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Natural Awakenings Dallas -Fort Worth Metroplex Edition


Anne Hoyt: on Gluten-Free Eating

Anne Hoyt, along with her daughter Taylor Nicholson, founded Unrefined Bakery, a gluten-free haven where passion and purpose collide. Their journey began with personal food allergies, particularly celiac disease, and a deep appreciation for nutrition and flavor. Determined to create healthier, delicious treats, they reimagined old family recipes and crafted new ones. Unrefined Bakery takes allergen-free baking to a new level using only the finest pure and whole ingredients. Their offerings include nut-free, grain-free, sugar-free and paleo options. With a commitment to quality and nourishment, these women have left an indelible mark on the gluten-free community.

What inspired you to start Unrefined Baker, and focus on gluten-free products?

We did this as a reaction to my youngest daughter, Erin, being diagnosed with celiac disease while in her final year of pre-med. Taylor began making food bars, and then Anne jumped in and finally began the challenging task of baking without gluten. Gluten is the protein within wheat and rye and barley that binds the ingredients together. That in turn makes U.S. bread products act and taste and feel like the soft. spongy perfection to which we have all grown accustomed.

How do you create gluten-free products that taste great and meet dietary restrictions?

Anne is the ultimate guide to the taste and texture. We have learned others agree. Carbs make us happy: they are a huge part of memories and celebrations within all cultures (i.e., pretzels and beer at a ball game; cakes for all types of celebrations; homemade pizza for a fun friday family game night). Carbs are an integral part of our enjoyment, and then our memories! As for the nutrition and allergen component, we simply use organic and pure ingredients, then we watch the sugar content, keeping it is as low as possible, while remembering what it is we are making. It just needs enough sugar, not over the top. That’s one component of the balance; if it isn’t tasty and doesn’t bring a smile, then we won’t make it, because people won’t eat it. Taylor is the nutrition guru. She knows her stuff.

How do you stay innovative and creative in developing new gluten-free recipes?

This has been pretty easy and has helped us stay ahead of the trends and current knowledge. We listen to our customers! That has been a huge key to our success. Our customers are smart. They know what is happening before anyone in the news even begins to think about it, let alone write about it. So, we listen to the customers, we learn from them, as well as learn from our continued revamps of recipes. For instance, throughout the years, new recipes have less and less sugar. In order of evolution, over the years we have taken out corn, dairy, eggs, grains, sugar and then seed oils. It has been quite a time of learning and equally importantly, being open to learning.

What are the unique challenges of sourcing ingredients for gluten-free products?

The number one issue is simply be the availability of non-mainstream ingredients. Oftentimes we need more that our suppliers can provide. We have to keep multiple providers on hand because we frequently run into shortages. Another issue is the size of the available products; we still use a small can of our organic coconut cream rather than a large commercial can. Also, since COVID, prices have gone up exponentially, and sizes of commercially available products have gotten smaller. We speculate that as prices have increased and margins have gotten totally squished, fewer and fewer manufactures have been willing to stay in this highly niche market because it is simply no longer worth it. Luckily, to ward off this supply issue, we had room in our production facility to order multiple pallets at a time directly from the manufacturer, rather than how we did it in the beginning by buying from a food distributor one week at a time. Sometimes we order from three months to 12 months at a time. 

How do you address the issue of texture in gluten-free bread?

I can only explain by saying we eat our own food; we have been undaunted in our efforts to provide the best possible taste and texture for the cleanest allergen food ever; remember, Anne won’t eat a bad carb; lastly, it has simply been a gift that fell into our hands as we serve our customers to the best of our abilities.

What are the myths and benefits of gluten-free eating?

Once you go down this whole road of eating gluten-free, you begin to read ingredient labels and then you begin to understand them. Once you understand an ingredient label, then you are nearly forced by your mind (in a desire to be as well as possible), to eat cleaner and cleaner. Once you begin to eat more cleanly, then your body demands it. And then the cycle has become complete. Eliminate gluten, then eating it makes you sick. Eliminate dairy, then it makes you sick. Decrease sugar, then excess makes you sick. Finally, eliminate seed oils and then they make you sick. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy of ever-increasing wellness and longevity!

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