Whether you’re shopping for or baking gluten-free bread, get ready for your thoughts on and expectations of bread to change. The differences will surprise you, if not annoy you, at first. But with time and practice you’ll discover the breads you like most and will build loyalty to certain brands and recipes, slowly becoming accustomed to the inherent differences between wheat and gluten-free bread.
Difference #1: Shopping.
While options for purchasing traditional wheat-based loaves are abundant and cost efficient, you’ll quickly find that you have fewer gluten-free bread options and they’re considerably more expensive. Shopping for gluten-free bread takes a sense of research, effort, and experimentation. You’ll find that most gluten-free breads are located in the frozen food section. They will be smaller, heavier, and often quite dense. Also, expect your bread budget to increase, particularly if you continue to eat as much bread on a gluten-free diet as you did before it.
Difference #2: Baking.
There are two kinds of gluten-free breads: quick breads (breads made from batter that is leavened with baking soda or powder instead of yeast) and yeast breads, both of which resemble cake batters and are baked in loaf pans with walls. With gluten-free breads, say good-bye to kneading. You can’t knead a gluten-free batter, but you will mix it like you would a cake.
Difference #3: Taste and Texture.
Generally speaking, you will find that most gluten-free breads taste and feel different than wheat flour-based breads. Some gluten-free breads will be dry and crumbly, while others will surprise and delight you with a moist and spongy quality. Experiment with different types, recipes, and brands to find a gluten-free bread that you like.
Reality Check: Like shopping for cosmetics, which you often purchase, get home, and hate, shopping for bread options will probably yield similar unusable results. Explore and experiment with a patient attitude.
Key Expectation: Typically, you can’t leave gluten-free bread out on the counter for days like you can traditional bread. Most gluten-free bread is usually best kept frozen and eaten by the slice as you need. Plus, it doesn’t have the preservatives that shelf breads have. And say hello to the toaster! You’ll be toasting many a slice to enhance texture as well as flavor.