If you are visiting the Bay Area or fortunate enough to live within easy driving distance of the Marin Civic Center Farmers Market, pop in on a Sunday to visit The Mochi Mill at its booth (tucked away in the back row between Roti Pakistani and Wild West Ferments) to savor an array of artisanal and comfort baked goods. Owners Jennifer and Robert Schilling encourage visitors to arrive hungry and sample everything. You will be previewing a substantially different new gluten-free product that may become widely available. (Check The Mochi Mill website for latest locations and hours.)
The Schillings are engineering a quiet revolution in gluten-free baked goods, having developed a unique mochi flour they mill from organic brown rice. They use an exclusive process they created when they sought ways to make healthy and fun gluten-free pancakes and treats for their young daughter.
The Mochi Mill flours produce dough with similar elasticity and texture to wheat, allowing bakers to forgo xanthan and guar gums, while creating whole grain products with impressive structure and an enticing natural sweetness and nuanced flavor. The baked goods are also free of corn, potato starch, sorghum flour and soy.
What’s on the Menu
When the farmers market opens, the Mochi Mill table is laden with sweet and savory gluten-free baked goods, made in their dedicated commercial kitchen. In response to customer requests, they offer vegan options as well as products with little or no cane sugar. Their newest creation – a vegan Sourdough Mochi Bread that is more moist, chewy and dense than typical sourdough – tends to sell out within a couple of hours. And no wonder, as it comes in additional varieties such as Apple/Raisin/Walnut, Olive/Roasted Garlic, and Fig/Orange/Pistachio. Hungry yet?
The Mochi Mill’s baked goods are made from ingredients that are all certified gluten-free, with an emphasis on organic and non-GMO. Besides the sourdough bread, customer favorites include Lemon Ricotta Cake, Almond Custard Cake, Fruit & Nut Crisps (similar to the popular Raincoast Crisps), which also come in Chocolate Cherry and Onion “Wry.” They also regularly feature Flatbread Pizza Crusts, Butter-Rum Pear Apple Galette, Apple Pie, Blueberry Scuffins (scone-shaped muffins), their signature Mochi pancakes, Biscotti, “Fig No-Glutens,” Fudge Brownies and more.
Jennifer, who trained as an opera singer in college and has run her own catering company, and Robert, a photographer with a background in filmmaking, almost never miss a Sunday at the Marin Civic Center Farmers Market.
The couple enjoys the camaraderie of fellow vendors and are buoyed by the exuberant and sometimes teary-eyed feedback from customers, who revel in flavors, textures and treats they had missed on a gluten-free diet.
Availability and Exciting Plans for the Future
Currently, the only way to experience the delicious wonders of the Mochi Mill is to visit them at a farmers market. They recently expanded to the Petaluma East-side Farmers Market on Tuesdays.
Mochi Mill Flour is not available for retail sale. However, that may change as the Mochi Mill considers partnerships. Jennifer and Robert would love to help commercial bakeries and manufacturers “clean” their labels, and can’t wait to get Mochi Mill Flour into the hands of the home cook. The company accepted an invitation to become a member of MISTA, a San Francisco-based “optimizer” that helps companies scale up, secure distribution, find partners and acquire funding.
If you’ve tried the Mochi Mill’s products or would like to see them become more widely available, please leave a comment below or contact the company at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comments from customers:
“OMG! Sorcery!” – Andrew L., San Rafael
“The Mochi Mill is our favorite stop at the Marin Farmer’s Market. The delicious sweets & treats are awesome. Fresh & healthy, sweet or savory – The Mochi Mill is the best!” – Jim S. & Jim Z., Marin County
“What a unique bakery – I buy from here week after week.” – John B., Marin County
“Oh my God, that is sooo good. My Grandma has competition!” – Carla D., Novato
“Incredibly delicious! After years of being gluten free, one eventually gives up the hope of experiencing the sticky gorgeousness of gluten, but then we tasted ‘The Mochi Mill’ products and life was never the same! Utterly indulgent, perfectly scrumptious comfort.” – Forbes, Marin County
“I’m a fan! I especially love the fruit & nut crisps, which keep really well in a ball jar or are amazing with Brie or blue cheese. Everything they make is wonderful, and gratefully, gluten free, so no wondering what I can and can’t eat, and no compromise in quality. I love these people and their products.” – Suzanne B., Marin County
“I’m impressed by the Mochi Mill’s broad array of unique products and apparently limitless creativity. The Fruit and Nut Crisps are the best I’ve ever tasted and I can’t seem to live without them.” – Krystin R., Marin County