If you're one of the millions of people who are sensitive to gluten, finding a good cookie is a piece of cake. Same with crackers-their flat and crunchy nature doesn't require gluten. Even pasta can pass (especially with a rich sauce to cover up texture issues).
But for true bread lovers, a gluten-free diet can be a prison. Until very recently, most commercial gluten-free selections were just plain crumbly and dry, because gluten-the sticky, flexible protein in wheat-is what holds the bits of flour together and makes bread tender and even in texture. So without gluten, sandwiches crumbled, dinner rolls were hard, muffins cracked, and pizza was a fond-but-distant memory.
But not any more. Thanks to the popularity of gluten-free diets, dozens of great gluten-free loaves, flat breads, sweet breads, and buns are now claiming their place on bakery shelves. If you're a bread head, check out some of these new offerings-and be grateful for bread again.
Italian Sausage with Peppers, Onions, & Potatoes
Makes 8 hoagies
For a spicier hoagie, try adding ½ tsp. crushed red pepper with the basil. Recipe provided by Canyon Bakehouse (http://canyonbakehouse.com).
3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
4 large red potatoes, sliced
8 Italian sausages
1 red onion, sliced
1 large green pepper, sliced
1 large red pepper, sliced
1 large orange bell pepper, sliced
½ tsp. basil
8 Canyon Bakehouse Hot Dog Buns
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 12- x 9-inch baking dish with olive oil. Cover bottom of pan with sliced potatoes, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Place sausage on top of potatoes, then layer sliced onions and peppers on top of sausage. Add basil, and more salt and pepper if desired.
- Cover dish with aluminum foil, and bake 3 hours. Remove from oven, place each sausage on bun, and top with peppers and onions as desired.
Serve potatoes and remaining peppers and onions on the side.
PER SERVING: 724 cal; 21g pro; 46g total fat (14g sat fat); 58g carb; 86mg chol; 1006mg sod; 6g fiber; 8g sugars
Gluten-free baking tips.
Handy as sliced loaves are, there's nothing like the smell of bread right out of the oven, still warm enough to melt butter (or your favorite dairy-free spread). But gluten-free baking can be tricky. At best, it's time-consuming and annoying. At worst, it leaves you feeling like a clueless chef.
The secret to a light, fluffy bread with an even texture is in the ingredients and technique. You can try formulating your own blend of gluten-free flours and starches; but for the best results, choose a pre-made gluten-free bread mix and follow a few simple tricks:
Mix well. Over-mixing gluten breads makes them tough, but it's the opposite with gluten-free baking. Be sure to beat the dough for several minutes to aerate it and make it lighter after baking.
Wet your hands. Gluten-free dough is usually sticky, so douse your hands with water or oil for easier handling.
Make smaller loaves. Gluten-free breads often brown on the outside before the interior is cooked, or collapse after they're removed from the oven. Perfect your technique with rolls, baguettes, and mini-loaves before moving on to sandwich breads.
Check for gums. A good pre-made mix will contain xanthan gum or guar gum to add texture and stickiness in place of gluten.
Combine all the ingredients at once, instead of mixing wet and then dry, to create a more even, moist crumb.
Use a little extra butter or butter replacement to keep baked goods tender and soft.
Use a variety of flours. Some flours, such as garbanzo bean, have a very strong flavor; others, such as rice flour, have a gritty texture. Blending several varieties together plays up the strong suits of each without letting one take over. Premade mixes do this work for you. Some to try:
- Bob's Red MillGluten-free Pizza Crust Mix
- Lillabee AnytimeMuffin Mix
- Simply OrganicChai Spice Scone Mix
- Arrowhead MillsGluten Free All Purpose Baking Mix
- Pamela's ProductsGluten-free Bread Mix & Flour Blend
- Namaste FoodsGluten-Free Bread Mix
Udi'sOmega Flax and Fiber
Dense, chewy, and studded with seeds, it's the perfect bread for hearty sandwiches.
Rudi's Gluten-Free BakeryOriginal Gluten-Free Bread
Light and soft, like a good white bread should be. Try it as a classic PB&J.
Food for Life China Black Rice Bread
Slightly sweet, it's ideal toasted with coconut butter and a bit of honey.
Glutino GeniusMultigrain Sandwich Bread
The closest thing to sandwich bread, with a light, even texture. Try the White versions too, for more of the real thing.
Canyon BakehouseCinnamon Raisin Bread
Sweetened with agave, studdedwith raisins, and swirled with lots of cinnamon. Kinnikinnick White Sandwich Bread Soft and moist, even after freezing, it's dairy- and nut-free too.
Outside the Bread Box Vegan Oat Bread
Egg- and dairy-free loaf bread that slices well and stands up to sandwiches.
Flatbreads and crusts
Perfect for DIY pizzas, or buy the ready-made selections in your grocer's freezer.
Food for LifeBrown Rice Tortillas
Chewier and denser than the real thing, but still delicious.
Food for LifeMulti Seed English Muffins
Lots of nooks and crannies to hold your favorite topping.
Venice BakeryGluten-Free Pizza Crust
All of the crusts (in assorted sizes) are vacuum-sealed to lock in freshness and flavor.
Out of the BreadboxDinner Rolls
Made with brown rice flour and tapioca. Try the hot dog and hamburger buns, too.
Bagels, rolls, muffins, and buns
Rudi'sMulitgrain Hamburger Buns
Light, evenly textured, and sturdy enough for a bigger burger.
Udi'sClassic & Whole Grain Buns
Soft and finely textured. Choose from hot dog or burger buns.
Lucky SpoonLemonlicious Muffins
Richly studded with poppy seeds, these mini-muffins are slim in calories.
Cybro'sGluten-free Rice Rolls
Warm and serve a basketful with soups and stews.
Gillian'sCaramelized Onion Rolls
Rich, sweet onion flavors enhance a soft, fluffy roll.