New York: Gluten-Free at Ella’s Bellas Bakery

At Ella’s Bellas, in Beacon, New York, Carley Hughes has set out to make gluten-free desserts that are an indulgence regardless of dietary restrictions.
By Marissa Sertich

Everyone should be able to enjoy the pleasure of an ooey-gooey cookie or a friendly piece of toast in the morning.  At Ella’s Bellas, in Beacon, New York, Carley Hughes has set out to make gluten-free desserts that are an indulgence regardless of dietary restrictions.  Gluten-free food shouldn’t taste “gluten-free” – it should simply taste delicious.

Hughes did not originally bake, nor eat gluten-free, but after several years of baking wholesale from her home, she began to discover the happiness she could bring to those were unable to eat gluten.   When people maintaining a gluten-free diet ask Hughes what they can eat in her bakery, and she responds, “everything,” she is greeted by excitement and appreciation.

Developing a delicious gluten-free range of bakery items is not an easy task.  Using a unique “flour” blend for each product, there is a lot for research and development that goes on behind the scenes.  Blends include different ratios of rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, quinoa flour, teff and more.  There is a science (and trail and error process) to developing the blends depending on each ingredient’s protein and starch content.

With time and increasing expertise, recipe development has become easier and less time consuming for Hughes.  She and her bakery crew have even managed to develop several gluten free breads such as baguette and whole-grain loaf.

Hughes does not obviously advertise that her shop is gluten-free at all – instead, she’d rather people keep an open mind before trying her products.  People often avoid food if it is advertised as gluten-free, assuming it will be sub-standard. Hughes’s goal is to produce products that are good enough so people can not taste the difference between the original and her gluten-free alternative.

In addition to baking gluten-free, Hughes sources many of her ingredients locally, depending on local farms for quality, season products. With biodegradable packaging and Hughes’s attention to detail and attention to flavor, she is a gem of the Hudson Valley.

Ella’s Bellas
418 Main Street, Beacon, NY 12508
(845) 765-8502

Marissa Sertich

Marissa Sertich

Marissa Sertich is a New York based pastry chef and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. She passionately documents her adventures of baking and eating her way through the fascinating (and sometimes nutty) underbelly of the American pie. Sertich's writing has been featured in "La Papillote," "EverydayFiction," "The Culinarian," "Toque Magazine," and is currently earning her Master's degree in Food Studies at NYU.

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5 Comments
  1. Thanks for the article. I am gluten intolerant and think most gluten products taste bitter and weird. Texture is gritty. Maybe I could order from here. This Thanksgiving I almost lost my mind trying to make pie crust. Even purchased Thomas Kellers Cup4Cup flour but no luck.

  2. I am a Beaconite and was so excited about the gorgeous Ella’s Bella expansion. I went to have lunch on Saturday, October 11, 2013 and found the quiches were both sold out. The gentleman behind the counter did not acknowledge my presence for about two full minutes; didn’t even say, “I’ll be with you in just a moment.” So I waited until he was ready to look up. When I was informed both quiches were out, he offered no apology or alternatives to order from (salad, potato/corn chowder, nothing). I ordered chowder and it was very good, but I felt unwelcomed. There were other people eating outside and only me at the time I ordered but I wasn’t given the feeling they wanted to take my order. When I finished lunch, I told them I’d take my cake slice to go. It took five minutes for three people to pack it up . . . and there were at least five people working on the premises at that time. I wish the owners knew how their staff are treating people while they’re taking a much deserved day off. It will be a while before I go back . . . if ever . . . no matter how good the gluten free food is. –Amparo

  3. This is the best bakery, hands down- gluten free or not- (I happen to be) and it is SO exciting to have this right here in Beacon, a 10 minute walk from my home. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  4. I was so taken aback when I recently viewed an episode of “Toni on New York” to find a totally free gluten free bakery that exceeds all expectations.
    I live in New York City but plan to take a ride up to your wonderful bakery in the near future.
    Looking forward to seeing you there.

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