Gluten Free Bread – It Does Exist!

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Going gluten free doesn’t have to mean giving up sandwiches or wraps. Thanks to brands like Food For Life, gluten free-ers are able to buy loaves of bread and other baked goods at the grocery store.

There are also countless recipes available for making breads using rice, tapioca, arrow root and other gluten free flours. While I personally haven’t tried to bake any of them (a lot call for xanthum gum and I have no idea where to buy it!) here are some websites I found with some recipes. If you try them let me know hot it goes!

The problem most people have with gluten free bread, is that it is generally heavier. This is because gluten proteins play a large role in giving bread its fluffy texture. Gluten provides elasticity to breads, which helps baked goods to maintain their shape and contributes to the volume of the product. (Philips, 2000; Kieffer, n.d.) Therefore, without gluten it is difficult to make a fluffy product.

Most baked goods that are gluten free will use a variety of the other types of flours available. Each flour has different qualities and tastes, so using a mixture will provide a good combination and hopefully a tasty product (Allen & Kearny, 2004). This is why most recipes you’ll find will include several types of flours.

Now, if you’re like me and baking isn’t high on your priority list then you are probably interested in the breads you can buy. There is a large variety available. A lot of health food stores will make bread in house or carry a wide selection of bread types. Large chain grocery stores aren’t always as good at providing gluten-free products, although they are becoming better. Most Zehrs Markets have a well-stocked health food section and carry various gluten-free brands. The most common brand seen is Food for Life, and they make various types of gluten free breads. Most gluten free breads are sold frozen, so take a look in the freezer if you’re having trouble finding them.

Brown Rice, from Food for Life (image from http://www.foodforlife.com)

My favorite type of Food for Life bread is the Rice and Almond. It comes frozen, and is best toasted (I prefer most gluten free breads to be toasted). This bread is slightly sweet, but goes well for sandwiches or with spreads. My absolute favorite way to eat this type of bread is with almond butter and some honey or jam. So yummy!

Rice and Almond Bread, from Food for Life (image from http://www.foodforlife.com)

Food for Life also makes many other bread flavours, mainly rice flour based. See http://www.foodforlife.com/product-catalog/gluten-free-and-wheat-free/gluten-and-wheat-free/breads for details about this bread. They also make tortillas, great for fajitas or wraps! Just be careful with these as they tend to rip a bit easier than wheat tortillas.

There is a line called Ezekiel 4:9 which is created using sprouted grains. In my opinion, the breads in this line mimic wheat bread the best. Again, I prefer it to be toasted. The bread is made from organic sources and apparently is a complete protein. Their website description of the bread states “We discovered when these six grains and legumes are sprouted and combined, an amazing thing happens. A complete protein is created that closely parallels the protein found in milk and eggs. In fact, the protein quality is so high, that it is 84.3% as efficient as the highest recognized source of protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids. There are 18 amino acids present in this unique bread – from all vegetable sources – naturally balanced in nature.”  Sprouting the grains changes it’s effects on digestibility.  According to Food for Life’s website, sprouting neutralizes phytic acid which normally would inhibit absorption of nutrients. Also, the enzymes that are produced during sprouting causes protein bonds to breakdown, thus increasing digestibility of the grain. This type of bread was recommended my a naturopath to my mom who is wheat-free, but I haven’t been able to find evidence as to whether this bread is okay for gluten free diets. It blogs it is discussed as controversial, with several people doing trial-and-error to see if it would be okay for them. There was mixed results.  Therefore, before trying out this line of breads check with your health professional.  ( http://www.foodforlife.com/our-products/sprouted-grain)

Ezekiel line from Food for Life (Image from http://www.foodforlife.com)

What’s you’re favorite type of gluten-free bread? Don’t have one?  Try out a recipe at home, or check out Food for Life!

References:

Allen, D. & Kearney, R. (2004). Healthy Gluten-Free Eating. London, United Kingdom: Kyle Cathie Limited.

