I am constantly on the search for the perfect taste and texture in alternative breads. I have finally found the perfect French Baguette, and some of my favorite alternatives that I will share with you. All of the alternatives below are dairy-free too!
Gluten-free, Dairy-free Bread and Buns
Manini’s has my vote for best alternative bread/buns hand’s down! I also like Canyon Bakehouse and Mariposa.
Canyon Bakehouse in Loveland, Colorado makes the best alternative sliced bread I’ve had the pleasure of eating. Canyon Bakehouse is a gluten-free dedicated bakery! They make sliced bread(white, multi-grain, caraway(tastes like Rye), cinnamon raisin) that is the perfect texture and closest to wheat or white bread so far. Their hamburger buns are so delicious, perfect in texture and just the right amount of sesame seeds. You will think you are eating wheat or white buns…really.
Some other alternative breads are either too wet and dense or too dry and need to be toasted. Canyon Bakehouse bread is perfect the way it is and doesn’t need to be toasted. It does contain a bit of corn and yeast. www.canyonbakehouse.com
Udi’s bread is also good and comes in Multi-grain and white sliced, hot dog buns and hamburger buns. It has a nice texture and not much flavor, yet better than most. It is drier than others, so it is great for making toast, breadcrumbs, croutons and stuffing! It is now at most Trader Joe’s! They are now making frozen baguettes that need to be baked for 5-10 minutes. I use them in a pinch, but have had a lot of problems with them having a giant hole in the center! They do make a good crouton, but the ingredients are high glycemic.
NEW IN 2015: SAN FRANCISCO SOURDOUGH by SRSLY is amazingly similar to regular glutenous sourdough. It is par baked so you need to toast it. After toasting the texture is crisp on the outside and soft on the inside like just baked bread in a restaurant or bakery! YUM! They also make excellent sandwich rolls now that are made from sorghum and are rice free and vegan/egg-free! The bread is vegan and egg-free, Non-GMO, and contains rice, millet and sorghum. SRSLY has no added Yeast!
Gluten-free & Dairy-free Baguette
HURRAY, I’ve found the closest thing to the French Baguette! Naturally, it’s made in Italy(Fatto in Italia)! The company Schar makes various types of gluten-free bread in different European countries and in 2013 opened a factory in New Jersey. Their Baguette is made in Italy and has to be baked for 5 minutes which results in a fresh out of the oven crispy crust and soft/fluffy inside! You will not believe it’s Gluten-free. It does have yeast and cornstarch and soy protein. So it is a treat and great for a submarine sandwich, garlic bread, crostini, bread crumbs, french bread pizza, or top for French Onion soup and more. All the foods we thought we would never enjoy again after going Gluten-free! Bon Appetite!
Mariposa Bakery in San Francisco makes the best GF Bagel which has a similar texture to a NY Bagel! It’s a little chewy!
Wheat -free and Gluten-free Alternatives
Food for Life-Rice Bread and Millet Bread. They are both very dense, but lighten up when toasted. I only eat them toasted. Millet is a very healthy grain. Remember, variety is important-so, you don’t develop an allergy/sensitivity due to overexposure.
Squirlly Sorghum Bread is egg-free and has very limited ingredients. It is a dense sliced bread and I feel needs to be toasted to lighten up the texture. This bread is really great for people with multiple allegeries and sensitivities!
French Meadow Bakery Rye Bread or Sourdough Rye which are also Yeast-free. Very thinly sliced and light enough to eat untoasted. It will get too hard if you over toast it, so set the toaster for the light-medium setting.
Staff of Life in Santa Cruz makes a Pumpernickel Rye that is very dense and sweet from the molasses. Great toasted or just plain-especially with Earth Balance (soy-free version).
Spelt is a non-hybridized wheat. It is one of the five ancient grains. Many people that have a wheat sensitivity can tolerate Spelt, but it is not gluten-free.
Rudi’s Spelt Bread, Spelt Hamburger Buns, Spelt Hot Dog Buns and Spelt English Muffins-you won’t be able to tell that these are alternative since they have a soft, spongy texture like the traditional versions.
SPROUTED BREAD IS A NO NO, IT IS STILL GLUTEN AND WHEAT! Breads made from Kamut, Spelt, Rye or Barley are both wheat and gluten.
Still Riding Pizza is the best Gluten-free and wheat-free and dairy-free pizza crust. http://www.stillridingpizza.com they will ship it to your home and you put your own toppings on it and bake it yourself. It comes all rolled out in a pizza box! Read the article on this site about Amici’s Pizza(a California chain), which also uses Still Riding pizza crust. This crust is thin, airy and puffy with a lite crispiness when baked long enough. If you under bake it, it will be too soft. I like to use a perforated pizza pan for this crust or a pizza stone.
Bob’s Red MIll Pizza Mix is very good. I actually made a Foccacia with it!
Udi’s Pizza Crust-they come frozen, you add your own toppings and bake. Two personal sized crusts come in a package, which fit into the toaster oven! These are made with rice flour with xanthan gum, but I do indulge once in a while when I have nothing else in the house!
Yes, there are other bread alternatives out there. However, most of them have lots of starch and rice flour-which will pack on the pounds and don’t have much nutritional value. Many of the gluten-free alternatives contain xanthan gum or guar gum which are bacteria, and too much is not a good thing. So, we can find alternatives, but are they healthy?
Bread in general is not so easy on the digestive tract; so I save it for times when I must succumb to my cravings for it. When I eat bread I notice that I get bloated and constipated, even when it is gluten-free. Next time you eat bread or cut it out of your diet for a while…notice how you feel. Is it worth it? I really love the Irish Soda Bread and Cornbread in my cookbook, and hope you will too. Many people with a gluten sensitivity, which is most people, can have a gluteo-morphic effect which is an opioid(heroine, morphine and codeine are all opioids) affect! Bread is like a drug for some people! If you crave it so badly you feel you must have it and then feel a lot of pleasure after eating it, you may be experiencing a glutei-morphic affect! These are the people who really need to avoid bread. boo hop, I’m sorry, but it’s worth your health and well-being. See a Naturopathic doctor to treat your gut to help heal this. http://www.naturopathic.org
I have two recipes in my cookbook, No Wheat No Dairy No Problem for great alternatives, Irish Soda Bread(pg.16) The Spelt Bread(pg.18) is a wheat/gluten which was included before I knew I needed to avoid it! Great for people who just refuse to give up wheat b/c it is a non-hybridized wheat and an ancient grain.
The Irish Soda Bread does not have to proof, so it is very fast and delicious, and has a scone like texture. I love the Irish Soda bread made with dried fruit for breakfast with a side of my Lemon Curd(pg.225). There is a cornbread recipe too( pg.14) use blue corn b/c it is NON- GMO.
I hope you enjoy these alternatives as much as I do. Let us all know how you like them. If you know of an alternative bread that does not contain rice flour, xanthan gum and lots of starch, please comment on this post and share it with all of us. Go bake some delicious bread and or go on your own search for a healthy alternative at your local health food store. All of the brands above are found in health food stores-please support your local independent stores/owners so we can keep getting good, healthy food and supplements while supporting local families.
MANY STORES KEEP GLUTEN-FREE BREAD IN THE FREEZERS! So, look there.
Be Well, Chef Lauren