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Eugene Edelmann (1923-2004)

Responsible for introducing the bagel to Edmonton was baker Eugene Edelmann, who opened the popular Bon Ton Bakery in 1956. It was behind those glass display cases that Edelmann also popularized the petit four, the tiny iced pastry sweet that appeared on party trays throughout the city and was served to Queen Elizabeth II during the 1978 Commonwealth Games.

In 1988 Edelmann was diagnosed with high blood pressure and given the choice of controlling his illness medically or by diet. He chose the latter, and after heart bypass surgery, set about developing a multigrain bread that was high in Omega-3 oils.

The goal was to create a loaf that was not only healthy but tasty. From the beginning, Edelmann established that it would be low in salt and sugar and high in fibre. His difficulty was in introducing the Omega-3 component, associated with heart health. Fish oils were the traditional dietary source for Omega-3—hardly an option for bread—and so, Edelmann chose grain sources that had the highest content.

He looked on the project as a scientific experiment, incorporating grains, flours and meals in varying quantities, baking and tasting all the while. The Omega-3 bread was standing up fine, but its bitter taste directed Edelmann to remove some of the flax.

The flavour hit was sheer simplicity itself: fresh lemon peel, which carried with it a hint of sweetness, as well as an aroma for the bread that Edelmann said played to his senses as a baker.

After working on the prototype loaf for several months, he introduced it to the Edmonton market in 1989.

Edelmann retired in 1996, and sold his bakery. The current owners, Hilton and Michelle Dinner, continue to offer health in a loaf. In October 2004, the Dinners announced a product line of 10 wholegrain trans-fat-free breads, all tested by the University of Alberta—and among them, was an Omega-3 bread.

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