12 years ago I cut gluten out of my diet. I had just started an Erasmus semester in Sweden, which made the transition much easier. The Swedes are just a bit more clued up when it comes to gluten and supermarkets stocked their shelves with various gluten-free goodies. But bread – oh, my beloved bread -. bread was not great: A decade ago, you could easily defend yourself with a loaf of gluten-free bread, they were so dense and heavy. Its flavour took some getting used to and I’d often drown it in a topping of choice. For a German lass, a part of my soul died with my giving up of gluten containing bread.
Fast forward 12 years and we live in a world where health professionals, hospitality and the general public are much more knowledgeable when it comes to coeliac disease, gluten intolerance and gluten sensitivity. A surge in demand for gluten-free products (not all for medical reasons) has meant that a greater variety of products at a more affordable price are available even in smaller supermarkets. I still miss gluten-containing German bread and bread products, like doughy pretzels, but hey! I really can’t complain. Here are my top 5 gluten-free bread and bread products of all time.
1. Beyond Bread Yeast Free Sourdough Loaf
Beyond Bread is a London-based bakery dedicated to all-matters gluten-free. Their cafes and shops are stocked with all types of gluten-free baked goods (although not all are low FODMAP). On a recent trip to central London, I popped by Selfridges (my dad loves the Oysters there!) and stumbled across their stall in the food hall. Although I had just baked my own gluten-free bread, I couldn’t help but get myself one of their yeast free sourdough loaves… it just looked so darn appetising. And it paid off!
Even days after the purchase, the bread is still fresh, crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle. I forgot that I had a chunk left and after a WHOLE week, it was still a delight to eat with its subtle nutty flavours and lovely mouth feel.
Butterbrot* taste test:
Oh yea! Just cut a chunk off and smear that salted butter on it. It’s divine.
Price point: £3.50
2. Genius Triple Seeded Bread
This pre-sliced loaf is my go-to for weekday AND weekend bread indulgence. Once toasted, it holds its shape and goes with anything from poached egg at brunch or as sandwich bread for a picnic in the park. I always a loaf of it in the freezer and take out as many slides as needed for the meal for toasting. Gluten-free bread tends to go off quicker than gluten-containing bread, so this helps to keep unnecessary food waste down and means that I always have gluten-free bread at the ready when I want/need to stuff my face with carbs.
Butterbrot taste test:
Nah, especially if untoasted. It’s quite good as sandwich material though.
Price point: £2-2.90
3. BFree Oaty Loaf
This malty fellow fell into my hands when browsing Waitrose’s gluten-free section for bargains. I freeze my store-bought breads straight away anyway and take out as many slices as needed for the meal for toasting, so a heavily reduced bread because of a nearing expiration date doesn’t scare me. The BFree Oaty Loaf boasts the claim that two slices equal 1 bowl of porridge… I’m not sure why. To me, comparing bread and porridge is like comparing apples and oranges, but hey! If it floats their marketing boat.
The slices are rather small (two-finger width) and need toasting for
Butterbrot taste test:
Freshly toasted, it’s pretty yummy with a bit of butter and a chunk of cheese. It’s rather malty, so after a couple of slices I’ve had enough.
Price point: £3.99
4. Schär’s Brown Ciabatta Rolls
While I don’t care for the Schär loafs, the gluten-free bread rolls are superb and almost taste like gluten-containing rolls. If seeded or unseeded, the brown ciabatta rolls make for a great companion at BBQs or – more appropriate for the advancing autumn – soup. They hold their shape and develop a softish crust in the oven or toaster.
I prefer the ciabatta rolls with toppings or as an accompaniment to soups or a BBQ.
Price point: £2.00
5. Fria Multiseed Mini Baguette
Fria is a Swedish brand stocked in the UK by Waitrose/Ocado. Its loaves are too malty for my palette but the mini baguettes… *swoon* I could easily devour the whole bag in one sitting.
Straight out of the freezer, the bread rolls take a few minutes in the oven before you can tuck into their crunchy crust and soft doughy centre. The seeds in- and outside the bread roll give it a great texture and a nutty bite.
Absolutely. Slice them open and add a bit of butter and they are a fantastic accompaniment to soups and salads or a cheeseboard with a good red.
Price point: £2.00
*Butterbrot is German for buttered bread. It’s a staple food in Germany and is thoroughly ingrained in our culture. The Butterbrot test here is the bread’s suitability to be eaten just with butter and not drowned in toppings to disguise its flavour.