Food for Life. (n.d.) Food For Life Retrieved November 8, 2011 from: http://www.foodforlife.com/

Kieffer, R. (n.d.). The Role of Gluten Elasticity in the Baking Quality of Wheat Retrieved November 8, 2011 from: http://www.muehlenchemie.de/downloads-future-of…/FoF_Kap_14.pdf

Philips, S. (2000). How Baking Works. Retrieved November 8, 2011 from: http://baking911.com/quick-guide/how-baking-works

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

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Peanut butter cookies are one of the easiest cookie recipes there is. The flourless version is super simple (three ingredients) and is both gluten and wheat free! It’s also lactose free – yay! This recipe is a pretty common one, but the following is copied from: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/flourless-peanut-butter-cookies/detail.aspx

Ingredients

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
  2. Combine ingredients and drop by teaspoonfuls on cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes. Let cool. Recipe doesn’t make very many, so you could double recipe as you desire.
Make sure to separate the cookies on the sheet (I put twelve small per; it made 18 small cookies for me). I used two spoons to get the batter on the pan, then smooshed it flat with a fork. My baking time took about 9 minutes – you want the cookies to look toasty brown. Cool the cookies on the tray before removing.
The cookies were good, although were a bit too sweet for my tastes. If you don’t like sweet cookies, try using a bit less sugar. However, in comparison to most gluten free cookies I’ve tried they were delicious and crispy, yet not heavy. I definitely recommend giving them a try if you’re a peanut butter lover!

Granola

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Here is a great recipe for granola, that uses no grains that have gluten proteins. Granola is great on its own, with some milk (my favorite is to have it with almond milk because it is non-dairy and is sweet) or with yoghurt. (If you are making this for someone who is gluten free, make sure to check if they are lactose intolerant as well as they often are paired intolerances). Watch the cooking time – you may need to adjust based on how your oven works. The end result should be crispy, but you don’t want it to be dark in colour.

175 g honey

125 ml sunflower oil

425g rice flakes

110g roasted buckwheat (buckwheat is not related to wheat, and is gluten free!)

110g hazelnuts

75 g seedless raisins

40 g rice bran

40 g millet flakes

25 g dried apricots or dates, chopped

Mix honey and oil together in saucepan to melt honey. Mix well into rice flakes Spread thinly on baking sheet and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, turning frequently. Cool and mix in rest of ingredients.

(This recipe is from Allen, D. & Kearney, R. (2004). Healthy Gluten-Free Eating. London, United Kingdom: Kyle Cathie Limited. )

I hope you enjoy! Over the next few days, I will be making some baked goods that are gluten free so stay tuned for more great recipes!

A Great Resource for Gluten Free-ers!

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The Canadian Celiac Association has a great website that has a lot of information to help out those who are suffering from gluten or wheat intolerances. There is information about what Celiac disease is, and what its symptoms are and the treatments that are available. Since the main treatment is an altered diet that excludes gluten, the website has lots of information about what to eat as well as recipes and products that are good for gluten free-ers. There is also a section devoted to health professionals which includes flyers and brochures that are available to order.

Also on this website it a great list of community support groups across Canada. These groups are great resources to get ideas and share information. For those in the Guelph area interested, here are nearby groups (taken from http://www.celiac.ca):

Toronto: info@torontoceliac.org ; 416-781-9140

London: celiaclondon@golden.net

Hamilton: hamiltonceliacchapter@gmail.com ; 905-572-6775

For more information, please visit the Canadian Celiac Association website: http://www.celiac.ca

CCA Logo - from http://www.celiac.ca/

Quick Tip for Gluten Free Pies

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I thought I would pass on a great tip for making gluten free pies. Pie crust is difficult to make with alternative flours, such as rice or soya, because they are denser so won’t produce a fluffy, light crust. After several attempts at making crusts, my mom tried something new this year with our thanksgiving pumpkin pie and it was a huge success.  She just got rid of the crust entirely! She filled up custard cups with the pie filling, and then baked them in a pan of water.  The result was fantastically delicious! In addition to being gluten free, it also is lower in calories and fat without having a crust. I definitely recommend pies this way! (Unfortunately they were too delicious and were gone before I could take a picture!)

