Celiac disease is the pits. There’s no cure, and the only treatment is adhering to a strict gluten-free diet. That means giving up things we all love: pizza, bagels, croissants, pasta, and — perhaps nearest and dearest to our hearts — sandwiches. It’s absolutely awful to consider never eating any of those things again. (Did we mention no more beer?)
Whether you’re on a gluten-free diet or just want to know what to stock up on when your celiac friend comes to stay with you, here’s a rundown of some of the choices you’ll probably encounter at your local supermarket. Not all GF breads are created equal, even those from the same brand, and picking the right one can mean the difference between a delicious deli sandwich and something more akin to a ham and swiss on cardboard.
We stuck to reviewing Udi’s brand bread, because it seems to be one of the only brands available across North America. Are there other choices? Absolutely. My personal favorite is a sourdough loaf from Cate&Co. in Napa, but what’s the point in reviewing that? It’s only available from the bakery itself and costs more than $10 a loaf.
And hey? If you can eat gluten, count your blessings — sandwiches just ain’t the same without it.
1. White sandwich bread
Are you looking for something that resembles white bread? This is the toast for you! Unfortunately, beyond looking like white bread, it doesn’t offer much else. It’s bland, styrofoamy, and doesn’t toast very well. Which makes sense, given that the only real redeeming quality of actual white bread is it’s soft squishiness. Take away the soft squishiness, though, and you’ve got this rectangular stuff. Nadia likes to say that “beige isn’t a color, but the absence of taste.” It’s pretty much the same with this bread. Skip it.
2. Cinnamon raisin bread
This cinnamon raisin stuff is actually pretty good, mostly because the cinnamon and the raisins serve as distractions from the bread itself. It’s pretty obvious that it’s not normal bread, but if you’re looking for something that’ll do in a pinch — and especially if you like the cinnamon-raisin combo in general — pick up a loaf and see what you think.
3. Millet-chia bread
If we could choose only one Udi’s product to have around, it’d be their millet-chia bread. While it’s kind of dry and grainy straight out of the bag, all you need to do is pop it in the toaster to unlock its full potential. After toasting, I’ve used it for breakfasts, PB&J, turkey sandwiches, and more. And while it’s surely not as good as a nice, expensive loaf of normal multigrain bread, it’s close enough to satisfy your sandwich craving.
4. Plain bagels
These aren’t bagels. Bagels are dense and chewy and delicious. These are Udi’s white bread (see above) in the shape of a circle. If you’re gonna load it up with cream cheese or something, that’s one thing. But otherwise? No thanks.
5. Classic hamburger and hot dog buns
Finding good gluten-free buns is tough. Frankly, these aren’t very good. But if you consider the alternative — eating a hot dog or hamburger patty without buns — they’re worth buying, if only to distract you from the pig scrotum you’re drunkenly eating. Word of warning: The hot dog buns will fall apart pretty much every time. Enjoy your hot dog sandwich.
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