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Palo Alto's gluten-free Misfits Bakehouse to close Saturday

Uploaded: Apr 14, 2023
By Kate Bradshaw

Mina Makram, the owner of Misfits Bakehouse, and Fabiola Hernandez hand-shape bagels in the Palo Alto bakery's kitchen on Sept. 1, 2020. (Photo by Magali Gauthier)

One of the Peninsula's few gluten-free bakeries is slated to close this weekend. The bakery's last day will be Saturday, April 15, from 2-6 p.m.

Owner Mina Makram of Misfits Bakehouse has announced that he plans to close the Palo Alto bakery and move operations to Tampa, Florida, to be close to family.

Makram, an Egyptian refugee, graduated from high school at age 16 and worked as an engineer at General Electric before becoming a baker. He first began baking between jobs as a way to pass time but began playing with gluten-free recipes to try to make them taste better – initial recipes he found were dense and grainy, he explains.

As he developed his recipes, he worked to sell his products at the College of San Mateo farmers market and then Berkeley Bowl. As funds wore thin, he sold his road bike and camera to build his baking business. Using social media, a GoFundMe campaign and farmers market successes, he built up a community of supporters and began shipping baked goods outside of the Bay Area.

Mina Makram, the owner of Misfits Bakehouse, pulls cinnamon rolls out of the oven in the Palo Alto bakery's kitchen on Sept. 1, 2020. (Photo by Magali Gauthier)

"We're not some big corporate brand. I want to have that homemade feeling no matter how big we get. I don't want pretty pictures. We're not trying to be fancy. There is nothing fancy about me. I mean, it's in the name," he said in a September 2020 interview.

The bakery's name was inspired by Apple's 1997 "Think Different" ad narrated by Steve Jobs, which said, "Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes. ... The ones who see things differently … the ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do."

"People who are crazy enough to want to change the world are the ones that do. I'm not from the food world. I was actually pretty much rejected by everybody in the food world. I was called stupid. I got kicked out of restaurants. I wanted to make these types of breads tasty and that sounded like a tall order," he said in 2020.

Chana Richey speaks with a customer standing outside Misfits Bakehouse in Palo Alto on Sept. 3, 2020. (Photo by Magali Gauthier)

Makram built his brand initially by working at farmers markets, selling gluten-free bagels and bread. Over time he developed gluten-free filo dough and tortillas – and at one point was working toward baking a gluten-free panettone and croissants. Behind his creations was a proprietary gluten-free flour mix recipe he developed made up of almond flour, coconut flour, psyllium husk, flax seed, tapioca, arrowroot and coconut sugar.

The bakery also gained recognition for its "Ooey Gooey Cookies," made with pumpkin puree and condensed coconut cream.

Many of the bakery's offerings are also grain-free, paleo- and keto-friendly.

Misfits Bakehouse, 2706 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto; 650-690-5073, Instagram: @misfitsbakehouse.
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