Is the Best Gluten Free Bread Homemade or Store Bought?

Gluten-Free Bread.  Woman in bed dreaming of a sandwich.

Do You Dream About Bread?

I do.  With disturbing frequency.  And I'm not dreaming about gluten-free bread!

If you're like me, the dream involves a sandwich.  It’s made from two thick slices of homemade white wheat bread; it doesn’t matter what’s between them, it’s about the bread.  The outer crust is crispy, even a bit tough.  The inner “crumb” is soft, moist, slightly sweet and a little chewy.  The fragrance fills my nose and the airy wheatiness caresses my tongue.  Some people might ask you if you dream in colour but I ask, do you dream in flavour?

Gluten-Free Bread: The Quest

If thou tastest a crust of bread thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens –

Robert Browning

Gluten-Free Bread.  Overhead shot of a loaf of bread with 2 slices on a wooden cutting board.  Small square dish of honey with a spoon to the right.

It’s like the quest for the holy grail; the search for the best gluten-free bread, or if we’re being realistic, the search for even a decent loaf of gluten-free bread.  But why?  For those of us with celiac disease, we can still eat most of the food that planet earth provides for us.  All kinds of fruits and vegetables, whole fresh cuts of meat, eggs, cheese, even wine, the very nectar of the gods.  So why do we obsess over bread?

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Gluten Free Bread Pinterest.Variety of gluten-free breads.text: Gluten-Free Bread, recipes, nutrition and buying tips.  How to eat healthy delicious gluten free bread without going broke.

Gluten Free Bread: To Bake or To Buy

Are you trying to decide if it's best to try to make your own gluten-free bread, or to simply look for a brand that you like and go with that?

There's lots to consider: time, cost, quality of ingredients, your own skill level.

Of course when it comes to keeping things simple and natural, homemade is best, but it's not always practical.  Remember my food philosophy?

NGF parsley leaf logo

Natural is best.
Balance is essential.
Simplicity is the thread that ties it all together.

Here are a few articles that may help you on your quest.  

Buying Gluten-Free Bread:

What's the best tasting gluten-free bread?  Where can you buy gluten-free bread?  Go here to learn about everything from the national supermarket brands to to your local(ish) gluten-free bakery.  And of course we discuss cost.

Frozen gluten-free bread in grocers freezer.

Baking Gluten-Free Bread: 

 If you want to try baking your own gluten-free bread this is your resource.  There are many, many options.  Baking from scratch or from a mix.  Learn the basic recipe and the 7 steps to baking gluten-free bread.  We'll explore yeast breads, quick breads, flatbreads and the huge variety of flours to choose from.  We'll also investigate sourdough.  There is lots of information and misinformation about gluten and sourdough bread so we'll clear that up once and for all.

Baking gluten-free bread.  Overhead shot of whole loaf of bread on a wire cooling rack.

Caputo Gluten Free Flour Review:

Caputo Fioreglut is an Italian specialty flour for bread and pizza.  It's pricey but many say it's the best.  I've done a full review and comparison with other popular flours. 

caputo gluten free flour in bag with focaccia below.

Gluten-Free Quick Breads:  They're called quick breads because, you guessed it.  This covers bread-like items that are leavened with baking powder or baking soda instead of yeast.  Think muffins, scones (biscuits), or cornbread.

coming soon

Is Bread in Our DNA?

I think bread is deep inside our psyche.  It’s part of our DNA and resonates through every human culture.  Bread after all is almost as ancient as agriculture.  Michael Pollan in his book Cooked, a Natural History of Transformation1, tells the story of one of our human ancestors, somewhere in Egypt about six thousand years ago noticing something strange about a bowl of cooked wheat porridge.  Maybe it was left on it’s own a bit too long. 

Gluten-free bread.  Ancient Egyptian painting of two people making bread with a large loaf of bread in the middle.

 Forgotten in the pot near the fire it started to bubble and ferment.  From there it was not too much of a stretch to discover that this bubbly mass could be cooked over the fire perhaps in an ancient crucible and bread was discovered.

Gluten Free Bread: decorative wine chalice with blue grapes and a broken loaf of bread at the base.

