Battle of the Bread Part Two – Gluten Free White Bread Review

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Here we are again folks!

Part Two of the Gluten Free Bread Review

You see, it’s so cool, it evens rhymes! Many of you will remember my last bread review post where DS Wholesome was crowned the winner of all UK branded loaves.

This time it’s gonna be aaalllwhite! That means no seeds, no whole, no meal, just plain old white bread. Why white bread? What’s the big difference, I hear you cry.

You did cry didn’t you?

I wasn’t just hearing things?

Oh good! I was getting worried for a minute.

Anywho, I digress. Back to white bread. White bread separates the men from the boys and because I believe in equality, it also separates the women from the girls. Why? I hear you ask…

Well because it’s bread at its bare minimum, highly refined and processed, there’s not a huge amount of natural flavour, so all your mistakes show.  You can’t hide behind the seeds and the wholegrains because elasticity and gluten play a big role in white bread construction.

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This time I opted to go for all brands (branded and supermarket own brand that is) because many of you, following on from my last review, felt all loaves should be part of the review, plus a lot of you had own brand favourites which you felt could easily stand up to the big branded names and I have to say, you were right. …….

I didn’t include availability this time because the supermarket loaves automatically have less availability that the branded loaves.  All of them froze well again so I didn’t feel the need to mention that. It’s mostly based on taste this time, followed by toast, sandwich making etc.. That is, versatility of the loaf.

These views are my own, yours may be different, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still be friends🙂

Feel free to disagree and let me know which is your personal fave.

P.S. Disclaimer: I’ve made up a few of words in this review only to see if you could spot them of course *cough cough* Don’t be surprised if you soon see words such as holeful and pressability in the Oxford dictionary! Pressability of course describes the action of pressing the bread and the bread staying in place, as opposed to cracking and crumbling all over the floor.

Pressability is good.

Availabilty is unfortunately still a joke.

It took me months to write this review, mainly because the availability of the loaves were SO unpredictable and erratic.  It got to a point where if I saw a loaf, I bought it, whether I needed to or not, simply because I had no idea if and when I’d see it again.  Customer advisors in the supermarkets are equally clueless. It’s a bit like a food treasure hunt! I bought all the loaves meself, bar Just: and the Fria replacement loaf. Prices vary depending where you live and as usual let me know if I’ve missed anything🙂

Best and worst gluten free sliced white loaves revealed Here we go!

14. The Co-operative Free-From White Sliced Bread

business man shrug

It’s supposed to looks like this

Price:???

Available in: Who knows?

Ingredients: No idea

Any other benefits?: No siree!

Ladies and Gentlemen.

This bread does not exist.

That is the conclusion, I’ve drawn from the monosyllabic Simon on twitter, unanswered emails and Facebook messages, as well as three calls to the Cooperative Food Customer Care line. Not to forget, me physically visiting 6 different co-op stores and calling another 8 dotted all over London and Essex.

Yes it’s frustrating not being able to find something that I keep being told exists, but what bothers me even more, is Co-op staff’s complete lack of interest and concern as well as their appalling lack of knowledge in the gluten free products that they stock in their own shops! From shop assistant, to customer care phone advisor right up to Store Managers. I don’t think I’ve ever met such clueless, unhelpful staff in all my life. Those of you that follow me on Facebook, already know of my displeasure when I asked a Coop employee in a Coop store if they had a free-from aisle.  He looked completely confused and replied…”er… No?” When I asked him if he knew what free from was, he said “Yes free-range!” I think that says it all.

It wasn’t uncommon for me to have to ask 3 different people in the same store before I stumbled on a “No”, regarding the sale and availability of gluten free products. Based on my experience and their poor customer training on free-from, gluten free products and general disinterest in the gluten-free community.  Not only will I not buy their mythological gluten-free bread, I will not be rushing to buy anything in their stores in the near future either.

The Cooperative Food. You Are The Weakest Link.

Goodbye!

13. Udi’s White Sandwich bread

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Price: £2.20

Available in: Tesco, udisglutenfree.co.uk, Ocado

Ingredients: Tapioca Starch, Water, Rice Flour, Potato Starch, Rapeseed Oil, Humectant (Glycerine),  Egg White Powder, Psyllium Husk Powder, Yeast, Thickener (Hydroxypropyl Methyl Cellulose), Dextrose, Rice Bran Extract, Salt, Preservative (Calcium Propionate), Flavouring.

