Longstanding gluten-free-people can vouch that early versions of wheat-free bread seemed like a grand punishment for being gluten intolerant: as though some god yielding a three-pronged baguette suddenly declared all gluten-free bread to be tiny and made of chalk. No more! Whether you have celiac disease, a gluten allergy, aversion or intolerance, your sans-gluten-lifestyle is immeasurably easier today than it would have been even five years ago. You can now save rice noodles for pad thai (bolognese never tasted quite right with them – check out our guide to cooking GF pasta the right way), wash down a gluten-free muffin or pastry at a steadily growing number of gluten-free-friendly cafes and bakeries, and make a sandwich on normally-sized slices of flavorful gluten-free bread that don’t crumble from the simple spread of a condiment.
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While it’s taken the U.S. a few decades to catch on, celiac patients in Italy, a global gluten capital, founded the Associazione Italiana Celiachia back in 1979 helping to make Italy one of the most gluten-free-friendly countries in the world. And as the gluten-free trend continues to blossom stateside supported by growing awareness and diagnosis of gluten-related health issues, so too does the demand for quality certified gluten-free brands and products: fantastic news for the estimated 1 in 100 people who are diagnosed with celiac disease (and the number is growing).
So please join us in saying “farewell” to those tiny brittle slices of gluten punishment as we celebrate a list of the best loaves of gluten-free bread money can buy.
Founded in 1977 in Chatham, NY, Our Daily Bread (now The Gluten Free Bakery) specialized in hearth-baked artisan loaves sold at local markets and in NYC. And after switching out wheat flour for gluten-free whole grains, local buckwheat, and other alternatives to establish a certified gluten-free baking space, they still do.
Their original loaf is beautifully aromatic achieving gluten-like aeration and texture with an expert blend of local organic flours like sorghum and buckwheat, tapioca and potato starches, xanthan gum, yeast, and egg whites. Apple cider vinegar adds a sourdough-like tanginess making these hefty slices flavorful and hearty enough to enjoy toasted on their own. Though a little butter and sea salt certainly wouldn’t hurt.Buy Now
An astounding variety of gluten-free flours, oils, and natural binding ingredients like applesauce, tapioca starch, and bamboo fiber make for a surprisingly simple-tasting sweet loaf of pre-sliced sandwich bread. Though more complex than (and not as squishable as) your average white Wonder Bread, Ener-G’s multigrain loaf (or you can opt for their light version) offers nostalgic pillowy slices perfect for a classic ham and cheese. Ready your lunchboxes!Buy Now
We searched high and low, but alas, there is no veritable gluten-free replacement for a perfect French baguette (I’m sure calling this a baguette is even making some bread aficionado cringe). But Brooklyn-based Everybody Eats Bakery offers a Crusty Baguette in striking likeness to the “real” thing. It’s no Poilåne, but once these classic diagonally-scored loaves come out of your toaster oven, you might think you’re in Paris.Buy Now
Craving pastrami on rye? Or better yet, a classic reuben? Look no further than the rye-style loaf from Canyon Bakehouse. Getting distinctive rye flavor in a gluten-free loaf is tricky since rye is a gluten grain. But Canyon Gluten Free is welcoming gluten-free reuben-lovers with open arms and hearty slices of savory caraway-seed-laden bread. The Gluten Free Bakery also has a rye loaf, which they call their Caraway Loaf. While not as widely available as their original or seedy sandwich loaves, you can find it at Target and specialty grocery stores like Union Market in New York.Buy Now
A solid roast beef sandwich (or any meaty roasted veggie sandwich) requires bread that can withstand weight, texture, moisture, heat (if toasted) and flavor without overwhelming its contents. Frankly most gluten-free bread brands fall short of this culinary engineering feat, but The Gluten Free Bakery’s Seedy Sandwich Bread is up to the challenge. Egg whites, yeast, organic starches and flours, and xanthan gum provide the perfect structure for organic millet, flax seeds, and sunflower seeds. Bring on the roast beef (or portobello mushrooms)!Buy Now
While not as robust as The Gluten Free Bakery’s Seedy Sandwich Loaf, Glutino’s Seeded Bread is a mild yet flavorful every-day-alternative. Wheat-free, non GMO, and liberally studded with flax and chia seeds, this reliable loaf is conveniently only a click away.Buy Now
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A dark horse in the gluten-free bread category, Trader Joe’s gluten-free sandwich bread is a reliable staple making up in consistency and structure what it lacks in organic whole grains and locally milled flours. While we’d suggest a richer, more grain-and-seed-heavy option for plain toast at breakfast, it passes muster for french toast and no-frills grilled cheese.Buy Now
FOMOOB, or “Fear Of Missing Out On Buns” at barbeques is officially over. Udi’s classic hamburger buns (and hotdog buns) are the soft, pillowy answers to your gluten-free barbecuing prayers. Think the most wonderful marriage between a fluffy potato bun and a sturdier wheat bun. They do offer whole grain versions of each, but we’re barbecuing, not dieting. Welcome to a new meaning of “BYOB.”Buy Now
Keep Reading: The Best Frozen Gluten-Free Pizzas You Can Order Online
Header image courtesy of Target