If you’re gluten free then you know the struggle to find a decent gluten free bread. We’ve all had the ‘hard as a rock’ variety, the ‘turns to dust’ variety and the ‘soggy bottom is an understatement’ variety. Before you know it you’ve resided yourself to a bread free life, because having a bunless burger is simply so much nicer than the dry, yet simultaneously soggy, gluten free offering you’re always given.
I have to admit, having spent so many years of my life simply avoiding bread based alternatives due to constant disappointment, I set my standards pretty low when The Polish Bakery* approached me and asked me to try their new gluten free range, but I was to be oh so pleasantly surprised.
For starters, they’ve branched out from the usual, limited, white or brown and have come up with some truly tasty combinations such as dark with sunflower seeds.
One thing all gluten free bread sufferers can probably relate to is the completely unappetising sandy texture of untoasted gluten free bread. With no gluten providing that soft springy texture you’re left with a grainy and crumbly mouthful of mush. The ultimate test for these new loaves was to eat a slice of each completely plain and untoasted.
As soon as you take them out of the packet you can tell that something is very different here from the usual gluten free varieties. Firstly the texture is not close, but instead light and airy. Secondly, there’s actually a spongy give in the bread almost reminiscent of that found in ordinary bread. Finally the smell, I can only describe it as that oven baked crust smell, the essence of bread, as I opened up each packet a delightful waft of fresh bread gave me a comforting hug.
The white loaf was first for the no-frills taste test, surprisingly there was quite a lot of flavour, the texture, although still quite dry, was not grainy or sandy.
Next the dark with sunflower seeds, this loaf had a malty smell to it, like a dark rye would, the sunflower seeds not only adorned the crust like little shiny jewels but were also peppered throughout the loaf. Packed full of toasted sunflower flavour this was by far my favourite of the three to eat plain.
Finally the dark with mixed seeds variety. Much like the sunflower seed loaf this too had that strong malty smell, the seeds glistened all over the loaf and gave a truly satisfying nutty crunch.
Having eaten three slices of plain bread next was the toasted test.
Each slice was toasted and then topped with a slightly wet ingredient to see if the dreaded soggy bottom would make an appearance.
The white slice I topped with bramble jelly and a drizzle of chunky peanut butter. The dark with sunflower played host to freshly cut strawberries and chia seeds. Finally, the dark with mixed seeds was slathered with a thick layer of crunchy peanut butter.
I let them sit for a few minutes to see if they would turn to a soggy mush and can confirm that they didn’t. Once toasted the dark malty flavour of the two seeded loaves intensified, making the bread an actual part of the overall taste instead of just the carrier. The white bread toasted well also, gaining a nice amber colouring and retaining a really nice chewy crunch.
Considering the gluten free bread is not only gluten free but dairy free and egg free they have managed to get an amazing texture into the loaves. I have to admit I was very impressed by the gluten free range from The Polish Bakery and other gluten free companies should beware! Keep an eye out for them coming to shops near you.
*The Polish Bakery kindly sent me samples to review, however all opinions, as always, are my own.