Q: What is Gluten?
Gluten (from Latin “glue”) is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture.
Q: What is Coeliac Disease?
Coeliac disease (pronounced see-liac, spelt celiac disease in other countries) is an autoimmune disease. Gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye triggers an immune reaction in people with coeliac disease. This means that eating gluten damages the lining of the small intestine. Other parts of the body may be affected.
The symptoms of coeliac disease vary from person to person and can range from very mild to severe.
Possible symptoms may include:
- diarrhoea, excessive wind, and/or constipation
- persistent or unexplained gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting
- recurrent stomach pain, cramping or bloating
- any combination of iron, vitamin B12 or folic acid deficiency
- tiredness and/or headaches
- weight loss (but not in all cases)
- mouth ulcers
- hair loss (alopecia)
- skin rash (dermatitis herpetiformis (DH))
- tooth enamel problems
- repeated miscarriages
- joint and/or bone pain
- neurological (nerve) problems such as ataxia (poor muscle co-ordination) and neuropathy (numbness and tingling in the hands and feet).
Some symptoms may be mistaken as Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or wheat intolerance. Stress or getting older can also be a cause of confusion.
Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to be underweight or have lost weight to have coeliac disease. Most people are of normal weight or even overweight at diagnosis.
Q: How do you get tested?
There are three steps in the diagnosis of coeliac disease:
- Discuss your symptoms with your GP.
- Get a simple blood test in your GP’s surgery.
- Get a referral to a gastroenterologist for a gut biopsy.
Q: What is the difference between wheat and gluten?
There definitely is difference between gluten and wheat. Many ingredient lists on packages today use the term “wheat free” and “gluten free” interchangeably. A lot of people today suffer from allergies to wheat and/or gluten. Gluten is a component of wheat.
Wheat is made up of albumin, globulin, gliadin, and gluten. The majority of the reactions in a patient that has an allergy to wheat are caused by albumin and globulin.
Gluten on the other hand is an elastic protein that is found in wheat. Gluten is formed when moisture is added to flour. Gluten is commonly found in wheat, rye, barley and some oats. Gluten is what gives yeast based dough its elasticity.
Q: Is it possible to have a gluten allergy but not a wheat allergy?
Yes it is. If you are allergic only to wheat you can still eat grains that have gluten in them like barley, rye, malt, and some oats.
If you are allergic to gluten you need to stay clear of all foods containing wheat and all flour containing foods. You will have to avoid foods like pizza, pasta, bread, cereals, and alcohol. Make sure there are no ingredients that contain wheat or a derivative of it.
Q: What’s in your bread if there is no wheat?
To put it simply – our process, formulation, ingredients etc all defy the logic of bread making. It is rather a science and everything we learned in bread over our years in the industry, is thrown out the window! This is what makes our range hard to copy and difficult to produce.
There are roughly 17 ingredients in our formulations and it is the mix of proteins, starches and fibres that really help replace the structure that wheat four gives. The ingredients was a tricky part to get right as the specification of each ingredient not only had to be gluten free, but we analysed so many brands/types of each variant until we have the right mix. To this day, if we change any of these ingredients, our bread does not perform well.
The process that we have designed is again a real tricky one and took us 6 months to get the right one. Things like, storeage temperature of ingredients, water temperature when mixing all made a massive different on the structure and final outcome of the final product. Our dough is similar to that of a choux pastry in its stickiness and therefore the kit and machinery we use is bespoke to us to allow the dough to be deposited. We bake the bread in a segregated gluten and wheat free factory.
Q: Is there yeast in your products?
Yes there is a small level of yeast and this is for the purpose of structure.
If Yeast is the only intolerance you have, then McNamee’s Bakery is a good alternative.
Q: Is your product suitable for vegetarians?
Yes all our products are suitable for vegetarians.
Q: Is your range suitable for vegans?
At the minute, our breads are made with egg white again for structure. We are continuously working to remove this so keep an eye out for further developments.
Q: Is your product Dairy Free?
Yes, all our products are free of dairy.
Q: What is the shelflife of your products:
Our products have 6 days shelflife.
Q: Why are Gluten Free Products more expensive?
There are 17 ingredients in our bread v 4 in normal standard bread. Wheat is a mainstream and bought in bulk. Gluten Free is still relatively small in terms of volume and therefore the ingredients are more expensive. The process is far more complex and controlled and baking times of BFree are double that of standard bread.
Q: Are your products frozen?
Our products are frozen for some of our customers -the minute they are baked, they are frozen. Many GF products are packed with gas or have a very high oil/fat content or preservative so that the product lasts longer. Ours acts the very same as frozen broccoli or peas in that we lock in all the goodness. Our breads are made with 110% water and therefore our structure holds exceptionally well when they are defrosted.
Q: Can you refreeze your products?
Our breads are made up of a blend of natural flours, starches and proteins and are made in a dedicated gluten free facility with batch testing done on all productions to ensure there are no traces of gluten. Once baked, the breads are blast frozen the minute they are baked which actually means that we do not have to add in lots of oil or fats to act as preservatives to the product (similar to frozen broccoli or peas).
When we launched our products, for packaging legalities, we absolutely had to confirmed with the FSAI (Food Safety Authority Ireland) that re-freezing the products was OK as structurally, we had no issues. However we needed to ensure that there was no healthy risk involved. The FSAI Advice Line advised us that the term ‘not suitable for home freezing’ would be included where applicable i.e. where there is a food safety risk. This is not a concern however in relation to bread products such as the BFree products. Therefore the products may be refrozen at home once good hygiene practice is employed such as the product remains wrapped and not stored in direct contact with raw product etc. Refreezing of the product may have impact on the product quality and texture.
There are many bread products on the market that go through the same process and because there are no traces of meat or any risk additives that may raise doubts around freezing then bread in general terms is deemed safe to re-freeze.
Q: Are your products made in a Gluten Free factory?
Yes – no other wheat products are made on site and all our products are tested to ensure they all come in at the GF legislation at 10 parts per million (legal is 20 parts per million).
Q: Do you supply GF Muffins/Cookies etc?
No, BFree represents a healthy, good for you bakery range and this means that every time our consumers look at our brand, they trust that it is good for them. We hope that in the coming years, BFree will stretch across categories and represent a brand of healthy products, that are wheat and gluten free.
Q:Where can I find your products?
All our products can be found in Dunnes Stores, Tesco, Supervalu, Centra, Spar and selected independent outlets nationwide.
You can also have any sandwich at all O’Brien’s Sandwich Bars nationwide.