Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Premade bread products

If you aren't gluten intolerant you take bought bread for granted but when I found out I couldn't eat gluten, which was a few years ago now, there is pretty much no pre-made bread available. Well there was a bit but only on prescription and it was frankly disgusting, dry, hard and not at all like bread.

Gradually that has got better though it is still hit and miss and some of it is frankly terrible even today and pretty much all of it is expensive. However some companies stand out and the good ones are getting more common by the day. Dietary Specialists was one of the first that made stuff that could be considered edible and their pizza is a staple in our freezer.

There are others who make individual products I like though often it is hard to find them as most shops here carry a very limited range. I keep meaning to start using mail order but as yet haven't been organised enough or indeed felt the need, however this pregnancy I have been eating more as it is easy and brainless to have a sandwich and I have found I need more carbs than normal. It is testament to how much better the bread is that I can do that because however tired and off colour I was four years ago with my last pregnancy I would not have considered it, the bread was just too bad.

One of the biggest changes is that nearly all the supermarkets have Free From ranges now, sets of products that are free from not just gluten but things like milk and eggs as well. I'm not a huge fan of supermarkets, I'd much rather buy from local shops and do try to but it is true it is easier to go to a supermarket and we have quite a few within easy reach. One we don't have however is Waitrose which i really wish we did because they are the only ones who do fresh gluten free products.. yes fresh and good too. However we can get them through Ocardo which is a delivery only supermarket which works in partnership with waitrose and sells their products. It really threw me the first time as I was used to long use by dates but fresh is better in many ways.

Tesco's and Salisburys have had their own ranges for ages but the ones near us carry a very limited range. I know the range is much bigger as I've seen it when I've visited other cities but Coventry is a bit of a blackhole in many ways.

Asda and Morisons are the two we go to most often and till recently they were both very sparse on such things but recently seemed to have upped their game and I'm fairly convinced they are using the same manufacturer. Morrisons is branded as thier own free from range but Asda are selling them under the Livwell brand. Their rolls certainly seem to be the same product, they have a good taste and are less dry than most though they do suffer a little from falling apart.

If I am feeling slightly less lazy I like the bread mixes sold by Lakelands, they come all the way from Australia and I'd like to see a similar British product but they make good bread. It is very strange the first time you make it as it is very liquid and has to be cooked in a tin but it rises well and has a good texture.

Cakes and biscuits I do buy a few of but I'm more likely to make those from scratch. While we do still have normal bread in the house for everyone else we don't tend to have any normal flour for cooking and the bread is kept in it's own area outside the kitchen proper. The price would have to come down more before I bought gluten free bread for everyone and to be honest the size of the loaf and the quality would still need to improve more as well. That said my four year old claims to prefer my bread to the real stuff though he eats the normal stuff much more than mine, I can't see why anyone would prefer gluten free to fresh bread from the bakers and we don't tend to buy they cheap sliced plastic stuff. The slice size is good for him where as my husband claims a full size loaf has four slices !!

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