppy hamantaschen (traditional Jewish cookies for Purim), brownies, and specialties like raspberry cheesecake also are available.

A small section of the bakery is devoted to shelf-stable gluten-free groceries like BiAglut pasta, Bob's Red Mill flours and Twizzlers-like Candy Tree twists.

Toté is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is easily accessible from the Washington Avenue exit of I-95.
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  1. I tasted the hamantaschen- it was plum I think- and it was soft and sweet and delicious!

  2. the quinoa and teff bread loaves from tote are amazing and not much more expensive than the brand name frozen loaves at specialty stores across philadelphia. i'd rather pay a little more for a quality product from tote than a mass-produced and, frankly, tasteless bread from a brand company. plus, the staff at tote are very friendly and make every visit a pleasant one.