From Pink Slip to Free Bread

Karen Freer turned getting fired into her own Williamsburg-based gluten-free bread business

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Free Bread is based in Brooklyn and the owner is diagnosed with celiac.
Free Bread is a celiac's dream. (Photo by:

Updated Jul 11, 2017 @ 11:25 am

The silver lining for Karen Freer after being fired from her administrative job last year? More baking time.

After being diagnosed with Celiac disease, Freer had been baking gluten-free bread for about a year, but had yet to find a recipe for what she craved: “I daydreamed about the pre-celiac-diagnosis bread in those bins at the supermarket — those perfect sides for soup or a salad.”

Her experiments led her to form Free Bread, a company that sells what she likes to call rolls, but some of her friends refer to as biscuits or muffins. Crunchy and craggy on the outside and soft and scrumptious within, Freer’s bread is the stuff Celiac dreams are made of.

The rolls, which freeze and toast beautifully, come in four varieties:

  • The Moxy, featuring whole millet, gluten-free oat, ground and whole flax, molasses and agave nectar;
  • The Creamer, a mild roll made from home-grown sourdough culture, which Freer likes to enjoy in lieu of bagels–sliced, with a big dollop of cream cheese;
  • The molasses-sweetened Cranny Pep, dotted with cranberry, spiced pepita and sunflower seeds; and
  • Jalaa, the soft-topped of the bunch, with sharp cheddar, buttermilk and sizable chunks of jalapeño.

Each roll is packed with protein, and, in the case of the Moxy and Cranny Pep, sweetened with agave nectar and molasses.

After a taste, I was sure Freer had professional training. But no: “I am definitely not a professional baker—not even a trained cook,” she swears. “Just a tenacious, bread-starved gal with nothing better to do!”

A Williamsburg resident, Freer bakes in a Long Island City kitchen. You can purchase Free Bread at these Williamsburg shops and cafés, or online. Next item on the menu? Croutons, sandwich bread and a new website (coming April 1). If her rolls are any indication, pretty soon Celiacs won’t be the only ones craving Free Bread.