When it comes to gluten-free bread (or any other bread, for that matter), the time-honored consensus is that homemade beats store-bought, anytime. A few years ago, this was very true, since the couple of gluten-free products on the market didn't offer much in terms of taste or texture.
But few among us have time to bake our own bread, and fortunately, gluten-free manufacturers have stepped up with an ever-broadening variety of excellent store-bought gluten-free bread products. Here's a rundown of what brands are available.
Canyon Bakehouse, the winner of the 2012 About.com Readers' Choice Award for Best Gluten-Free Bread, makes 7-Grain, Cinnamon Raisin, Mountain White and Deli-Style Rye (which, of course, isn't really made from the gluten grain rye). All can be purchased through the company's website, or you also can find Canyon Bakehouse products in the bakery sections of more than 750 Target stores in the U.S.
Canyon Bakehouse products are free of dairy, casein, nuts and soy, but include eggs. The company tests its products to make certain they contain less than 5 parts per million of gluten.
Ener-G, a Washington state company specializing in allergen-free products, offers 18 different types of bread, ranging from basic white tapioca sliced bread to high-fiber and flax seed loaves. Many of Ener-G's products cater to those with additional allergies or intolerances. For example, you can purchase yeast-free gluten-free bread loaves in both brown and white rice flavors, plus egg-free raisin bread.
Conventional supermarkets often stock one or more types of Ener-G bread, and you can order the products online. Ener-G products are produced in a gluten-free, dairy-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free and Kosher-certified facility, and the company tests its products to make sure they contain fewer than 5 parts per million of gluten.
Glutino makes four different types of sandwich breads: harvest corn bread, flax seed bread, cinnamon and raisin bread and fiber bread. All the varieties contain eggs, and may contain traces of soy and sesame.
All Glutino products are preservative-free, so it's best if you keep them frozen and defrost a few slices in the microwave immediately before serving. Glutino, which sells its breads online and through grocery and health food stores, tests its products to contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten.
Kinnikinnick Foods produces 12 different kinds of gluten-free breads, including basic white and brown sandwich breads, raisin bread, honey brown rice bread and even "festival bread," filled with candied fruit and sold only in November and December. The company also makes two yeast-free breads for those who also avoid yeast: multi-grain and tapioca.
The University of Nebraska has certified Kinnikinnick's products to contain fewer than 5 parts per million of gluten, and the breads are produced in a nut-free facility.
New Grains Gluten-Free Bakery makes five different breads, including multigrain, cinnamon raisin, Italian, sourdough and white sandwich bread. All contain yeast and eggs.
According to New Grains Bakery CEO and founder Tim Lawson, New Grains carefully sources all of its raw materials and grinds its own flour onsite from whole gluten-free grains in order to eliminate most sources of gluten cross-contamination. The breads are available at several locations in Utah and Arizona, and online.
Rudi's Gluten-Free Bakery (not to be confused with Udi's Gluten-Free) makes three different types of sliced breads: original, multi-grain and cinnamon raisin. All contain eggs.
The breads are certified by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization to contain less than 10 parts per million of gluten. Although Rudi's does not have a separate, gluten-free facility, the company bakes its gluten-free products on separate, dedicated equipment and on separate production days. You can purchase Rudi's products online or in select supermarkets.
7. Schar USA
Schar USA, which has been expanding its gluten-free selections with a new facility in New Jersey, offers four sandwich bread products, including classic white bread, multigrain bread, hearty grain frozen bread and hearty white frozen bread.
All Schar sandwich breads are lactose free as well as gluten-free, and several omit eggs.
8. Three Bakers
Three Bakers, formerly known as The Grainless Baker, makes whole-grain bread in white, rye-style and "Seven Ancient Grains." All contain eggs and yeast.
You can buy gluten-free breads from Three Bakers online or through some stores. All breads and other products from Three Bakers have been tested to contain fewer than 5 parts per million of gluten.
Udi's Gluten-Free offers five different breads — whole grain bread, white sandwich bread, millet-chia bread, omega flax and fiber bread and cinnamon raisin bread, all of which have won kudos from the gluten-free community. The breads include tapioca and brown rice ingredients, along with eggs.
Udi's is certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization, which tests to below 10 parts per million of gluten. You can buy Udi's products in an expanding number of grocery stores, plus at the company's online store.
If you live near a Whole Foods supermarket, you may find Whole Foods Gluten-Free Bakehouse products, which are not available in every store and unfortunately cannot be ordered online. Gluten-Free Bakehouse offers several different types of breads, including honey oat bread (made with certified gluten-free oats), Prairie bread, sandwich bread, corn bread and sundried tomato and roasted garlic bread.
Gluten-Free Bakehouse products are made in a gluten-free facility and are tested to make sure they contain less than 5 parts per million of gluten.