Tu-Lu's Bakery; New York and Dallas
Tully Phillips has achieved astonishing wheat-free baking prowess in the few years since she had to swear off gluten. Phillips had studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Austin and was working at a catering company when she was diagnosed as gluten-intolerant in 2008. After intensive research into baking without wheat, in 2010 she opened Tu-Lu’s Bakery in the East Village. Then her husband got a job in Dallas. Now she oversees two locations: The original in New York and one in Big D. She plans additional bakeries for the end of 2014.
Phillips has a basic formula for every new offering. First she deconstructs a beloved classic made with wheat, like banana bread, analyzing its ideal crumb, moisture content and taste. Then she rebuilds it with wheat-free (sometimes vegan) ingredients. For gluten-free brownies, for example, she looked to pastry genius Alice Medrich. To mimic the silkiness and binding power of all-purpose wheat flour, after many trials she went with a blend of white rice and tapioca flours. Then she tweaked the chocolate and sugar levels, baking time and temperature to make it densely chocolatey but not too fudgy. "What really makes our day," Tully says, "is when a customer exclaims that they can't tell our baked goods are gluten-free."