Last July, Nicole Burgi took notice of the increasing demand for gluten-free items in the food world and closed the bistro portion of Alpine Bistro and Bakery to make room for a new gluten-free baking room.
"We knew it was one of those up-and-coming things that wouldn't be short-lived," says Burgi.
A closed door separates the gluten-free baking room from the rest of the bakery, and it has its own separate pans, equipment and baking time.
"[The baker] bakes when nothing else is baking, so there's no flour in the air," she says.
Sometimes the loaves of gluten-free bread in stores can be small and hard, says Burgi, but Alpine makes sure their bread comes out big and soft, just like regular loaves of bread.
The bakery — now named Alpine Bakery Co. — makes gluten-free bread in several varieties, including white, multigrain and jalapeno cheddar. The rest of their gluten-free line includes hamburger buns, bread cubes, croutons, and a rotating list of pastries like brownies, peanut butter cookies, pumpkin cake and muffins.
Alpine's line of non-gluten-free products features an extensive selection of loaves, baguettes, artisan breads, rolls and buns, a full line of pastries and more, all with no preservatives. Each week, the bakery goes through two tons of flour and supplies baked goods to more than 100 restaurants from Airway Heights to Coeur d'Alene, all around Spokane, and to a few outlying locations.
When Burgi closed the bistro nine years after opening it with her husband, she needed a storefront for walk-in customers to buy their products or pick up large orders. So she leased a portion of what used to be the dining room to Jen Goodwin, who opened a coffee shop inside called Alpine Grind.
Goodwin sells the bakery's pastries ($1-3.75) — like Danishes, cinnamon rolls, muffins and bagels — alongside their other breads, which are all baked daily. She serves Uccello's Coffee in pretty much any form you can ask for ($2-$4.75). ♦
Alpine Bakery Co. and Alpine Grind • 810 N. Monroe • Open Mon-Fri, 6 am-3 pm • alpine-bakery-spokane.com • 327-7040