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Footloose and Gluten-Free: Eban's Bakehouse

Adrienne Novak, co-founder and creator of Eban's Bakehouse
and its line of appealing gluten-free goods
While taste may be the dominant consideration behind a particular food's appeal, general mouthfeel is not that far behind. In some instances, that can be the largest consideration. For example, the taste of durian fruit on a personal basis for me isn't nearly as unappealing as its uniquely stringy, cottony and chewy texture.

For gluten-intolerant and Celiac disease sufferers, finding gluten-free bread that not only tastes decent but also has that generally pleasing texture that only bread delivers is something of a challenge. However, this was an issue that we generally had no worries about ourselves since we (thankfully) do not suffer from these issues.

This changed recently when we learned that relatives of ours discovered they had some gluten-consumption health issues; this news has put us on the watch for both gluten-free recipes and food products that they might enjoy. One thing they did echo was the bread conundrum: the few gluten-free options they found at their local grocery store were  not terribly good, especially in light of the cost, and they basically had conceded that bread would probably be just something to go without from here on out.

With some time to kill a couple weeks ago before headed up to a family gathering, we decided to drop by a place that we had not been to in quite awhile in the Worthington Indoor Farmers Market. At this and other farmers markets, Dan The Baker has been our regular go-to for bread at farmers markets, and sure enough they were doing their usual bang-up business (we stopped by and walked away with their intricately designed and very tasty springerle cookies.)

We had known about and seen Eban's Bakehouse's stand at this and other local farmers markets, but since we took care of bread needs elsewhere, we simply never had thought about dropping by to look at their goods. Old habits almost took over and we were ready to just stroll by when we remembered that their products were in fact gluten-free. On this day, the booth was staffed by the very charming Adrienne Novak, co-founder of Eban's Bakehouse, who invited us to try the bread samples. On this morning, we were more than happy to oblige.

We admittedly didn't have terribly high expectations, based on our own prior experiences with other gluten-free breads and the tales of such by our relatives and others we know. I popped a sample into my mouth and, well, surprise, it had the feel of regular bread. I then focused on the taste, which turned out to be equally quite nice. We tried other samples and reached the same conclusion: these breads were all pretty darn good. As we were sampling the bread, Adrienne gave us a brief primer on Eban's business and mentioned that it had taken her and her business partner/boyfriend (both of whom are trained chefs) about nine months to get the bread recipes just right.

Eban's offers a selection of gluten-free breads and other sweet treats
This is where our first encounter with Eban's gets a little footloose and a lot coincidental. Coming from California, I've become acutely aware of connections between there and the Buckeye State. Not only did we learn that Adrienne lived for a time in California in an area I loved to visit as a kid (Santa Cruz), but she also grew up in the very same town my spouse did as a child (in fact, she knew of and graduated in the same class as one of my spouse's sisters.) Another fun fact we learned about is the name itself, which is a combination of the initials of Adrienne and her business partner/boyfriend.

According to Adrienne, news is good on the business front for Eban's, as word has slowly but surely gotten out about their gluten-free products. These products are mainly focused on their bread varieties (including but not exclusive to Oat, Cinnamon Raisin and Cranberry Walnut), but they also sport a select inventory of cookies and other baked goods. Distribution has expanded into several surrounding states, and she has even been receiving online orders from the western part of this country, where she had always figured they had comparable, well-thought-of products readily available.

On this day, we left with a loaf of Eban's bread as well as a bag of gluten-free dinner rolls to take up to our family event. The dinner rolls were all consumed eagerly at dinner, and the loaf of bread has been quite well-received by our relatives. Based on our and our relatives' experience, we would not be surprised at all to see the upswing continue for this unique local bakery.

Eban's Bakehouse
4086 Broadway
Grove City, OH 43123
(513) 409-EBAN (3226)
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