Substitutions for Bread in a Gluten-free Diet

Substitutions for Bread in a Gluten-free Diet

Giving up bread is one of the hardest tasks a gluten-intolerant person faces. There are many options for making the transition to gluten-free bread easier.

For people who have Celiac disease or are otherwise sensitive to the protein in wheat, barley and rye in their diets, the only solution is a gluten-free diet.

When people think about going gluten-free, it is often the thought of giving up bread entirely that is the most upsetting prospect. No more sandwiches. No more toast with their breakfast. No more crusty bread with their pasta.

As someone who has been gluten-free, with varying levels of success, for the last two years, I know that giving up bread is daunting. Bread makes food portable. Bread feels good in your mouth.

Here are some ideas that I hope will make giving up bread easier for people new to being gluten-free.

Commercial Gluten-free Breads

These are breads that are pre-baked and available, usually at high-end grocery stores, for you to use. Commercial gluten-free breads offer the comfort of looking like traditional wheat bread, because they are pre-sliced loaves wrapped in plastic bags. They are convenient, but tend to be expensive. Unfortunately, they generally do not taste like wheat bread.

Your best bet, if you want a commercial gluten-free bread, is to try several brands until you find one you like. Gluten-free bread nearly always tastes best toasted. Don’t expect this bread to be something it isn’t. It isn’t wheat bread. Find a variety you can enjoy for what it is.

Gluten-free Bakery Bread

Bread that comes from a gluten-free bakery is a considerable improvement over commercial gluten-free bread. All gluten-free baked products taste their best soon after coming out of the oven. Purchasing from a bakery allows you this luxury. Your local baker will have worked to find a recipe for gluten-free bread that produces successful loaves. Again, approach buying gluten-free bread with an open mind and the knowledge that it is different from wheat bread.

Gluten-free Bread Mixes

As with commercial gluten-free breads, gluten-free bread mixes are available in grocery stores. They give you a mix of flours and binding agents that you add eggs and oil to in order to produce a loaf of home baked bread. There are a wide variety of these mixes available, using different kinds of flour. Some use bean flours, others a combination of rice and sorghum or tapioca. Gluten-free bread dough does not behave the way wheat bread dough does. It doesn’t require kneading, for one thing. It is soft and is more like a quick bread batter. Experiment with different brands until you find one that produces a loaf of bread you enjoy.

Bread from a Recipe

Once you start to get the hang of gluten-free baking, you may be ready to start making gluten-free bread without a mix. Baking gluten-free bread requires a blend of flours, plus a binding agent. You have the widest ability to find a bread that meets your test requirement by blending your own flour mixes. You can also purchase gluten-free flour that replaces wheat flour cup-for-cup in baking recipes.

Corn Tortillas

Corn tortillas are naturally gluten-free. While you do need to read the ingredient list to make sure, most commercially available corn tortillas are safe for you to eat. They may be heated up in a microwave for 10 or 20 seconds, or placed on a hot, dry skillet until softened. Corn tortillas are a good replacement for bread as a complement to saucy meals. Once they are heated, they may be treated like bread and filled with anything you’d put in a sandwich. You may be used to eating them with Mexican food, but their flavor blends well with most any cuisine.

Categories: Diet, Health, Nutrition