Any other benefits?: Dairy Free

Udi’s, Udi’s, Udi’s, you clearly haven’t learnt from your mistakes have you? Let’s put it this way if I were Alan Sugar and Udis’ were on the apprentice.  I’d a fired it ages ago.  It’s like they’re not even trying.  It looks, feels and tastes synthetic. How can I describe the taste?  Get a length of thick hemp rope, you know, the kind used for sailing, that looks a bit like this. Lick it from top to bottom and that is the displeasure and taste your mouth will feel after it’s eaten a slice of Udi’s sliced white bread.  The texture is so off-putting and this is when it’s in your hand, before you’ve even placed it in your mouth.  it feels rough and lacks taste.  It does taste better when you’ve toasted it, but this is at full blast, the highest setting your toaster can handle for you to get some sort of value out of the loaf.  All in all, yet another poor effort from the guys at Udi’s. P.S. It now contains egg.

12. Newburn Bakehouse (by Warburtons) White Farmhouse Loaf

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Price: £2.99/£3.00

Available in: Sainsburys, Asda, Waitrose, Tesco, Morrisons, Ocado, Dialachemist, Tesco Express, Booth

Ingredients: Water, Tapioca Starch, Potato Starch, Yeast, Rapeseed Oil, Pea Protein, Maize Starch, Egg White Powder, Stabiliser: E464; Vegetable Fibre (Psyllium), Cornflour, Sugar, Calcium Carbonate, Concentrated Fruit Juice, Rice Starch, Salt, Humectant: Vegetable Glycerine; Preservative: Calcium Propionate (added to inhibit mould growth); Natural Flavouring, Iron.

Any other benefits?: Dairy free, Suitable for Vegetarians,

This bread makes me sad. If you feel like you haven’t had a good cry in ages. Buy a loaf of this and start eating.  Very similar textural qualities to the Udi’s loaf.  Just a smidgen more palatable.  If there were such a thing as flat combed sawdust this would be it.  Add a touch of cardboard to the taste and texture and that’s the Newburn Bakehouse loaf. Plus sides? It’s big, downsides? Too many to mention.

11. Pure Bred White Farmhouse loaf

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Price: £2.49

Available in: Ocado (UK) Coles and Woolworths (Australia)

Ingredients: Water, Rice Flour (Folic Acid, Vitamin B3), Tapioca Starch, Maize Starch, Thickeners (E460ii, E464, E461, E466, E415), Psyllium Husk Powder, Potato Starch, Egg Albumen Powder, Yeast, Rapeseed Oil, Sugar, Rice Starch, Native Maize Starch, Salt, Preservative (E281, E200), Wholegrain Maize Flour, Wholegrain Maize Starch, Rice Bran Extract, Starter Culture

Any other benefits?: Low fat, High Fibre, Dairy free

I generally get suspicious when I see, low fat and gluten free together because it often results in poor taste. Sold in Ireland and Australia, PureBred state on their website that their loaves have won awards. Being new kids on the block, at least in the U.K. I wanted to put my prejudice aside and give them a chance….

I wish I hadn’t! The crust was extremely bitter and the texture was dry and powdery, with a similar mouthfeel to a slab of thick dry cake.  It just about slides down your throat on eating.  The loaf itself had no movement or elasticity and didn’t improve at all with toasting or refreshing.  Save your money folks!

10. Bfree Soft White Loaf 

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Price: £2.49

Available in: Ocado

Ingredients: Water, Corn Starch, Tapioca Starch, Potato Starch, Dried Egg White, White Rice Flour, Buckwheat Flour, Rice Bran, Thickening Agent: Xanthan Gum, Yeast, Cellulose, Sourdough (Fermented Quinoa and Rice Flour), Psyllium, Salt, Rapeseed Oil, Pea Protein, Agar Agar, Potassium Sorbate, Thickening Agent: Guar Gum, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Flour Treatment Agent: Ascorbic Acid, Raising Agent: Sodium Bicarbonate.

Any other benefits?: Dairy free

Yup, it’s another low fat, gluten free loaf, You know what that means! Well, the texture was O.K., passable even, it had a good crust on it, but the taste was acidic, bordering on chemical and the slices although wide, were quite thin. it was like eating a loaf sliced by a mandolin.  You could rip the loaf with your fingers.  The packaging was a little clumsy because the loaf fitted in sideways and the plastic was quite thin and actually ripped as I was eating it, so I had to keep it in a sandwich bag.  I found the taste unpleasant, sour and far too tart.  Not unlike the taste of sourdough bread that didn’t quite come out as expected.  The whole taste experience was quite odd, however it did taste better toasted, but needed a little longer in the toaster than the other loaves.

