One of the truly frustrating things about following a gluten-free diet is how much more expensive the gluten-free version of anything is. I know, ideally I shouldn’t be buying and using packaged foods in the first place, but every once in a while I want bread, dang it. Both prepared gluten-free bread loaves and the boxed mixes are pricey, so I couldn’t afford to have them all the time even if I wanted to.
This is why I grab these things when they’re on sale. A while ago my local grocery store had Gluten-Free Pantry’s French Bread and Pizza Mix marked down, so I bought a couple of boxes. I already knew I liked their Sandwich Bread Mix, and it’s been so long since I’ve had anything resembling pizza…
I did intend to make pizza with this mix, you know. But for some reason, I baked a loaf of bread with the first box. This bread was nice and crusty, and the crumb, while still a bit heavy like most gluten-free bread, had a texture more like real bread. Or at least what I can remember real bread being like.
The directions tell you to slice, wrap, and freeze the bread, which I recall doing back when I made the sandwich loaf mix. But I left this loaf intact at room temperature for a day or so, sealed in a plastic bag. It did lose some of its crustiness, so I think this bread is best on the day it’s baked, and since you’ll lose crustiness with storage anyway, go ahead and slice up any leftovers and freeze them. The individual slices are convenient because they’re easy to thaw if you want to make a quick sandwich.
As it turns out, this bread is quite good for sandwiches. It doesn’t crumble apart or get overly moist like some gluten-free bread. You just have to be careful if you’re spreading something thick like peanut butter.
PB & J is all fine and good, but what I really wanted was a toasted cheese and pickle sandwich. It’s like a grilled cheese sandwich, only with Branston Pickle (get the small chunk). I love that stuff. I wasn’t sure how well this bread would hold together, but it was fine. It doesn’t toast up quite as crispy as real bread, but it’s close enough and tastes good.
Now should be where I tell you how this mix faired as pizza crust, but I ended up liking the french bread so much that I made the other box into gluten-free dinner rolls. These you definitely want to freeze after the first day, because they go stale quickly. But they’re delicious warmed in the microwave and spread with butter.
They remind me of the gluten-free lean rolls I made ages ago, only the mix is MUCH easier, quicker, and the resulting rolls taste a lot better. The gluten-free lean rolls had a bit of an aftertaste to them that I tolerated but still wished wasn’t there. Hence why I always ate them with soup. But not these rolls. I could chow down on them all day.
The next time I can grab a box (or three) of this mix for a decent price, I promise to make pizza with it. I still haven’t had anything pizza-like since I eliminated gluten from my diet, and that was nearly 3 years ago.