Bonnie Hansen, baking and catering manager for the Steamboat Springs School District, now is making gluten-free breads for students and staff members.

Photo by Scott Franz

Bonnie Hansen, baking and catering manager for the Steamboat Springs School District, now is making gluten-free breads for students and staff members.

Steamboat Springs School District now offering gluten-free breads

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— The chefs who have enjoyed cooking such things as bison dogs and coconut-crusted tilapia for students in the Steamboat Springs School District just added another specialty item to their menu: gluten-free bread.

“It's nice to be able to serve food that everyone can eat,” Baking and Catering Manager Bonnie Hansen said, noting there are more than 25 students and teachers in the district who are gluten intolerant. “They're happy to have more options.”

The district started offering gluten-free pizza at the start of this school year and expanded on the offerings two weeks ago when Hansen started making several kinds of gluten-free breads and muffins that are served for breakfast and lunch at the schools.

Even diners who aren't intolerant to the protein composite found in foods made with wheat are trying the gluten-free items.

“Some of the staff members have been going crazy over them,” Hansen said.

The effort to offer more menu items for students with food allergies has turned into a fun cooking endeavor for Hansen and the other chefs at the school district.

Hansen calls the process of making the breads without gluten a “scientific art.”

Although her gluten-free banana and pumpernickel breads have been a quick hit in the schools, she admitted she still is trying to figure out how to improve the white bread that can be a bit dry.

The new pizza crust is made from a recipe found in the gluten-free issue of Plate Magazine, and ingredients include tapioca flour and garbanzo bean flour.

Max Huppert, director of nutritional services for the school district, said he always wants to be at the cutting edge of school food.

Even the salad dressings at the schools are made from scratch.

“We're at the point now where we might even start making our own mayonnaise,” Huppert said, adding that condiments are one of the few items his staff doesn't make. “We like to do things no other school district in the country is doing.”

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

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