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CSU’s gluten-free bakery serves up tasty treats

CSU Baker, Chasity Flores, shovels lines of chocolate rice crispy treats onto a pan. The gluten indigents and goods used in the main room of the CSU bakery never touch the gluten-free room or goods produced in that room.
CSU Baker, Chasity Flores, shovels lines of chocolate rice crispy treats onto a pan. The gluten ingredients and goods used in the main room of the CSU bakery never touch the gluten-free room or goods produced in that room.

The smell wafting from the back door of Edwards Hall is unexpectedly sweet. The whiff of powdered sugar is not coming from the freshmen living in the hall, but the campus bakery that calls Edwards Hall home.

Looking inside, huge machines are all around. The process involves rolling out the dough, forming the dough into little balls, and then they are baked  just in time to be shipped off to the dining halls nearby.

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The kitchen is bustling with workers in aprons, gloves and closed-toe shoes hustling to check on food in the ovens. One woman transfers fresh-baked cookies to a cooling rack.

According to Abby Lawson, the residential dining manager and head chef at the bakery, dining halls put in their orders for baked goods for the bakery to make and deliver for them.

“Our operating hours are a little bit different in that we’re not open to the public,” Lawson said. “And we’re a vendor here on campus.”

At 10 a.m., the bakery has been up and running for eight hours. According to Lawson, the bakery runs from 2 a.m. until 5 p.m. some days.

Gluten-free products are made in a room separate from the rest of the bakery to avoid contamination.

“We’re trying to keep the continuing trends and making sure we are meeting the needs of all our students, staff and faculty,” Lawson said.

According to Michelle Milholland, a dietitian at the nutrition center, there are many reasons for people to eat gluten-free. Some have celiac disease, which is a gluten intolerance, while others do it to eat healthier.

For students and faculty with celiac disease, it is important that there is not any gluten contamination.

Milholland said reactions to gluten differ in severity and symptoms from person to person. Jairus Crabb, a freshman engineering major, has had celiac disease for seven years and says his reactions are severe.

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“My intestines swell up and it’s extremely painful,” Crabb said. “It’s enough to make me throw up blood.”

So far, Crabb said he has not gotten sick from eating in the dining halls at CSU. They are very careful to make sure that foods containing gluten are kept separate from gluten-free products.

“I think it’s nice that they are offering a safe alternative,” Milholland said.

Gluten is found in wheat, so gluten-free products often do not stick together as well as those with gluten.

“It’s hard to find actually good-tasting gluten-free baked goods,” Crabb said.

The bakery in Edwards makes several gluten-free goods, some of which include muffins, bread, cornbread, brownies and granola bars.

“The brownies are super, super good,” Crabb said. “I love the brownies.”

Crabb attended summer session at CSU and he said the gluten-free section was set up differently from how it is now.

According to Crabb, he preferred the setup in the summer because now there are pre-cooked meals for him to take and microwave.

“It’s not good to eat the same thing refrigerated and re-heat it basically every day,” Crabb said.

Many students do not know the bakery exists, even the residents of Edwards Hall.

“Isn’t it at the back of Edwards, behind the front desk?” said Sally McClain, a freshman equine sciences major.

The gluten-free bakery is actually located on the backside of Edwards Hall, directly opposite the main entrance of the building.

Although it is hard to find, students are able to benefit from its existence. Their baked goods are available for students to sample in all of the dining halls on campus.

McClain said, “I tried a cookie today and it was really good.”

Collegian Reporter Amber Johnson can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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