Monday, December 14, 2009

A Hole in One

Friends of ours came down from Long Island, New York over Thanksgiving weekend, bringing with them several packages of bagels from Joan’s GF Great Bakes. I had read some rave reviews of Joan’s bagels on several celiac message boards but demurred on buying them locally due to their price - about $9 for a package of five bagels. Our friends picked up four packages of Joan’s frozen plain bagels on sale for $20 at her store in Bellmore, New York. (Other varieties include Everything, Egg Onion Poppy, Sesame, Poppy and Cinnamon Raisin; her bagels can be ordered dairy free as well.)

Unlike our usual gluten-free bagels from Glutino, Joan's versions call for a few minutes more prep because they are par-baked boiled (although they don't need to be toasted). I microwave a single bagel for about one minute, which causes it to expand, then bake it for 10 minutes in a preheated oven at 425 degrees until browned. The bagel then has to cool for a few minutes.

With all this effort, I thought, this bagel ought to be good – and it was. So good that when I made two bagels the other morning for my older son intending to use one for his lunch, he ended up eating both for breakfast. He prefers these to the Glutino variety but for convenience, I'm not ready to ditch those just yet. The outside of the bagel is crusty, with the appearance of a typical glutenous effort from a neighborhood bagel shop (click on the photos for more detail). A plain bagel is 270 calories.

One baking recommendation: keep a close eye on the bottom of the bagel while baking. I ended up burning a couple because I kept it in the oven too long. I found that using a vented baking pan - one with holes in it that my wife and I typically use for heating gluten-free pizza - cuts down on this possibility. I also spray some Pam on a piece of aluminum foil placed atop the pan.

Joan's baked goods, which also include English muffins, cookies, bread, rolls and pizza crusts, can be ordered through her company's website. Locally, her products are sold in New Jersey at Water to Go in Pennsauken and Mr. Ritt's in Millville.
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  1. So glad you got to try Joan's. Can't you just taste the grandmotherly love rolled right into them? We are long time fans and the fact that she makes most of her varieties dairy free makes them a huge hit in our house. We order on line and they usually arrive the next day to Phillie. I highly recommend the english muffins too! Cheers!

  2. Hi,
    This is Joan. Thank you so much for reviewing our bagels. I am delighted that your son loved the bagels. For me it is always about the kids. This business was started for my own Grandkids.
    I am afraid you got some of the directions wrong. The bagels are not par baked,they are boiled just like the glutinous variety and then frozen quickly. They need to be defrosted and baked for about 20 minutes. Because oven temps vary perhaps you need to turn yours down a little.You are right on with the perforated pan. That is what we use in the shop and works the best but any baking pan will do. The Pam is probably causing the burning on the bottom. It darkens at high temps.The bagel should get a darker colored ring on the bottom just like bagel shop kind.We take great pride in our products and our customers agree they are worth the extra effort.
    Thanks again for taking the time to write about us and I hope you will get a chance to try some of our other great products. PS the English Muffins just go right into the toaster.