Buying Gluten-Free Bread: 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.
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. Buying gluten-free bread form experienced bakers who have turned their expertise to developing a quality product for their gluten-free customers can be very satisfying. You get a great product as these folks take pride in their work and the results show. As a bonus you get to support a local business rather than a big company. Better for the planet, better for the local economy and better for you.
Buying gluten-free bread from your
grocer is more about convenience than quality or taste. That's not much different really than buying wheat bread in the grocery store versus going to a reputable baker. Take a look at the label on a loaf of Wonderbread and you'll have no doubt that the ingredients are about making the machinery run smoothly and speeding up the process as opposed to ensuring optimal health and well being of the consumer.
Your grocer will have the national brands like Glutino and Udi’s. For a sandwich bread, Glutino has a decent multi grain that makes good toast, and a cheese bread with a nice cheesy snap. Udi’s has hamburger and hotdog buns, so when you find yourself craving that summer burger. Schar is a multi-national brand that I've found world wide and it's reliably good. My personal favorite in Canada is President's Choice. The bread is soft, holds up well even un-toasted and their hamburger buns are actually the size of a hamburger.
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.
When buying gluten-free bread and deciding what's best, I recommend trying several for yourself. Everyone is different and your taste is different than mine. I definitely recommend a gluten-free baker over the supermarket fare for quality and taste. In my area Ste. Anne's Gluten-Free Bakery in Grafton, Ontario makes an amazing product. Of course the grocery story is convenient so when buying there, I've already mentioned President's Choice. My second choice would be Schaar.
Glutino 369 g loaf for $6.00 vs Wonderbread 675 g loaf for $3.49
The big downside of gluten free bread is the price. It’s often twice as expensive as wheat bread or more. This is partly because it’s made in much smaller batches so it doesn’t benefit from the huge manufacturing and distribution infrastructure that’s been built for conventional products. My advice for buying gluten-free bread is to 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.