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Maninis Gluten Free Pasta and Bread

by Karen on January 17th, 2012

Before the holidays I had the opportunity to meet with Jim Collins of Maninis.  We both live in the same neighborhood in Seattle and several friends suggested that we meet.  I had heard that he was developing gluten free bread and pasta. (and in a funny twist of fate I also used to drive his daughter home in the track practice car pool !)  I am normally cautious about recommending products since I am pretty particular about the quality of gluten free food and many people use a variety of nutritionally void gluten free flours.

When I heard he was using amaranth, sorghum, millet, oat flour and some starchs I was pretty excited to find out about his products.  (Starches are very useful in gluten free baking but you want to keep usage to a minimum, no more than 1/3 of the flour mix should be starch.)  Anyway we met and I was quite impressed with his efforts.  I dream of the day when his breads are available in my grocery store.  Right now his loaves of bread can be purchased at the University Farmer’s Market (I think they are year round) and at other farmers markets during their season.  Right now we often buy either Udi’s or Rudi’s gluten free breads or we make our own.  My daughter has also recently learned that she must avoid corn so when she is in town we cannot use Maninis as most of their mixes have cornstarch or maize in them.  (1-21-12, I just learned that Maninis Papa’s multigrain bread mix and the Trovato pasta mix are both corn free.)

After meeting Jim, I have been experimenting more with my own bread recipe, inspired by how awesome his tasted, and I have a few more tweaks to add before I offer that recipe as a bonus to those purchasing Cooking Gluten Free!  (and at $15 it helps us pay the bills around here too.)  Watch for information on my new bread recipe being offered with that soon.

Here is some French Bread made by my friend Lisa at Gluten Free Foodies with a Maninis mix:

Lisa-Gluten Free Foodies bakes Maninis French Bread

Doesn’t that look wonderful?

Lisa and I attended a special event for food bloggers at Whole Foods just before Thanksgiving.  We are pleased to see Whole Foods work hard to offer good options for those on a gluten free diet and they also do a great job finding local products to offer their customers.  Maninis is both, Whole Foods actually has someone on staff with a title of Local Forager–she seeks out great, new local products!

Which brings me back full circle to my bread recipe in the book.  Years ago Lee Tobin was visiting Seattle on his honeymoon.  Lee worked in a North Carolina Whole Foods bakery and started the gluten free bakery division for the store.  At first Lee was baking for his region and ultimately the company took the idea nationwide.  Anyway, I received a phone call from Cynthia Kupper one day asking me if I would be attending that evening’s Gluten Intolerance Group meeting in Bellevue and if so could I swing by a B & B on Capital Hill and pick up a honeymooning couple that wanted to attend our meeting!  Isn’t that funny?—well Lee and his new bride wanted to make the most of their trip here and at the time Bette Hagman and I were regular attendees to this group and of course Cynthia knows everyone in the GF world so Lee was able to meet all three of us in one place.

I picked up Lee and his bride at the appointed street corner and while we drove to the meeting he told me all about his great method to speed up the rising time in gluten free bread making and he gave me the recipe he was using at the time which I changed a bit. So many recipes do not include his simple trick to rise the bread faster, I am so glad he shared it with me (us!).

After all these years of using that recipe, Maninis opened my eyes to further refinements.  Whereas my original recipe uses tapioca flour, brown rice flour, and one healthy flour (your choice: amaranth, teff, millet) I am now dropping the brown rice flour and incorporating oat flour, amanranth, millet and sorghum.  I am so thankful that all of these flours are widely available in stores and online from Bob’s Red Mill (more about him in a future post).

The other area that Maninis is pursuing is fresh gluten free pasta.  He sells to some grocery stores and local restaurants

Mondello's in Magnolia

 Mondello’s has become my new favorite place to eat in Magnolia.  The first time I had the gluten free pasta they buy from Maninis I was so impressed and very happy.  They also make some great salads.  Even though not all of the sauces they serve over pasta are gluten free you do have some options.  We like to order two salads and then share a pasta entree.

I hope you have a chance to visit.

If you want to make your own gluten free pasta follow the link to a recipe we use and some by fellow gluten free bloggers –I haven’t tried it yet but I want to make the one from Pete and Kelli and Tara.

Whew!  I hope all of that is helpful.  I hope to have my new bread recipe available in a few days to include with new orders.

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