Bread….are you still looking for it?
Let’s face it, living a gluten-free lifestyle often means that bread is often less than satisfying. So often, finding a good bread to make a sandwich with is the focus of a seemly never ending search. I have talked to many people that feel like the search is hopeless. A few years ago, I would have agreed.
Thankfully, that is not the case any longer. There are so many tasty options out there, from recipes to make your own to amazingly “wheat like” bread that can be purchased in most grocery outlets. Many “regular” grocery stores are now offering more and more gluten-free items. Bread is finally making it’s way to main stream grocery store shelves. This is amazing news, don’t you think?
If you are looking to purchase bread at your local grocery or specialty retailer, there are many to choose from. Several have been reviewed on Gling, including, Schar, Rudi’s and Udi’s. There are several other brands on the market that boast amazing “wheat bread” texture and flavor that your local specialty food store clerk can surely recommend.
Bread mixes are another option out there to the gluten-free cook. Most specialty stores have several that come together quickly in a bread machine, or can be mixed up and baked in your home oven. Either way, they are a time saver if home baked bread is what you are looking for.
The “from scratch” cook like me has many more options at their disposal. Every gluten-free cookbook on the market has at least one bread recipe, Gling has even more. It’s hard for the “new” gluten-free baker to know a good one from a bad one. Trust me, I tried many different recipes before I found the ones that my family loved. What I ended up doing is playing with a few recipes that sounded good, but either contained ingredients I didn’t have available or called for flours we couldn’t have (such as nut flours). Some of the recipes were heavy on the starch and not enough of the higher protein flours I like to try to sneak in everywhere I can.
So, what did we find worked the best? Our all time favorite packable sandwich bread is flat bread, it is amazingly tasty and very easy to make. If you have a good stand mixer, you can make this in a pinch. It stores well and contains some of our favorite flours. I also like to add a couple of tablespoons of flax meal to the mix, or sometimes some sunflower seeds for added texture. Oh, and this also makes a great pizza crust. Just add some Italian seasoning and par bake it just a tad, top with your favorite pizza toppings and bake as you would a normal pizza. So tasty!
Another favorite is potato bread, while it is not rich in whole grains as I like, it is a very delicious bread. It comes together quickly in a bread machine, one of those fix it and walk away type recipes. There are two recipes on Gling for a bread machine potato bread. One with a grated raw potato and one with instant mashed potato flakes as a replacement for the grated raw potato. Personally, I think they are both great breads, but when I have time I like to make the raw potato version. There is just something about using a fresh potato, to me it just seems better somehow.
Buttermilk bread holds a close second to the potato bread in my mind. It’s flavorful, moist and makes a great sandwich too. This is also a bread machine recipe. If you don’t own a bread machine, I’d highly recommend buying one. The one that I own doesn’t even have a dedicated gluten-free cycle feature on it, but it still puts out a great loaf of bread. The money you’ll save on making your own bread will soon pay for the cost of buying this tool for your gluten-free kitchen.
There are many bread machine recipes on Gling. All are wonderful for either toast, sandwiches or even just slicing and eating. We also love to use just about any bread for French toast as well.
Speaking of French toast, our all time favorite gluten-free bread to use in making this tasty breakfast treat is cinnamon raisin. We don’t always use raisins in it though, the favorite of the house is dried cranberry. I’ll often add a bit of grated orange or lemon zest to the bread to add a bit more flavor.
The bread that I’ve found to have the best “wheat like” flavor has got to be sesame bean sandwich bread, also a bread machine recipe. Super tasty, amazingly moist and packs well in a lunch box. All winning characteristics in a good bread, don’t you agree? I love the fact that this recipe has so much bean flour in it. While that may be a slight turn off to some, trust me, the flavor is amazing. I don’t get a “bean” flavor from it at all, the flavors blend together to produce a very tasty bread.
The last bread I’ll share with you is one that I have not personally tried, but I have it on very good authority that the white bread for bread machines is an amazingly tasty bread. A true winner! It’s on my list of breads to try soon, but I have no worries about how it will turn out. I’m sure it will become another of our favorite breads.
Don’t let baking gluten-free breads be an intimidating process. It is not as difficult as you may think. The key is balance in your flour choices, having enough protein rich flour to give it a nutritional boost and texture, but also have enough starch to give it the tooth feel you are looking for. Tapioca starch/flour, while not my favorite flavored flour, is amazingly important in a good bread recipe. I went a long time trying to avoid this amazing gift to gluten-free baking, I’ve learned to appreciate it in the years I’ve spent trying to perfect gluten-free bread baking.
Also, if you don’t have a bread machine, that shouldn’t stop you either. A good strong mixer is very important in good gluten-free baking. The end result will be so much more desirable if you are able to use one. Just mix up the bread machine recipes as you would for any good bread recipe, making sure ingredients are mixed well. Shape your bread with moist fingers in a bread pan or with a greased spatula. This process is just a lot easier in a bread machine. I will often open up my bread machine lid and smooth out the loaf once it’s been mixed for the last time before baking. Makes for a prettier loaf of bread.
Packing a lunch does not have to be impossible anymore. The gluten-free world has come a long way in recent years, if you’ve avoided gluten-free breads because of past bites of sawdust or moist quick bread texture, try it again. There is a whole world of gluten-free breads waiting for you! Doesn’t a sandwich sound amazingly good right about now?