Gluten Free Bread

***To bake or to buy, that is the question***

One very fortunate thing about the current popularity of the gluten free diet is that it’s motivated food companies to provide more choice and to improve their products.  Gluten free bread is definitely a beneficiary.  Just a couple of years ago gluten free bread was dry and crumbly with a mouth feel like beach sand.  Today, there are quite a few choices out there and you may just have some fun trying them out to see what you like. 

From the Baker

Local Pride and Simplicity

Gluten free bakeries are popping up all over the place.  I highly recommend spending some time to see what’s in your area and trying them out.  These are often experienced bakers who have turned their expertise to developing a quality product for their gluten free customers.  They take pride in their work and the results show.  Besides, isn’t it nice to support a local business rather than a big company?

From the Grocer

Your grocer will have the national brands like Glutino and Udi’s.  For a sandwich bread, Glutino has a nice multi grain that makes great toast, and a cheese bread with a nice cheesy snap.  Udi’s has the hamburger and hotdog buns, so when you find yourself craving that summer burger ... Like all processed food though, read the labels.  Try to minimize food additives and sugar in your diet.

Organic

Organic is making it’s way into the gluten free bread market as well.  When you think about it, it’s a natural fit.  Whether by necessity or choice, people are switching to gluten free to be healthier, so choosing bread made with quality organic ingredients makes sense.  I like Silver Hills.  It's from B.C. in Western Canada and is available at Costco.  Organic and whole grain, it's a good healthy bread and tastes great toasted with marmalade or a bit of peanut butter.

The Economics

The big downside of gluten free bread is the price.  It’s often twice as expensive as wheat bread.  This is partly because it’s made in much smaller batches so it doesn’t benefit from the huge manufacturing infrastructure that’s been built for conventional products.  My advice, spend a little more for a quality product and eat less of it.  Focus your diet on fresh fruits and vegetables with a little meat and bread, and you’ll have a good, healthy, economical gluten free diet.

From Your Kitchen

Making your own gluten free bread is fun, and once you get the hang of it, it’s not that difficult.  It’s far less expensive than a readymade product and you get to have that wonderful fresh baked bread aroma fill your house.  Mmmmm

Alot of people are intimidated by the idea of making their own gluten free bread because it takes a combination of flours rather than a single flour like wheat bread.  The trick is to make up your flour blends in advance and store them in the freezer.  From there, making gluten free bread is actually easier than wheat bread because there is only one rising cycle.  Go here for the seven simple steps...

Mixes

There are a number of mixes available in grocery and specialty stores.  I encourage you to try a few and see if there is one you like.  The one I keep on hand is Duinkerken brand.  It's available at Bulk Barn and is Canadian made in P.E.I..  Instructions are simple and the results are good

Bread Alternatives

Do you ever just get bored?  Well, when it comes to the things you can spread your mayonnaise or pile your bacon and tomatoes on there is no reason to be.  Along with the wide variety of gluten free bread you can buy or bake, there are other options too.  How about a tasty gluten free wrap?  Check out some ideas here…

Corn bread is a good substitute for bread.  Sub in for toast in the morning.  Serve on the side like a dinner roll.  It's easy to make.  Check out the recipe here.

How about skip the bread altogether.  It's really just about having a container for the filling isn't it?  How about a lettuce burger, or a sandwich with a slice of cheese on each side.  Use your imagination and you'll come up with all kinds of alternatives. 

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