Gluten Free School Lunch Challenge – Gluten Free Bread

At one time, gluten free bread was only edible toasted and then loaded down with things that might kill the taste. It was dry and fell apart easily. Things have really changed, and in the past few years some amazing breads have come out on the market. You can eat them untoasted (a miracle), they’re fairly moist and soft. They’re more like homemade or bakery bread than the mushy white bread in a bag.
I’ve only tested a few of the many available breads in this post and I’ll be leaving suggestions at the end of this post for more great bread products.

The Breads:

For this article we tested Udi’s White Sandwich Bread, Genius by Glutino White Sandwich Bread, Schar Classic White Bread and the Whole Foods store brand gluten free bread.

The Panel:

This week’s Know Gluten Kids Test Panel was much smaller. A ten year old and a three year old performed our durability test, and a gluten-free 16 year old was our taste tester.

The Tests:

We ran the bread through two strenuous durability tests, and a taste/texture test.
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Durability:

 The Ten Year Old in a Hurry Test

There are occasionally times when a kid needs to make his own sandwich in a hurry. We tested the bread to see if it would hold up to a ten year old boy.
Our tester wasn’t late for school, but he was late for an appointment to play a video game. He made Nutella sandwiches just as fast as any ten year old boy late for any bus could make them.

The Results:

Three of the breads held up remarkably well. The Whole Foods brand cracked slightly in the middle. I was worried about the Glutino because it was so soft and airy, but despite a bit of the bread skimming off the top in one final, pretty violent, knife pass the Glutino stayed intact.
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The Three Year “I’ll Do It Myself” Test

Three year olds are notorious for wanting to do things themselves. Often this means making their own sandwiches.
We tested the bread in the hands of a three year old.

The Results:

The three year old took more time to spread the Nutella, but wasn’t necessarily more gentle. Several passes were required to completely cover each piece of bread. All four breads survived intact.
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The Taste Test

The gluten free teen and I did all the taste testing because we’re the ones that actually have to eat gluten free bread. The results were a tie between Glutino and Udi’s and really came down to personal preference in taste and texture. She prefers the chew of Udi’s, I like the yeastier taste of Glutino. If we could combine the Udi’s chew and the Glutino flavor, I’d be over the roof. Below are our notes on taste and texture. The Nutella helped counter the dryness that you find in most gluten free breads.

The Results:

Udi’s
Dense, moist, chewy
The chew is in the crust. Fantastic.
Glutino
Light, airy, moist, yeasty
The large air pockets allowed for lots of Nutella to sink into the bread.
Schar
Dry, yeasty, maybe good for bread pudding or toast.
Schar was disappointing so I’m very glad that I had tried other Schar products a couple of years ago. Their white rolls and ciabatta rolls are nothing short of amazing. If you see them, buy them, and make sure the manager continues to get them in.
Whole Foods
Dry, crumbly, strong bitter after taste
We won’t be buying this one again. In fact, I’m not really sure what to do with it because no one will eat it.
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Get the Most From Your Gluten Free Bread:

Transportation:

Some gluten free breads are more brittle than others. If you’re packing a sandwich made with gluten free bread, consider buying a plastic container to keep it in.

The Best Texture:

Gluten free breads can be dry. Try making spread based sandwiches (peanut butter and jelly or Nutella) or add butter, mayo or tomatoes to your sandwich to counter the dryness.

Other great breads not included in this test:

We also enjoy Udi’s Soft and Hearty Whole Grain Bread, Kinnikinnick Soft White Bread, Schar Ciabatta Par Baked Rolls. These breads were not included, simply because we couldn’t find them where we bought the supplies for our test.
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12 thoughts on “Gluten Free School Lunch Challenge – Gluten Free Bread

    • Thanks Laurie! Getting the kids involved was actually more work than I thought. I have a great idea for the next post, but I need to get my neighbor to help. I hope she’s up to a messy car…

  1. I am just new to gluten free…I had a friend suggest Canyon Bakehouse in Colorado, it is the best bread I have found! They ship directly to your house.

        • Hey Irene! It’s still not going to be the same as gluten bread. If you’re the only gluten free eater in your house, you might want to keep half a loaf in the freezer, because it can dry out quickly. :)

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