A Gluten Free Menu at Milestones

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Eating out can be a challenge for those going gluten free. Fortunately, some restaurants have recognized this and added a gluten free section to their menus. Milestones is one such restaurant. And, it includes more than just salads! Chicken, brown rice pasta, and even dessert are included on this specialty menu. For more information on their gluten free menu please see:

http://www.milestonesrestaurants.com/gluten_free.php.

Watch for more information on how to enjoy restaurants while maintaining a gluten free lifestyle! If you know of any other restaurants that offer gluten free menus please share them!

Pasta Lovers Rejoice! Pasta Can Be Gluten Free!

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At first, it may seem that going gluten free means giving up pasta. This is, fortunately, not the case! There are many pasta solutions that are both healthy, and lack gluten. And the best part is you can substitute these pastas in all of your favorite Italian recipes. They cook very similarly to the wheat pasta you’re probably used to, have similar textures and similar tastes. Fantastic! So what are they, you ask?

Rice Pastas (white and brown): 

Rizopia Rice PastaImage from: http://www.rizopia.com/

Rice pasta is a great substitute for wheat pasta. There is lots of variety,so whether you

want fusilli, spaghetti or lasagna noodles, you can find a rice pasta to suit your needs. In addition to being gluten free, rice pasta is also sugar-free, sodium free and fat-free. It also is a source of fiber (brown rice pasta has about 1g of fiber per 100ml serving; compares to approx. 2g in whole wheat pasta*).

This type of pasta is available in both white and brown rice. The difference between the two is how processed the rice is; brown being the least processed. To create white rice, the bran layer is removed from the rice grains. The result is the white core. The bran is important to include in the diet (ie. choose brown rice pasta) because it is the bran that contains most of the fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Cooking rice pasta is very similar to cooking wheat pasta. However, the timing is a bit different so read the recommendations on the label. Overcooked rice pasta can get a mushy texture so be careful not to do so.

There are several brands of rice pasta available. My favorite is Rizopia – it’s organic and made in Canada. I’ve also used the PC brand, and have liked it too.

For more information on the Rizopia brand and rice pasta see their website at www.rizopia.com

*values are from eatTracker, available through The Dietitians of Canada www.eattracker.ca

Image from: http://www.rizopia.com/

 

Quinoa Pasta:

My mom recently discovered quinoa and hasn’t stopped raving about it. I haven’t tried it personally, but according to my mom it’s delicious, has a great texture and is so filling making it ideal for portion control. Quinoa pastas use quinoa flour and corn flour, so are gluten free. There doesn’t seem to be much information available about this pasta and it seems relatively new in stores. Quinoa is a great grain for gluten free-ers because it is a good source of protein and fiber.

The following are a couple websites I found about quinoa pasta, but if anyone knows more about this pasta I would greatly appreciate the input! As I said, I have only heard great things.

Quinoa Corporation: http://www.quinoa.net/199.html

GoGo Quinoa: http://www.gogoquinoa.com/

Corn Pasta:

Here is another pasta that I found, but haven’t tried yet. It is made with corn flour and water, and comes in a variety of different shapes.  According to Authentic Foods Gluten Free Supermarket, this type of pasta is bright yellow due to its high carotene content (vitamin A). Give it a go, and let me know how it turns out!

Authentic Foods Gluten Free Supermarket: http://www.glutenfree-supermarket.com/cornpasta.aspx

 

Where to find these pastas:

You don’t have to look far to find these pastas. Most grocery stores and health food stores should carry rice pastas – I actually haven’t found one that hasn’t carried them.  However, just to make life difficult, each store has their own place to store these lovely pastas. Health food stores are easy and will have all their types of pastas together in one spot. Grocery stores are not so simple. While I have bought rice pastas at Zehrs, Sobey’s, Metro and Whole Foods, the locations of their rice pastas have changed between stores. Some keep their rice pastas with their wheat pastas, others shelve them in their “health food” section, while others keep them in both spots. So have a look in both spots, or just ask.

As for quinoa pasta, I haven’t seen it in a grocery store yet. My mom buys it from a bulk store in St. Jacobs. I will keep an eye out for this in other places – let me know if you find some and I will spread word to other gluten-freers!

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