9. Waitrose LOVE LIFE Gluten-free white sliced loaf

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Price: £2.50

Available in Waitrose, waitrose.com and Ocado

Ingredients: Water, Tapioca Starch, Rice Flour, Potato Starch, Sunflower Oil, Humectant Vegetable Glycerine, Polenta, Yeast, Psyllium Husk Powder, Dextrose Monohydrate, Stabiliser Hydroxypropyl Methyl Cellulose, Dried Free Range Egg Albumen, Maize Flour, Salt, Maize Starch, Preservative Calcium Propionate, Rice Starch.

Any other benefits?: Suitable for vegetarians

This was a small loaf and generally gfree small loaves are small on size but big on taste. Not this one.  Three words describe this loaf perfectly: Dry, dry and dry! This was the driest of all the loaves I tested, if not for a slight and I mean slight advantage over the first few on taste, it would have come last. Slightly better refreshed, not great for toast. This loaf doesn’t pass the sandwich test.

8. Marks and Spencer Made Without Wheat White loaf

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Price: £3.00

Available in: Marks and Spencer

Ingredients: Gluten Free Flour (Rice Flour, Tapioca Flour, Potato Starch, Maize Flour, Cornflour) Water, Sunflower Oil, Psyllium Husk Powder, Yeast, Golden Syrup (Invert Sugar Syrup), Dried Free Range Egg White, Humectant, Glycerol, Salt, Stabiliser, E464

Any other benefits?:

Not much to say about this.  It’s just your bog-standard gfree loaf, nothing wowed me, nothing amazed me.  The texture was…acceptable, the taste unsatisfactory, but it wasn’t as bitter at the bottom loaves so got bumped up a bit.  I felt the loaf was small and far too expensive for its size taste and poor quality.  Won’t be buying this again.

7. Sainsbury’s Free From White sliced bread

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Price: £2.00

Available in Sainsbury’s and sainsburys.co.uk

Ingredients: Water, Tapioca Starch, Rice Flour, Potato Starch, Sunflower Oil, Yeast, Humectant: Glycerine; Stabiliser: Hydroxypropyl Methyl Cellulose; Maize Starch, Dried Egg White, Sugar, Psyllium Husk Powder, Maize Flour, Salt, Rice Starch, Preservative: Calcium Propionate.

Any other benefits?: Dairy free

First of, I’m not a huge fan of the packaging.  It says, illness, it says prescription, it says special and those are not things I want my packaging to say to me.  The upside is, you can eat half the loaf and save the rest for later, which is handy if you’re not a huge bread eater. The first thing my eye was drawn too was a little blue label that said. Best eaten hot. Uh-oh! I thought and firmly raised my red flag. I had to shamefully put it down a moment letter because the texture was extraordinary.  I hadn’t expected it to be so soft.  Excellent pressability, my thumb even left a small print behind on the bread, BUT…once I’d buttered it, i had to apologise to my red flag but putting it down so abruptly.  It was right! Great on physical feel and maybe texture but not great on taste.  The loaf was dry with a slightly bitter aftertaste.  Didn’t taste much better toasted or refreshed i.e. a quick blitz in the microwave, which only made the texture slightly gummy. It’s not expensive but I wouldn’t buy it again.

6. Fria Vita

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Price: £3.75-£4.50

Available in: Fria stockists

Ingredients: Wheat starch (gluten-free), water, modified corn and tapioca starch, vegetable oil, sugar, yeast, thickeners: locust bean-, guar-, tara gum, pectin and E466, rice flour, salt, sugar beet fiber, emulsifiers: lecithin (rapeseed) and E 471 (veg), psyllium husk, flavouring (natural).

Any other benefits?: Dairy free and Suitable for vegans (please see my first bread review for information about wheat starch)

I’ve tasted the Fria white loaf before so there weren’t any huge surprises.  It’s the one Fria product that I’m not crazy about. Like many of the other loaves in this review, it just doesn’t taste…real…It has this gummy texture when you eat it, that doesn’t really seem to go away.  Good crust and structure, small size like most Fria loaves, but really nothing to write home about. En plus…The Curse of the Gfree hole has hit Fria!!!

Hole-o there!

Hole-o there!

