Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Vive La Croissant!

How can Schar make a gluten-free croissant? By using wheat starch - yes, I said wheat starch. "Um, Mike," you say, "you know that wheat is verboten for those on a gluten-free diet." Of course, but it's gluten-free wheat starch. "Wha???????"

Yes, gluten-free wheat starch is a thing. To make its delicious new classic and hazelnut cream filled croissants, Schar uses certified Codex gluten-free wheat starch, an ingredient that has been utilized in European gluten-free products for many years. Schar says that using certified gluten-free wheat starch provides an increased texture and taste that cannot be achieved with the standard gluten-free flours and starches; the gluten-free wheat starch provides elasticity to the dough to create a lighter, flaky texture.

According to Schar's croissant FAQ, the safety of gluten-free wheat starch has been documented in several research studies where individuals with Celiac Disease consuming the starch had comparable results to those consuming a naturally gluten-free diet. There was no adverse effect of adding certified gluten-free wheat starch to the diet of individuals with Celiac Disease, according to the studies. (Gluten-Free Living magazine has more about gluten-free wheat starch and one of the studies.)

Schar's dietitian Anne Lee tells me that the croissants test to less than 10 ppm gluten, below than the FDA-required level of 20 ppm. Under the FDA guidelines, certified gluten-free wheat starch may be used in gluten-free products as long as it is under 20 ppm. That said, people with a wheat allergy should not consume gluten-free wheat starch.

Of course, whether you choose to eat these croissants is entirely a personal choice. If you do go down that road, you can expect the remarkable flaky character, airy dough and buttery taste found in the traditional version of the pastry. (If you are a Nutella fan, you'll particularly like the hazelnut cream-filled ones.) The croissants, which will retail for about $6 for a package of four, will be sold beginning next month in the freezer sections of supermarkets nationwide. They can either be defrosted for about an hour or, as I recommend, warmed for about 15 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 350°F.

DISCLOSURE: While Schar provided product samples for me to review at no cost, such compensation did not influence my review. Neither I am nor any immediate family member is an employee, officer, director or agent of Schar or its respective parent, subsidiary and affiliated entities, advertising and promotional agencies. Click here for my complete Disclosure.
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