A Snackable Guide to Gluten-Free Bread
Gluten-free bread gets a bad rap. If you’ve experimented with different brands, you’ve likely come across loaves that taste and feel about as wonderful as cardboard. And let’s face it: no one wants to eat cardboard.
The good news? Flavorful gluten-free bread with amazing texture is not only possible, it exists. In fact, there’s an entire brand founded on one delicious idea: baked goods should not only taste good but also make you feel good.
Meet the experts in gluten-free bread: Little Northern Bakehouse. While they didn’t invent gluten-free bread, they did make it a lot more enjoyable. Little Northern Bakehouse is committed to creating allergy-friendly, non-GMO, certified gluten-free bread … without sacrificing taste or texture.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how they’re making it possible for anyone to enjoy bread. Plus, we’ll cover what gluten is, why it’s in most bread, and why you never have to settle for crumby quality again. You can use this menu to jump around:
- What is gluten?
- Why is there gluten in bread?
- Does all bread have gluten?
- Can gluten-free bread taste good?
- What types of grains are gluten-free?
- What bread is best for gluten intolerance?
- Where can you buy gluten-free bread?
What is gluten?
Gluten is a complex mixture of proteins found in wheat and is primarily made up of gliadin and glutenin. Similar combinations of proteins exist in other grains, like rye and barley, and are also called “gluten”. This is because they function in a similar way and can activate celiac disease.1
You probably know that gluten is in many grain products. But because gluten is heat stable, it’s also used in many processed foods for:
- Improving texture and flavor
- Retaining moisture
- Binding ingredients together
Because gluten is so popular in food manufacturing, it can be a challenge to find satisfying gluten-free alternatives to the foods you’re used to eating. This is especially true of baked goods, pasta, and other products traditionally made with wheat (and other gluten-containing grains).
Spoiler alert: not all grains contain gluten proteins. But we’ll get to that later.
Why is there gluten in bread?
The main source of gluten in most bread is wheat flour. Bread made with rye, barley, or even spelt flour also contains gluten.
Water mixed with these types of flours causes gluten proteins to become sticky and elastic. This helps bind the dough together, allows it to rise in the oven, and gives bread its fluffy texture.
Does all bread have gluten?
Because gluten gives bread texture and helps dough rise, you might be wondering if all bread (at least the good stuff) contains gluten.
The answer is: no! Not all bread has gluten, and it doesn’t have to have gluten to taste good. There are great alternatives to gluten-containing grains as well as clever baking methods to achieve that fluffy, delicious texture you love.
But … can gluten-free bread taste good?
Maybe we are biased, but we think bread is one of the greatest joys in life. That’s why we believe no one should have to give it up.
Gluten-free bread should taste and feel like the real thing. Think of baking as both a science and an art. Creating amazing gluten-free bread just requires the right ingredients and process. You can find great gluten-free bread recipes online, but while breadmaking can be fun, it’s also time-consuming.
That’s where Little Northern Bakehouse comes in.
Their bakers came up with a way of making incredible tasting gluten-free bread that won’t crumble when you try to butter it up. Little Northern Bakehouse loves making it possible for anyone to enjoy bread, so they also left out other common allergens, including dairy and eggs.
What types of grains are gluten-free?
There are actually many gluten-free grains! For example, here are some of Little Northern Bakehouse’s favorite gluten-free whole grains for baking up delicious bread:
Brown rice is the healthiest rice option that’s rich in dietary fiber and has high levels of magnesium.2 It also has a low glycemic index and won’t cause your blood sugar to spike.
This ancient grain has an earthy, nutty flavor and is packed with nutrients. It has been shown to have antioxidant and anti-allergic properties too.3
High in dietary fiber and lightly sweet, teff is another gluten-free whole grain that has gained popularity in the past few years.4 It also happens to be the world’s smallest whole grain!
High in protein, dietary fiber, and antioxidants, millet is another excellent (and healthy) gluten-free grain for bread making. It’s also one tough grain and naturally resistant to drought and pests.5
Red and White Quinoa
Quinoa (“keen-wah”) is a well-known superfood, but did you know it can be used in making gluten-free bread? It can be rolled into flakes or ground into flour while maintaining its incredible health benefits.6
Naturally sweet and rich in vitamins and minerals, oats are a classic gluten-free whole grain. Be careful, though! Oats are often mixed with other gluten-containing grains during processing, which is why it’s a good idea to get familiar with gluten-free certifications.
For example, One Degree Organic Foods ensures all their oats are processed in gluten-free facilities and are Certified Gluten-Free. That includes tasty instant oatmeal options, like apple cinnamon and cacao nib.
What bread is best for gluten intolerance?
To include “gluten-free” on a food label, companies have to meet standards set by the FDA. The FDA’s definition of gluten-free is a product that contains less than 20 ppm (parts per million) of gluten, which is considered safe for most celiacs and individuals with gluten sensitivities.7
However, there are third-party, independent organizations that go beyond federal regulations to verify products are gluten-free and are made in gluten-free facilities. Each organization uses a specific set of criteria to help make sure products are safe for gluten-sensitive and gluten intolerant consumers.
Where can you buy gluten-free bread?
Depending on where you live, gluten-free bread can be tricky to find in your local grocery stores. If it’s not available in the bread aisle, don’t forget to check the frozen section. Many gluten-free breads come frozen to preserve taste and texture longer.
Alternatively, you can have gluten-free bread delivered to your front door. The Oven Door offers a variety of certified gluten-free foods, including bread, cereal, and oats! We also recommend trying some of Little Northern Bakehouse’s favorites:
Whether you’re gluten-free as a lifestyle choice or because you need to avoid gluten to feel your best, you don’t have to give up bread. There are incredible gluten-free options available made with healthy and nutritious whole grains.
You can shop our certified gluten-free collection at The Oven Door. Little Northern Bakehouse also has tasty recipes to help you make the most of their bread while living that gluten-free life. Here are some top picks:
1. Biesiekierski JR. What is gluten? J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2017 Mar;32 Suppl 1:78-81. doi: 10.1111/jgh.13703. PMID: 28244676.
2. Brown Rice: Health Benefits, Nutrition Facts, and How to Prepare It. (2020, September 2). WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-brown-rice#1
3. Caselato-Sousa VM, Amaya-Farfán J. State of knowledge on amaranth grain: a comprehensive review. J Food Sci. 2012 Apr;77(4):R93-104. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2012.02645.x. PMID: 22515252.
4. Zhu F. Chemical composition and food uses of teff (Eragrostis tef). Food Chem. 2018 Jan 15;239:402-415. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2017.06.101. Epub 2017 Jun 20. PMID: 28873585.
5. What is Millet? (2020, March). Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-is-millet
6. What is Quinoa? (2021, February) Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-is-quinoa