Welcome back to my country kitchen! Today we are going back to the pantry. Last week I introduced you to at least one shelf of my pantry, in my post The Heart of the Home – My Gluten-Free Pantry
Today I want to talk about bread products. The most difficult product to find a decent gluten-free substitute.
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I remember first trying to find gluten-free bread products; I had only been gluten-free for about a week, so I was clueless about what was good or wasn’t.
So, there we were, standing in the gluten-free aisle at Walmart, staring at these foreign foods and the price tags of items, which made me wonder if gluten-free food was made of gold.
The pasta was my very first bread product, I reached for the package that simply said “brown rice pasta.” Brown rice is a staple in our home, so how bad could it be? After taking out a second mortgage to pay for the new gluten-free foods, we brought the pasta home and made spaghetti.
We should have known we were in for trouble when we took the pasta out of the package and discovered that each noodle was as thick as sausage and had a strange coating on it. It felt weird.
But I knew nothing about gluten-free pasta, maybe this was normal? It was not normal. First, there is nothing “normal” in the gluten-free world, but this pasta was off the charts not normal.
As the pasta began to boil, we noticed a film of something begin to gather around the edge of the pan, and the water was looking strange. We stared at the pot, as a mad scientist would at his experiment. Because that’s what the pot looked like; a funky, bubbling, foamy mixture.
We then drained the pasta the water had left a ring on the inside of the pan. We then dished up the spaghetti and sat down and ate.
We got a few bites into the meal and we all stopped…all thinking the same thing…revolting · repulsive · unpalatable · unappetizing · unsavory · distasteful · nasty · gross · appalling · displeasing · shocking · horrifying · unspeakable · horrid · ghastly!
It stuck to our teeth and sat like a rock in our stomach. It was the most disgusting thing we have ever eaten. It ruined the perfectly good and loaded sauce.
And the main question, besides what was for dessert to help make up for dinner, was…what is this stuff? Is this what we have to resort to now? Is this my life now? If it was, I’m pretty sure I would either give up pasta for the rest of my life or simply be sick every time I ate. Because there was no way I was going to eat brick pasta.
I don’t know how we discovered our redemption of pasta, but it was a glorious day when I did. We soon discovered that my new life was not limited to a few shelves in the dedicated gluten-free aisle; that there were gluten-free foods spread all over the food aisles, depending on the product you were looking for.
And behold! Real pasta!! There were two brands of pasta that had gluten-free alternatives, the first is Barilla and the other is Ronzoni. Ronzoni is by far, our favorite pasta brand for a gluten-free substitute.
Ronzoni Gluten Free Thin Spaghetti, for example, is the only pasta we use for spaghetti.
And Ronzoni Gluten-Free Rotini Pasta is also our go-to pasta.
While nothing will taste normal, this pasta is a million times better than the brown rice pasta.
Once we figured out pasta, by a huge trial and error, we now had bread to tackle.
Before my life was turned upside down, I ate a moderate number of sandwiches. A good old-fashioned PB&J was our Sunday night after church snack. So, finding another bread source was important…or so I thought.
The first bread I tried, is what I like to call ‘sawdust bread.’ This bread has the appearance of being okay, it wasn’t heavy and looked “normal.” So, I made myself a sandwich of meat and cheese and took a bite.
I tasted cheese, meat, and…sawdust? The bread dissolved into this sawdust texture that was just not pleasant. I was able to get through the loaf, but now it was time to hunt for another bread.
Unlike finding an amazing substitute for pasta, bread was proving to be difficult.
From sawdust bread, I moved on and tried brick bread, very similar to the brown rice pasta. This bread could be classified as a form of self-defense. Because if you throw this bread, it is going to cause damage.
It also can be used as a form of exercise, as your jaw gets more of a workout chewing one bite than I probably do in a month.
One single slice of this brick bead can be used as a toast, and it will be somewhat okay, but don’t make a sandwich; you will be full on the first bite.
Bagels, English muffins, bread, and even rolls, finding ones that taste normal and don’t give you indigestion was difficult.
But, like the pasta, we were able to find a tolerable substitute. Not as amazing as the pasta, but tolerable.
Though in my journey of finding the “perfect” bread, I discovered that, going breadless, wasn’t all that bad. Bread has a lot of sugars and other ingredients that just tend to stick to your hips; but when I did want a sandwich, my favorite and only go-to bread are Schär ‘s Ciabatta Rolls.
They are lighter than actual bread, they don’t sit like a rock in your stomach, and they taste good.
As for the alternatives for breakfast, my favorite product is Canyon Bakehouse English Muffins.
Slice it in half, toast it, spread some cream cheese on it, and it’s quite good. But, my favorite breakfast bread, has to be Katz Donuts.
So, there it is. My journey of finding the best bread products.
What are some of your favorite gluten-free products?