This part of my life began when my very sick partner was diagnosed with Celiac. Even the slightest exposure to gluten can make him very ill for several days, so I have pursued gluten-free options with thorough aggression. In the U.S. a recent surge of gluten awareness means we have more choices than ever, but it still means hunting and analyzing and tracking down parent companies. After several years now of doing so, I want to share my tricks and tips with others who are still struggling.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Product Review: Prairie Bread from Whole Foods' Gluten-Free Bakehouse

There are two kinds of manufacturers of gluten-free baked goods.  The old-school is stuck in the era where if it has the same vague shape and color as the thing it's imitating (say, a loaf of bread), then it's good enough, no matter what it tastes like (and then charges $12 for a crappy loaf of bread). 

The new-school realizes that they have a lot of competition these days and that there have been innovations in gluten free cooking that improve texture and taste to where it is almost indistinguishable from the real thing (and then charges $12 for a good loaf of bread). 

Clearly, the Gluten-Free Bakehouse at Whole Foods is old-school.  Their Prairie Bread, visually, resembles plastic foam with bits of seed embedded in it.  It is not only dry, mealy and crumbly (even after toasting), but somewhere between tasteless and gum-flavored around the various seeds. As a bonus, it made me really sick all night.  They must put whole tablespoons of xanthan gum and half a dozen eggs in it to create the binder-overkill that it is.  I suppose the upside is that they only charge $6.00 for it, so when I throw the rest into the trash it won't hurt as much.

The lesson?  Unless you can get it same-day from a gluten-free bakery (and one that lets you try a sample first) it is probably better to take the time to make your own. 

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