Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tasting GF Sandwich Bread: And the Winner Is....

In the case of gluten free bread often times it isn’t who the winner is, but which is the least loser-like. Everyone has their opinion, but at $6 for a loaf of bread, getting it wrong is costly. Why are there no blind tastings of gluten-free products? This has to change… so to the rescue is the Bay Area Raising our Celiac Kids (ROCK) group.

And after sometimes suffering through tasting all the breads, this tasting panel of 2 gluten-free, 1 mostly gluten free and one absolutely not gluten free adult, 2 gluten-free kids, and 2 non-gluten free kids actually found a winner. And most in the Celiac community won’t be surprised…

We tested the bread in three formats: Grilled cheese, plain untoasted, and French toast. In the grilled cheese format, with butter and melty cheese, much is forgiven. Most breads were palatable to the Celiacs in the groups, and the non-Celiacs objected to fewer of the breads. As French toast, we see some differences in texture shining through, with some breads becoming unpleasantly gummy. But the real test is eating the sandwich plain, untoasted. After all, shouldn’t one be able to eat a sandwich without having to search out a toaster oven that isn’t contaminated?

So Celiac kids who are envying that kids’ peanut butter sandwich next to you at the lunch table take note…


Here are the comments for each of the breads. Note –these are white sandwich breads. We are not talking the epitome of nutrition here. In fact most of these have very little nutritional value.


Food for Life Brown Rice: Tasters felt that this was dense and didn’t take to the bland flavor. One tester noted that they appreciated the moisture in the plain tasting and others felt it did OK as a grilled cheese sandwich.

Glutino Brown Rice: This bread received the lowest overall ratings. While some were excited by the appearance, they complained of extremely dry, crumbly and grainy texture and off flavors. The flavor was described as “birdseed” like.

Homemade using Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day Olive Oil Bread Recipe. This bread received its highest mark as plain bread, and was praised for moist texture. However, the taste was described as bland and under-salted by several tasters.  It didn’t seem to hold up as well in French Toast applications.

Udi’s White Sandwich Bread. This bread received high marks all around, praising it’s light texture, nice neutral flavor. “It actually tastes like bread” although one non-celiac tester said it didn’t pass muster compared to gluten bread. Some felt the light texture didn’t hold up as well as French toast.

Whole Foods White Sandwich Loaf. This bread received its highest ratings as grilled cheese and French toast. Generally the flavor was inoffensive, although it was dry untoasted. Tasters did not enjoy it plain.

French Meadow Bakery Sandwich Bread. This load received high marks for texture and taste, although one taster felt it was a bit salty. Most preferred this as grilled cheese, although few enjoyed it plain.  It comes only in half loaves.

Kinnikinnick White Sandwich Bread.  This loaf received low marks eaten plain, citing dry tough texture, and strange aftertastes. However, it faired better as French toast where tasters objected less to its sweet flavors.

Mariposa Sandwich Bread. This received an OK rating eaten plain, but one taster felt it had a strange after taste.  It received lower marks as French toast, where tasters felt the texture suffered.  Bread slices were very small.



  1. I'm a big Udi's fan.

    Thanks for the interesting post. Happy to see you tested it in a variety of ways. (very America's Test Kitchen of you!)

  2. Thank you so much for doing this! I had already come to the same conclusion but it will sure be helpful for me on other products!

  3. After being diagnosed with Celiac two years ago and initially going on a frenzied tasting of countless gluten-free breads, I now tend to reach for the same gluten-free products I know and love. I really appreciated your taste test and will definitely give Udi's a try.

  4. Every gf source i come across/meet lately has been raving about "breads from anna" they are mixes but they come so close to natural artisan breads and lack the overly white ricey texture, which i hate as well. Here is one review- she recommends one, the other one i heard is out of this world is the herb bread mix.Also her mixes are other allergens free as well.