Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Entrepreneur hoping to make gluten-free her bread and butter

Baking bread isn’t easy no matter how you slice it. And getting some of Denver’s better bakeries to sell your bread can be even rougher.

But entrepreneur Catherine Boe is hoping to pull it off, producing a new brand of gluten-free bread and distributing it — fresh and frozen — at Trompeau Bakery, a block west of DU at 1729 E. Evans Ave., and also at Pajama Baking Company at 1595 S. Pearl St.

Boe’s hope is that customers will see her bread not just as a gluten-free option for people with food sensitivities, but as a healthful choice for those to whom gluten-free bread may go against the grain.

“I think my bread tastes very good,” Boe says, pointing out that it took about a year to develop her recipe. “But bread is about health and nutrition, not just taste.”

Certainly that’s the case for the one in 133 Americans unable to digest gluten due to Celiac disease, an inherited condition that damages the small intestine and can cause malnutrition, according to the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America.

But for those with normal intestinal function, gluten can be pretty dandy. It’s the stuff in wheat and other grains that gives bread shape, lets it rise, makes it chewy and allows it to absorb liquids. If you like pizza and bagels, thank gluten.

But people with digestion issues possess a sensitivity so fine that Trompeau’s won’t even take Boe’s gluten-free bread out of the bag and slice it lest the loaf be contaminated by microscopic particles of flour. So, customers take the bread home, slice it themselves, and explore on their own her careful assembly of “cultured organic millet flour, potato starch, tapioca flour and cultured Teff flour” among 11 other ingredients.

Teff, she explains, is a relatively unknown grain that’s a “nutritional powerhouse.” Culturing means soaking grains for about seven hours in an acid base of apple cider vinegar. The vinegar bath makes the bread easier to digest, she says. Toss in the nutritional benefits of the other ingredients and the result, Boe says, is a product that meets the needs of Celiac patients and tastes pretty darn good to boot.

Skeptics enamored of French baguettes might counter that no matter how healthful the bread is, it leaves a lot to the imagination to think that bakery customers will forsake Trompeau’s flaky chocolate croissants for a $6.75 loaf of Boe’s Millet Crunch.

Boe is quick to counter, citing among other arguments the “Slow Food” movement, which advocates for fresh, high-quality food prepared slowly and eaten the same. Fast, easy-to-fix equivalents are an insult to the pleasure of eating, Slow Foodies say, and Boe is betting her customers agree. She’s also hoping that once converted, they’ll pump up her Bliss Baking Co. production from 50 loaves a week to about 350.

“I use quality ingredients so the raw cost is much higher and the profit margin much smaller,” she allows. “I’m hoping people will pay more when they see the value of higher quality.”

That confidence is why she loves laboring over a hot oven at Deby’s Gluten Free Bakery & Cafe in Denver. And it’s why she’s buttering up bread lovers about her new garbanzo bean bread, which will come out in few weeks.

“I’m really excited,” she says of her new business. “I hope I can make this work.”

For more information, visit or call 720-320-7815. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *