“Free-From” Business Spotlight: Sweet Note Bakery, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Dairy-Free New York-Style Bagels
Cinnamon raisin, everything, plain, blueberry, onion, french toast, rainbow bagel. I love them all. There’s nothing better than a Sunday morning with coffee, newspaper, and a toasted everything bagel topped with onions, capers, and lox. That is, unless you’re subjected to eating a gluten-less bagel, which for the most part are bad. Really, really bad. Gluten is the magic that makes many bread products taste light, dough-y, and delicious. While many of the gluten-free bagels I’ve sampled in my lifetime have had the appearance of a bagel (sort of), they were dense, hard as a rock, and pretty tasteless. After more than a few unsuccessful taste attempts, I essentially removed bagels as a part of my life because honestly, the substitutes I found just weren’t making the cut.
I was living a sad, bagel-less life until In my gluten-free perusing (stalking) on instagram I stumbled upon Sweet Note Bakery. Not only were their beautiful bagels gluten-free, but ALSO wheat, egg, soy, dairy, tree-nut, peanut, fish and shellfish free. Sweet Note Bagels start with eight simple ingredients: Sweet Note flour blend, sugar, yeast, salt, olive oil, water, molasses, and psyllium husk. No preservatives, no fillers, no artificial ingredients, no junk. Yum. I had to try these ASAP. The secret is out, these bagels aren’t just good, they’re incredible. Life changing, even. I had to talk to the person who created these magical gluten-free, allergy-free bagels: Michelle MacDonald.
AFW: How did Sweet Note Bakery begin in 2012?
Michelle: I’ve been baking as a hobby since I was eight, but never really had the courage to turn my passion into a business until 2012. My sister and Grandfather were diagnosed with Celiac Disease and I got to see first hand the struggle to find safe foods that actually taste good. From that moment I knew I could do something and help others with Celiac Disease, gluten intolerances, and food allergies.
I started to work on the thing my sister and grandfather missed the most, a bagel. After months of what felt like being a crazy food scientist, the gluten-free and top 8 allergen-free bagel was born! It was the first of its kind to not have gluten or the top 8 allergens as well as no GMOs or preservatives. I wanted to put something in the market that I could feel good about, so I left all the junk ingredients out that didn’t need to be in a bagel. The best part is, by using real ingredients crafted with love, I was able to create a NY style bagel taste and texture which is chewy on the inside with a nice crisp crust on the outside!
AFW: How many states and locations can your bagels be bought in?
Michelle: We are in 30 states and growing, our recent partnership with CVS expanded us to new states we haven’t been able to reach before. Since we are located in Pennsylvania we have a lot of stores carrying our bagels in PA, NJ, NY and other east coast states, but now with CVS, we added 18 more states and 461 locations across the country.
AFW: What’s your favorite flavor of Sweet Note Bagels?
Michelle: Even though that’s like asking me to choose my favorite child! I am OBSESSED with our newest seasonal flavor, tomato basil. It smells like a pizza, who doesn’t love the smell of pizza! It’s just unlike anything I’ve ever had and I can’t keep myself away from it!
AFW: Any flavors you tried that didn’t work?
Michelle: In the beginning I experimented with chickpea flour and ended up with a bean flavored bagel, it was not a good taste for a bagel! We are working on some top secret new flavors that I think everyone will be really excited about. We actually have a bunch of surveys up on our new website The Greater Knead Project to get direct feedback from the community on what they’d like to see in their food, and what flavors and products we should do next. It’s a new initiative and project we are working on and will be rolling out more flavors and products as the year goes on.
AFW: What’s your favorite recipe you’ve made using your bagels?
Michelle: We have so much fun playing around with new recipes. My absolute favorite is the french toast bagel bites (I use flax milk and no egg and it still tastes amazing). It’s the perfect weekend treat for my two step daughters, who aren’t gluten-free, but LOVE it anyway (and think I’m a crazy bagel lady since I am always making them things with my bagels).
AFW: Describe Sweet Note Bagels in three words.
Michelle: Passionate, Transparent & Authentic
Thank you Michelle for taking the time to speak with me!Â Allergy Free Wife Readers can use the code ALLERGYFREEWIFE for 10% off any Sweet Note Bakery product.
As a special treat for my readers I’m giving away three packages of Sweet Note Bagels in Tomato Basil, Onion, and Original Flavors! Enter Below!