KANSAS CITY, MO — Robin Krause’s inspiration to create Billie’s Grocery, one of just a handful of gluten-free bakeries in Kansas City, MO, stemmed from her lifestyle. With a background as a certified herbalist, health coach and yoga teacher, healing through food is something she wanted to carry over into the bakery, which Krause opened in 2020. She also wanted to set herself apart from other bakeries in the city by offering a space where people who can’t tolerate gluten can indulge in baked goods.
Krause shared that one of the biggest differences in prepping gluten-free desserts was seeing customers come in and be amazed by how much variety can be found in gluten-free baked goods.
“We have had kids walk in and parents say, ‘What here is gluten-free that we can have?’” Krause said. “When we say, ‘All of it,’ we’ve had kids cry out of excitement.”
When it comes to acquiring the necessary ingredients for baking gluten-free products, Krause said it comes down to a lot of trial and error.
“A lot of gluten-free blends out there are awesome for certain things,” she explained. “They’ll do a cinnamon roll, cookie or scone really well. It’s just finding the right flour or combination.”
Krause noted that all the products in the case at Billie’s Grocery use different blends of gluten-free ingredients because different brands and blends work better than others for specific products.
Shelf life is another challenge Krause faces in working with gluten-free products because, typically, they only stay good for one or two days.
On any given day, up to six bakers begin at 5 a.m. to fill the display case with fresh baked goods. To accommodate customer needs, the bakery provides bulk take-and-bake options for products like biscuits or scones.
Balancing R&D along with the production schedule can get hectic. In addition to her own curiosity-driven ideas, Krause’s bakery managers serve as the R&D team, too, and have extensive experience working with gluten-free baked goods.
“They will get everybody set with production schedules and give them their lists on what they need for the day, and then after they have completed their list, they will conduct experiments of some sort,” Krause said.
The team at Billie’s Grocery runs a seasonal production schedule that is planned well in advance and precisely picked. When it comes to gluten-free baking, everything must be done with intention. From planning to production, the details that go into these baked goods shine through the product makeup and execution.