Linda Fitzerman is gluten intolerant and missed her bread. For any person on a gluten-free or low-carb diet you can understand how you might miss something as simple as a slice of bread at dinner, or perhaps that really great sandwich.
Nearly three years ago Fitzerman decided that she would open her own bakery and change the way she would eat forever. Recently she opened Local Oven, an entirely gluten-free operation that markets to restaurants, hotels and grocers locally.
“I was told that if I ever wanted to feel right again I had to avoid gluten altogether. So I went to the store and bought up all these gluten-free products and was disappointed. So for a year and a half I simply didn’t have bread. I missed it,” said Fitzerman.
Fitzerman had worked in the industry and knows her way around industrial kitchens. She worked for Brinker International for 13 years and for the past 7 years she was a purchasing agent in the restaurant industry. Now she bakes gluten-free and places her growing list of products in restaurants across the city including Company Café, Kenny’s Burger Joint, Kenny’s Italian Kitchen and Sea Breeze Fish Market.
In her 3,000 square foot kitchen Fitzerman has a massive walk-in cooler and an even larger walk-in freezer. There are large industrial-sized ovens and space for expansion. She also has a hospitality area where she might sit clients down for sampling as we did the day we visited the operation.
For now the product list covers your basics. She is not interested in pastries such as cookies or cupcakes. She bakes what she missed the most: baguettes, hamburger and hot dog buns, pita, bread crumbs, croutons and biscotti.
The buns are more obvious, but individuals on a gluten-free diet are not able to walk into an Italian restaurant and order a simple veal Parmagano. The crumb has gluten. Now you can go into Kenney’s Italian and ask for gluten-free and be satisfied. You can now order a Caesar salad and not worry about the croutons.
“The breads are the hardest part of gluten-free. They tend to be crumbly and fall apart or very rubbery. They just don’t hold up. That was my main focus when I got into this couple of years ago. I missed a really great sandwich,” said Fitzerman. Now she can get a really good burger at Company Café, or even a lobster roll at Sea Breeze in Plano who both serve her bread as an option.
The actual proof in the buns at Local Oven is the taste and Fitzerman prepared several products during our visit, including a burger, an Italian sub and biscotti. Each passed the test having great crumb, crunch and an overall mouth-feel that was satisfying.
Local Oven will sell to the public at their bakery located in Carrollton at Midway and Trinity Mills, but look for her products shooting up in shops and restaurants near you very soon.