Friday, June 02, 2023

Bergenfield—Seventy eight gluten-free cakes were donated by Teaneck’s Butterflake Bake Shop to the Gluten-Free Gemach, a short-term gemach which was started by Miriam and Jeff Rosenfeld of Bergenfield. The gemach, highlighted by JLBC in its April 3rd edition, is winding up its second year operating only for the two weeks following Passover. Through publicity on Facebook and the various community email lists, the gemach collected more than 300 items; everything from different types of gluten-free flours to desserts, snacks, pancake mixes, pasta, and frozen items.

Because many Kosher for Passover products, such as potato starch, happen to also be gluten free, they are therefore desirable for the increasing number of individuals adhering to gluten-free diets. The Rosenfelds sought a way to encourage people to share such gluten-free items with those who seek them, since a large portion of people discard their Passover supplies right after the holiday.

The Rosenfelds froze many of the Butterflake cakes to prolong their freshness. “The cakes are beautiful, delicious, and people are very excited that they can use them for Shabbos or even as children’s birthday cakes,” said Miriam Rosenfeld.

Most customers of Butterflake know that in the summer of 2009, the bakery became a nut-free facility. That means there are no walnuts, no pecans, no almonds, no peanuts, and no peanut oil used in any product the bakery uses. Now, however, Butterflake continues to evolve by working to support requests by those with other diet sensitivities, such as gluten and egg allergies.

During non-Passover baking, the bakery uses garbanzo bean flour, rice flour, and xantham gum, to make made-to-order gluten-free cakes and other products. They generally request two days’ notice for special orders.

“There are so many new ingredients out there. We are constantly experimenting. We try and satisfy everyone’s needs,” said Richie Heisler, Butterflake’s owner. While the bakery has been open on 448 Cedar Lane since 1950, it has only been certified kosher since Heisler and his brother David bought the bakery in 1998.

“Some of the products we make year round are always gluten-free,” Heisler told JLBC. “Meringues are always gluten-free. We do a flourless chocolate torte all the time. We have a gluten-free cookie made with oats. Ninety percent of what I bake for Passover is from potato starch,” he said. “We also do an egg-free cupcake all the time,” he said.

“Since we are a scratch bakery, 90% of what I use is really raw flour, eggs, sugar, and the like. Products I have to be concerned about are sprinkles, chocolates, etc., so we have sourced a lot of that stuff. In regards to other allergens, we are aware of the concerns that have arisen, and are working to satisfy our customers,” said Heisler.

Heisler said that becoming nut-free and supporting those with allergen concerns helps him meet the needs of his clients, the community’s schools, institutions, and camps: “It’s become an epidemic. I’d like to think I set the tone for the rest of the market. We were the first (local, kosher) nut-free bakery and whoever else who has done it has followed suit. I have people who call me all the time and ask how I do it, and I’m happy to share the info,” Heisler said.

Butterflake Bake Shop’s kashruth supervision is by the Rabbinical Council of Bergen County.

By Elizabeth Kratz

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