Gluten-free bread may have a name for being a poor imitation, but new technology and recipes are improving the range. We decided to see firsthand which is best.
If you’ve steered clear of gluten-free bread on account of the fact that it tastes like cardboard, we can’t blame you!
Over the years, this writer (who has been a diagnosed coeliac for 13 years) has had her fair share of bad GF bread. Stuff that falls apart in your hand, types that taste like corn, others that are rock hard or gummy – sometimes it’s been plain nasty.
We’re not about to tell you that we’ve found a bread-equivalent fluffy loaf, but of the lot, which is the best? We put our tastebuds on the line, so you don’t have to.
So – without further ado, this is the definitive ranking of gluten-free bread on the market.
Note: We purchased either wholemeal or seeded bread for this taste test and all are available in sliced form from the supermarket.
Like what you see? Sign up to our bodyandsoul.com.au newsletter for more stories like this.
#1 Genius Gluten-Free Soft Brown Farmhouse, $6
It hurts me to say that the Genius wholemeal bread comes in first place because I absolutely cannot stand the Triple Seeded Farmhouse variety they have. I had little to no hopes for this one and was absolutely mindblown that I didn’t hate it. In fact, I will continue to purchase this bread ongoing.
Genius do a range of other fun gluten-free foods too and their wraps are next level!
- Look: Looked the most like bread, had a decent size
- Untoasted: Lighter texture with a hint of sweetness. Great structure to the bread but maybe a little dry
- Toasted: Lovely and crunchy, very light and not too chewy
#2 Helgas Gluten-Free Wholemeal, $6
Pulling this one out of the package I had low expectations. It was a very squat shape and didn’t appear to have risen much. However, it was probably one of the most bread like in that it had some moisture to it but was still airy and light. No stodgy-ness here. Would purchase again!
- Look: Very small slices that are squat in shape and kind of a funny colour
- Untoasted: Light, slightly bland but in a good way, with a somewhat sweet aftertaste. It doesn’t have the best structure, and is at risk for falling apart.
- Toasted: Tastes the most like a toasted piece of non-GF bread. It’s crunchy, light and crispy.
#3 Abbott’s Village Bakery Gluten-free Farmhouse Wholemeal, $7
Ok, so I have to come clean here. I buy Abbotts as my chosen gluten-free bread but the wholemeal varietal wasn’t as ground-breaking as their white loaf (which is utterly delicious).
However, if we’re judging based on wholemeal it’s coming in closely behind the Helgas. Even my non-GF flatmate proclaimed ‘This. Is. Bread.’, so you can see that it’s still a pretty decent loaf.
- Look: Gorgeous look, nice size, good structure and proper bread shape but slightly smaller
- Untoasted: Light and airy with a good texture and neutral flavour
- Toasted: It’s slightly doughier on the inside than the Helgas and Genius – but not necessarily in a bad way
#4 Woolworths Free From Gluten Seeded Bread, $4.50
Getting down to the own brand now – unfortunately they just don’t stack up. It’s doughy, it’s sweet, and it’s not amazing.
The Woolworths one had a better size and flavor and it is significantly cheaper than the branded breads, so if you’re on a budget this is the one to have.
- Look: Small slices that have a nice shape
- Untoasted: Quite chewy but an ok flavour and strong structure
- Toasted: Tastes ‘gluten-free’, it’s pretty doughy and chewy
#5 Coles Gluten Free Soy and Linseed, $4.50
Oh, the Coles own-brand coming up wooden spoon. These slices were absolutely tiny (the smallest of the bunch) and both the flavour and texture left a lot to be desired.
It’s cheap – but I’d say it’s worth trying out other brands first.
- Look: Uber small slices, the smallest of the brands tested
- Untoasted: Springy but chewy and quite doughy. The flavour was ok until you got to the aftertaste, which was super sweet and very ‘gluten-free’.
- Toasted: Doughy and bad aftertaste. No thanks.
As a control, we must include good, old-fashioned cardboard, which is often the same descriptive word people use to describe GF bread.
I can confirm I didn’t try to toast it for fear of fire hazard, but think a little charring may add a some pizzazz.
*Side note: Do not eat cardboard and cannot confirm if cardboard has less than 20ppm gluten*
While the three branded breads certainly take the cake, we think it would be best if they all worked together to create a franken-loaf.
We would like the less-doughy vibe and delicious taste of the Genius farmhouse, the good looks of the Abbotts and the breadiness of the Helgas. Please and thank you!