I think I actually shed a tear, I was so dismayed…and surprised! Cos unlike the Genius loaf, I’ve NEVER had this problem with Fria bread. I thought they combat the ‘hole’ problem by having smaller loaves? Anyways it was there and when the loaves are that small and that expensive, it doesn’t make you feel great.

When I told Fria what had happened though. I had a reply and an offer to send a replacement within 24 hours and the replacement was received a few weeks later, hole free.🙂 Having said all that minus the holes.  I felt the loaf lacked quality and fell short compared to the other Fria loaves, it’s definitely my least favourite of the Fria range.

5. Just: Good White bread – Sliced

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Price: £2.29 – £4.50

Available in: Wholefoods, justglutenfree.co.uk

Any other benefits?: Dairy Free, Egg Free, Suitable for Vegetarians, Suitable for Vegans, low sugar content

ingredients: Water, Tapioca starch, Rice flour, Rapeseed oil, Potatoes, Psyllium husk, Humectant: Glycerine, Stabiliser: Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Maize flour, Sugar, Yeast, Salt.

This bread was satisfactory, had less flavour than some of the other loaves, but still had some taste, The low sugar content meant it took longer to toast compared to some of the other brands, but it gave a decent slice of toast.  If you buy it direct from Just: you should be fine, but I felt it was way too expensive in Wholefoods for what you got, so not really value for money, because there are no preservatives in this loaf, you need to keep an eye on the expiration date, because before you blink, it’s all over. Not a bad attempt, but not one I’d rush out to buy.

4. DS Wholesome White sliced loaf

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Price: £2.50

Available in: Morrisons, Waitrose and The Co-operative and dsonline

Any other benefits?: Suitable for coeliacs, Suitable for vegetarians, no artificial colours and flavours, no artificial preservatives, additive free, GM and MSG free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Milk Free, Nut Free, Peanut Free, Wheat Free

Ingredients: Water, maize starch, sour dough 16% (rice flour, water), rice starch, cereals 4,3% (millet flour 2,6%, quinoa flour 1,7%), apple fibre, sugar beet syrup, sunflower oil, rice syrup, soy flakes 2,1%, sunflower seeds 2,1%, soy bran 1,9%, linseeds 1,9%, thickener: hydroxypropyl methylcellulose; millet flakes 1,4%, soyprotein, yeast, sea salt, honey.

I liked the idea of this loaf, because white sliced bread isn’t exactly renowned for being healthy and it seems as though they tried to focus on taste as well as nutrition, a quick glance at the ingredients show seeds, mlllet, quinoa, so nice healthy additions and I liked the fact that there were no artificial ingredients. Availability is erratic.  Your best bet is The Co-operative who seem to always have a good stock in. I had my hopes sky high for these guys and would have saved it till last on the taste test, if not for the expiry date! Simply because they won last time and overwhelmingly. But *sigh* I was disappointed. The crust of the bread was really hard, and was a sharp unpleasant contrast to the texture of the bread which wasn’t that soft. Taste wasn’t so great, I found the loaf a little bland but strangely this loaf makes AMAZING toast! Weird I know. So I basically just used it as my toast loaf but wouldn’t recommend eating it straight out of the pack.

3. Genius Soft White Sandwich Bread

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Price: £3.00

Available in.  Again wide availability, The Co-operative, Ocado, Asda, Waitrose, Genius online, Sainsburys, Tesco

Ingredients: Water, Tapioca Starch, Rice Flour, Potato Starch, Rapeseed Oil, Maize Starch, Psyllium Husk Powder, Humectant (Vegetable Glycerine), Sugar, Stabiliser (Hydroxypropyl Methyl Cellulose), Dried Egg White, Yeast, Flax Seeds, Salt, Flavouring, Rice Starch, Preservative (Calcium Propionate).

Any other benefits?: Dairy free

From  ‘holeful’ to ‘holefree’. First and foremost a big congratulations because this loaf ladies and gents, had no holes!🙂 Yay! The softness was really incomparable.  Genius bread is definitely the softest on the market, upon opening the loaf but…yes there’s a but.  I found it too soft, it was so soft it bordered on underbaked which made it feel pasty and doughy in your mouth at times.  I also felt it was way too sweet.  It was almost like eating dessert or a sprinkle of sugar with everything.  A sandwich with a sprinkle of sugar is odd to the tastebuds and certainly not my cup of tea.  A light, fresh loaf that didn’t crumble but was still quite a fragile thing, that needed to be handled carefully.  It can be eaten directly from the pack.