Since that fateful fantasy day in ancient Egypt, humans and bread have been inseparable.  We associate bread with society, family, joy and celebration.  “Give us this day our daily bread” we pray and to “break bread” is to share a meal solidifying bonds and healing rifts.  Is it coincidence that bread and wine are so often depicted together, even forming the basis of Christianity?

Is Gluten-Free Bread Healthy?

First we have to ask the question "is bread healthy".  The answer to that depends on what you're trying to do.  If you’re following a gluten-free and keto or low carb diet you’re eliminating or reducing grains, including bread from your diet.

Healthy Gluten-Free Bread.  Teddy bear wearing a surgical mask with an ice pack to the left, a high tech thermometer to the right and a hand holding a stethoscope in front.Original Photo by Kristine Wook on Unsplash (sandwich is mine)

Brett Weinstein and Heather Heying are both evolutionary biologists and co-authors of the book A Hunter-Gatherers Guide to the 21st Century2 . They make the point that "humans no longer eat just to satisfy energetic requirements any more than we have sex just to make babies".  I would add to that by saying that health is about more than just vitamins and minerals.  Our mental and spiritual health is important too and having food we enjoy and can enjoy with others is at the very foundation of that.

So yes, bread, in moderation is healthy, gluten-free bread included.

For more answers to your questions about healthy gluten-free bread go here:

Is Gluten-Free Bread Healthy?

 Here is a deep dive on gluten-free bread nutrition facts. You'll find out what to look for and what to avoid along with a nutritional comparison of gluten-free bread vs wheat bread. 

Healthy gluten-free bread: Overhead shot of life changing bread with a few pieces sliced off.

Naturally Gluten-Free Bread

And Bread Alternatives. 

With everything we've learned about how hard it is to to replace gluten in baked goods, is it even possible to have a naturally gluten-free bread?  If you've read much of my work you'll know that I look at "natural" as being on a continuum.  Balance is the key to, well everything.  To learn more, click the link below.

Naturally Gluten-Free Bread:

Can bread even be part of a naturally gluten-free diet?  Let's explore this together. You may be surprised at all the choices from around the world and right in your own back-yard that are healthy, simple and natural.  One may even change your life :)

Naturally Gluten-Free Bread: Loaf of gluten free oat bread with one buttered slice on a teal napkin.

Gluten-Free Bread Alternatives:

 What if we want to avoid bread?  Maybe you're looking for something that travels better, or has fewer calories or carbs, or you're just looking for a change.    What are the choices?  Go here to find out more

Gluten-Free wraps.  Carrot wrap cut in half and stacked.

Weinstein and Heying go on to observe that:

“if you had a list in front of you of the people you know and the people with whom you’ve broken bread, you’d find that the broken bread with list is special." 

I find that to be profoundly true! For those of us with celiac, the importance of "breaking bread" meaning to enjoy a meal together is especially important.  We realize soon after diagnosis that almost every occasion or milestone of importance involves food. For us this means extra planning, extra precautions and it often means bringing our own food.  We then find that, even if we are eating with our family and friends, the fact that we are not eating the same food as they are makes us feel strangely left out even while being included in the group.  We don't eat just to satisfy caloric requirement, food is so much more.

Gluten-Free Meals: Overhead shot of table set with Mexican food.  Hands reaching and pouring wine.

All sorrows are less with bread

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (author of Don Quixote)

Cleaning Up the Crumbs

6 Delicious Gluten-Free Breadcrumb Alternatives and How to Use Them

The best gluten free breadcrumbs are not breadcrumbs at all. These creative and delicious gluten free breadcrumb alternatives add flavor and crunch to your favorite recipes.

gluten free breadcrumb alternatives labeled

Have I helped at all to solve the mystery around gluten-free bread?  Why the moment we're told we can't have wheat, it's a thousand loaves of bread that flash through our minds and haunt our dreams?  Do you think bread is really in our DNA? Or maybe it’s just our childish nature, we want what we can’t have.

Winking emoji.

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1. Pollan, M. (2014). Cooked: A natural history of transformation. Penguin Books.

2. Heying, H. E., & Weinstein, B. (2021). A hunter-gatherer's guide to the 21st century: Evolution and the challenges of Modern Life. Portfolio.