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Bread and Spice 

Michlitch’s is conducting a wheat-free experiment in the International District

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Don Vannoy has been surrounded by wheat his entire life.

As a research assistant at the University of Idaho during the 1970s, he assisted in developing the strains of wheat that later helped to fuel the Green Revolution in Asia. He later became a wheat farmer. Three years ago, though, Vannoy found out he had celiac disease, an ailment that is caused by an adverse reaction to gluten — and gluten is found in wheat.

Now Vannoy and his wife, Joyce, own and operate Michlitch’s, a spice shop and gluten-free bakery off of East Sprague. You’ll have to drive past auto-detailing establishments and stop before hitting the railroad tracks before you see the one-story building. Once inside, your senses will be knocked over with the mustardy spices of bratwurst seasoning and sweet barbecue rubs.

Michlich’s has been a spot for hunters since 1948. They drop in to pick up seasoning packets that are mixed on site. Next to items like jalapeno breakfast sausage seasoning and coffee, cocoa and orange barbecue rub are plastic bags filled with gluten-free bagels, gluten-free sourdough loaves and the bread that started it all, the “Good Bread.”

Joyce Vannoy began researching gluten-free breads and experimented with different kinds of flour, finally settling on a mixture of white rice, sorghum and teff flour combined with potato starch. The result was a non-white gluten bread that was sliceable and hefty — a faux wheat bread. The Vannoys kept experimenting, utilizing some of the research techniques they learned years ago. They kept a control, entered variables and have successfully created a range of gluten-free products from biscotti to cupcakes.

There is one snag. The bakery is in the same building as the spice shop and the flavors sometimes intermingle — especially when it comes to sweet cakes and frosting. To keep the quality of their products high, the Vannoys store the sweet items separately and encourage customers to order cakes and cookies ahead of time to be picked up. Breads and savory goods can be purchased anytime.

Oh, and you can also get your knives sharpened while you wait. 

Michlitch’s • 130 N. Stone • Open Mon-Fri 9:30 am -5 pm; Sat 10:30 am-3 pm • 624-1490 • spokanespice.com; spokaneglutenfree.com

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