Saturday, December 3, 2011

Food Love: Gluten Free Breads

I don't typically buy prepackaged gluten free food or mixes for a couple of reasons:
1) It usually tastes like crap. Yes, manufacturer's have come a long way in the way gluten free food tastes, but a lot of the time it's still not great. It's always a little too dry or too off. I know that I can always make something better myself, so I don't even want to try it.
2) It's expensive. Like way way way expensive. A box of cookies that has 10 cookies? $6. And if you refer back to #1, they typically taste like crap. A mix for one loaf of bread? $5. And then I have to have the ingredients like oil, eggs, etc, on top of that. Sorry, but I'm too cheap for that!

So given those two reasons above, I usually steer clear of gluten free foods. A few weeks ago, I was given some prepackaged stuff from my grandma and another was on sale, and I'm in love with one of them and kind of like the other.
The first one I tried was Bob's Red Mill GF Cinnamon Raisin Bread Mix. If I bought it at my local grocery it's about $5.50, though it's frequently on sale at 2/$7, which is still quite pricey because the mix only makes one loaf.
What I liked about it: 

  • It's a mix, so it's obviously simple to do. Throw everything in a mixer a ta-da, you're done! 
  • The loaf wasn't too crumbly. It sticks together pretty well so it doesn't fall apart when you bring it to your mouth.
  • It tasted great. There was just the right amount of raisins and cinnamon.
  • The loaf was a real sized loaf. It rose quite a bit and didn't sink like some GF bread does.

What I didn't like:

  • You have to let it rise for an hour in addition to cooking it for an hour, and I am way to impatient for that! 
  • The crust was hard. Like super hard. I couldn't eat the end pieces and I cut off the crust on most pieces I ate.
  • I had to load it up with butter because it was a little too dry. I don't mind butter, but when I ran out of butter a couple of pieces were wasted because I didn't want to eat it plain.

Final Opinion:

  • Overall, it wasn't bad, but I don't know if I'd ever buy it again, even on sale. I might buy it one more time and put it in muffin rings instead of making a loaf to see how they turn out. 

The second one I tried was Eating Gluten Free's GF Bread/Pizza Mix.
I have to say, I AM IN LOVE.  The EGF cookbook was the GF cookbook I ever bought and it's still one of my favorites. (Pst, all of the recipes in the book are also on their website for free!) One of the owners, Betsy, is my second cousin (or something?) so my grandma told me about her and her upcoming company at the time. I never bought any of the mixes, though, I just followed their online bread recipe (which I think is the exact same as the mix, you just have to mix the flours yourself). When my grandma was getting ready to leave for Peru, she asked me if I wanted all the mixes she had and I of course said YES.

What I like:

  • Just like the cinnamon bread, it's a mix, so it's simple!
  • It smells amazing, just like gluten filled bread. I know it's the yeast, but it reminds me of making regular bread as a kid. 
  • After the bread is mixed, the dough looks so yummy and creamy. I know this has nothing to do with the quality of the bread, but it looks so pretty!
  • It isn't crumbly at all. It's SO light and fluffy.
  • Vince loves it, even though he is not gluten free. When we make sandwiches, he eats it and devours it. The downside of that is that I have to make bread more often!
  • I can cook it in muffin rings so it's only a 25 minute rise time and 20 minute cook time. Fresh bread in 45 minutes!
  • It freezes WONDERFULLY. If you're gluten free, you know that you need to freeze bread so it stays good. With other breads I've eaten, it sometimes gets a little 'tough' after it's been in the freezer but with this, after a minute in the microwave it tastes fresh out of the oven.
  • It's $10 a bag, which seems like a lot, but I get SO much bread out of a bag. I've only used about half a bag (maybe a little more) and I've made bread three times, which is about 42 bread rounds. (As you can see in the pictures, I use english muffin rings to make my bread, which are about 4 inch circles.)

What I don't like:

  • Sometimes I wish it were more 'multigrain', but most of the time I don't care. My grandma uses this mix and a lot of the time she'll substitute a small portion of the mix with something else, like oat flour, which gives it a little more nutritional value. 
  • I can't buy it unless I'm in Utah or want to pay quite a bit for shipping. In the past I would chip in with my grandma to buy large quantities of flour (think 50lb bags of corn starch, teff flour, etc) and she would drive up there and get it when she visited family. Now I don't have that option! Now I'll have to keep an ear out for people who are driving to Utah...
Final Opinion:
  • I have tons of flour to make this bread with, so I am excited about that, otherwise I would make a trip up to Utah, I love it that much. When I run out, I will definitely buy more, given the opportunity to. It's SO nice to have everything pre-mixed so that when I'm ready I just have to throw everything into the mixer and know it will taste delicious every time.
Do you have any recommendations for gluten free mixes?


  1. Sheesh, your comment box hasn't been working for like 20 minutes!
    I have used the Bob's Red Mill mix for plain GF bread before. It's not bad but not great and especially for the price. I get coupons once in a while though and can get it for like $1.50-2 so if I get one of those again I might try the cinnamon raisin. =]

  2. I hate it when it gets weird!

    If I had a coupon for it to be that cheap I'd probably get it just for the simplicity of it. Try it in muffin rings/cupcake pans, I bet it'd be super good!

  3. I do have muffin rings now thanks to your recommendation before but I've never tried it in the muffin pans. Not a bad idea!

  4. Hey Steff. Cori Here. One word... Pamela's. The Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix is INCREDIBLE!!! Pricy, but worth it. 

  5. Ya, I use her stuff for cookies/brownies sometimes, I love it! It's so darn expensive though!