Going Gluten-Free: Doughnuts help satisfy pastry cravings
A gluten intolerance is best tolerated with a minimum of fuss. There are so many great things to eat in this world, why lament what one can’t have?
Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser!
You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription.
Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story.
To my mind, a gluten intolerance is best tolerated with a minimum of fuss. There are so many great things to eat in this world, why lament what one can’t have?
But even with that philosophy, I have to admit there are a handful of foods, pastries in particular, that I perpetually long for. One of those used to be doughnuts.
I say “used to be” because thanks to bakers at Down to Earth, a wheat-free line of doughnuts is now on the shelves at the Kapolei, Kakaako and Honolulu stores. (The store bakes them in kitchens that also handle wheat products so cannot label the doughnuts gluten-free.)
Though the bakers decided at the start on a cake-style doughnut, they took a couple of years to develop the recipe, trying out white and brown flours, and tapioca flour, before arriving at the key to success: garbanzo flour.
Ian Yamada, a baker at the Kapolei store, had already been using garbanzo flour in other baked goods. Tinkering with a wheat-free cake recipe, Yamada and others developed a doughnut.
“Doughnuts should be a bit chewy, but still soft inside. This one has a cakey texture but tastes like a doughnut, not a cake,” said Edgar Edge, a former food service director at Down to Earth who helped develop the recipe. Edge recently left the company.
Though garbanzo flour lends a softness that raises the quality of the product, it needs to be combined with other flours and products to work well in baked goods, he said. It’s best in conjunction with arrowroot, potato starch, xantham gum (for chewiness), and baking soda and baking powder (for lightness).
“Garbanzo flour can also be tricky. If proportions are not exactly right, a baked good can be dry or gummy,” Edge said.
To maintain the consistency of their product, not just from day to day, but from store to store, Down to Earth bakers rely on Bob’s Red Mill garbanzo flour mixes, which include the proper proportions of each relevant ingredient.
Whatever magic they’re using, these doughnuts are my dream come true. The Kakaako store has a good supply of them in vanilla and chocolate every day, but I’ve also had a strawberry version from the Kapolei store. All are great, but my hands-down favorite is chocolate.
Get them for $1.99 apiece. And if they aren’t sold at the Down to Earth you frequent, ask for them. I’ve been told by multiple staff members that stores are responsive to customer requests.
If you must go out of your way to get some, buy a bunch — they freeze well. But be warned: These doughnuts are addictive. I work near the Kakaako store, and several months ago I had to put a moratorium on them to break myself of indulging daily.
For the purposes of this column, I recently allowed myself another. They’ve been singing their siren song to me ever since. Thankfully, I still have one in my freezer.
“Going Gluten-Free” helps meet the cooking and dining challenges faced by those on wheat-free diets. It runs on the first Wednesday of each month. Send questions and suggestions to Joleen Oshiro, firstname.lastname@example.org.