Time to Make the Bread

As a human with wheat and soy allergies (and 14 other foods), I have become disgruntled with the selection of sandwich bread and other healthy snacks in stores.  Just because I can’t eat wheat doesn’t mean I want Styrofoam consistency or high sugar content.  I’m sure I’m not alone in this dilemma.  So, yesterday I broke out all my Gluten Free cookbooks and studied all the bread and quick bread recipes, hoping to identify the most  common ingredients that I could stock in my pantry. 

The books I used in my research are:  Gluten-Free 101 by Carol Fenster; the Best Gluten-Free Family Cookbook by Donna Washburn & Heather Butt; Gluten-Free Baking by Rebecca Reilly; and 125 Best Gluten-Free Recipes by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt.  These books offer Bread Machine Method and Mixer Method versions of yeast bread recipes.  Three of the four books utilize a baking flour blend that you can premix and store for more convenient baking.  Some of them have four ingredients, some of them quite a bit more.  I don’t want my pantry to look like an apothecary, so I developed the following criteria:

#1 – Ingredients must be popular and in the majority of useful recipes

#2 – Ingredients must be more readily available than eye of newt

#3 – Ingredients must be affordable

Based on the above, the ingredients that I have decided it makes sense for me to purchase are:

Brown Rice Flour
Egg Replacer
Potato Starch
Sorghum Flour
Tapioca Starch
Xanthan Gum

I spent the day in Spokane, Washington, going to a few small health food co-op stores in search of my ingredients.  They were sold out of most everything except Xanthan Gum and Egg Replacer.  I purchased the Xantham Gum for a dollar less at the second store I went to.  It really does make sense to shop around.  So, for the rest of the ingredients, I decided to shop around – online.

I surveyed every brand available through the following three online sites:  Gluten-Free Mall, Gluten-Free Trading Company, and Gluten-Free.com.  I have had good experiences with the first two, but have never shopped the last. 

The Gluten-Free Mall offers you the ability to sign in, read and write reviews, view your order history, and earn points towards purchase discounts.  Those reviews have come in very handy – I definitely recommend reading what others have written before you purchase any prepared foods.  They also have a newsletter and email alerts for sales.  Very often they have 10% of coupons via email.  They are affiliated with www.celiac.com and can be found at www.glutenfreemall.com.

The Gluten-Free Trading Company is probably my favorite.  They are a family-owned store in Milwaukee, Wisconsin which offers online shopping as well, and shipping worldwide.  The online catalog is not quite as sophisticated as the Mall, however, they do also offer a newsletter. The thing that wins me over about the Trading Company is that whenever there is a question or problem concerning my order – they call me.  And it’s always service with a smile.  They can be found at www.food4celiacs.com.

Gluten-Free.com seems to specialize more in prepared food and baking mixes.  I have not yet ordered anything from them, but their prices are competitive and they also have a sophisticated shopping cart.  They also offer e-newsletters and recipes.  You can check them out at www.glutenfree.com.

Here are my findings:

Item Price Store Brand Size
Brown Rice Flour $3.79 Gluten Free Trading Co. Bob’s Red Mill 1.5 lbs
Coconut Flour $11.43 Gluten-Free Mall Peter Paul 2.2 lbs
Potato Starch $3.69 GlutenFree.com Bob’s Red Mill 1.5 lbs
Rice Bran $2.79 Gluten Free Trading Co. Ener-G .5 lb
Sorghum Flour $4.19 Gluten Free Trading Co. Bob’s Red Mill 22 oz
Tapioca Starch $0.99 Gluten Free Trading Co. Star Lion 1 lb
Xanthan Gum $12.49 GlutenFree.com Bob’s Red Mill .5 lb

 

I included the Coconut Flour and the Rice Bran because I had seen in it some other recipes and actually also seen them on store shelves.

The other ingredients I researched but decided against purchasing at this time are:  Sweet Rice Flour and Buckwheat Flour.  They seemed to be used only in specialized recipes.

I spent hours tediously going back and forth from website to website, spreadsheet to spreadsheet and cookbook to cookbook.  I thought that if I could save one other person the headache of doing this, then it’s a good day.  If you are lucky enough to have good natural food stores in your area, perhaps this table will help you comparison shop.  Don’t forget, shipping charges are not figured in to the above prices.

I’m going to order my ingredients today, and start baking my bread and quick breads as soon as I can.  I’ll let you know if it ends up tasting better and costing less than the styro-loaves you can purchase pre-made.  I already feel relieved about taking more control over my diet.  Be healthy!

p.s. for more helpful resources, go to www.celiacchicks.com

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