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Food That's Right as Grain

March 11, 2000

Looking for a place to cheat on your high-protein diet? Great Harvest Bread Co. in Laguna Niguel is a carbohydrate-craver's paradise. Scones, oatmeal cookies, cinnamon rolls and bread are made fresh daily.

Every morning at about 5 a.m., owners Ross and Julia Dapper grind flour for the day's baking in a stone mill displayed in the front window. They use 100% organic, high-protein Montana red spring wheat that is rich in vitamin E. Stone grinding preserves the vitamins and minerals destroyed by other grinding methods. Most of the breads are made without added oils, fats or dairy products. Honey is used as a sweetener instead of refined sugar, and they don't use preservatives.

The scones ($1.50), cookies ($1) and cinnamon rolls ($1.50) emerge from the oven when the bakery opens at 7 a.m. The bread is ready between 10 and noon. The selection varies daily, but always includes honey whole wheat, white and at least four other choices.

My favorite, cinnamon raisin, is available on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They also make jalapeno cheddar, nine grain, sunflower, cranberry spice, sourdough, cinnamon swirl, Dakota (whole wheat with millet and toasted pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds), jalapeno-cheese sourdough, challah, spinach feta, Woodstock (whole wheat with toasted pine nuts, sesame seeds and poppy seeds), apple crumble (muffin-like) and cheddar garlic.

Irish soda bread (raisins and caraway in a light wheat dough, shaped into a four-leaf clover) and Irish baked potato (made with potato flour and roasted garlic) are available this month to honor St. Patrick. At Easter, they sell bunny-shaped loaves and at Christmas they offer stollen and pumpkin spice breads.

The selection is a bit overwhelming, but the huge slices of free samples fresh from the oven will help you narrow your choice. Gift baskets are available year-round, but must be ordered a day in advance.

Cinnamon raisin bread ($3.90 per loaf, 100 calories, 0 grams of fat per slice) at Great Harvest Bread Co., 27261-G La Paz Road, Laguna Niguel, (949) 360-9190. Hours: Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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