2. Tesco Free From White Sliced Bread

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Price: £2.40

Available in: Tesco and tesco.com

Tesco Ingredients: Water, Tapioca Starch, Rice Flour, Potato Starch, Vegetable Oil, Humectant (Glycerine), Psyllium Husk Powder, Yeast, Stabiliser (Hydroxypropyl Methyl Cellulose), Dried Egg White, Rice Starch, Dextrose, Salt, Concentrated Fruit Juice (Apple Juice, Pear Juice, Grape Juice), Preservative (Calcium Propionate)

Any other benefits?: Milk free, egg free

Now this loaf wasn’t bad, a decent size, a good crust, great pressability and texture, slightly lacking on the taste but still a pleasant flavour.  It doesn’t have to be toasted before eating but I found it a little dry personally. I also noticed the beginning of a hole peeking through at the bottom of a loaf😦 Nonetheless, it rates well as a good second best and my makeshift chip sandwich butty didn’t have any complaints, but it seemed a little like the cake without the icing.  It didn’t quite run that extra mile to achieve greatness, but it’s certainly a decent loaf.

1. Asda Chosen By You Free From Sliced White Bread

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Price: £1.50 -£2.00

Available in: Asda and asda.com

Ingredients: Water , Tapioca Starch , Rice Flour , Potato Starch , Sunflower Oil , Yeast , Humectant (Glycerol) , Stabiliser (Hydroxypropyl Methyl Cellulose) , Dried Egg , Sugar , Maize Starch , Psyllium Husk Powder , Maize Flour , Salt , Maize Starch , Rice Starch , Preservative (Calcium Propionate) .

Any other benefits?: Dairy free, Milk free, Suitable for vegetarians, Free From artificial colours and flavours

The first thing that impressed me about this loaf was the sheer size. Us gluten-intolerant folk have got used to miniature loaves, that children may mistake for play food.  For whatever reason gluten-free loaves are small but this one was clearly ready to play with the big boys in the market.  I mean the literal big boys, like Genius and Warburtons.  If I’m honest with you, I wasn’t expecting much from the Asda loaf, they’re not really prominent on the gfree scene compared to other supermarkets and I guess I got stuck in my ways.

Please forgive me for my ignorance dear Asda loaf because I was so wrong.  This loaf behaves like bread,gluten bread that is, it can be eaten straight from the pack, feels beautifully soft with a memory foam like flexibility which curved with the palm of my hand as I was buttering. Nice sturdy crust and a taste that took me way back to the stone ages when I still ate gluten.  It looks good, tastes good and toasts well. I don’t even like white bread and I ate four slices in one sitting! I could easily see this as a loaf that the whole family could enjoy without feeling as though they were compromising on taste.  I actually had to check the packet a few times to make sure it really was gluten-free…. and guys, it’s £1.50! That’s easily the cheapest price I’ve ever seen for a gluten-free loaf of bread. Superb value for money in every single way.  I don’t have a single complaint. Kudos Asda, you’ve done a great job with this one.

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8 thoughts on “Battle of the Bread Part Two – Gluten Free White Bread Review

  1. Loved reading this. I laughed. I cried. How difficult is it to make a good white gluten free loaf that doesn’t taste bitter and isn’t full of chemicals, fat and sugar. Obviously a lot harder then it looks. With all the money thrown at this and with the army of food technologists out there surely the likes of Udi’s, Genius and Marks and Spencer can do better. What’s lacking is some simple, back to basics creative baking and dare I say, some unbiased customer feedback. I’d love to show em how good a loaf they can make if they put their tastebuds first and their big fat wallets second. Can I send you my latest sourdough bread for ruthless, unbiased testing. I want to hear you pull it apart crumb by crumb, slice by slice and I want to hear the verdict. Say the word and it’s yours to rip into. Adriana x

    • You know, I actually hadn’t realised the white gfree loaf situation was so dire until I did this review. There are SO many awful tasting loaves it’s incredible, but I had expected more from M&S and Waitrose who market themselves as premium brands. Udi’s depresses me and as for Genius, no comment. If you’re looking for brutal honesty, come on over to the Curious Kitchen where crumb dissection is a speciality!🙂 Drop me an email thecuriousbaker1[at]gmail[dot]com

  2. Well done again! Down here in the Sticks I usually try the fried egg sandwich test on new bread. I shall be near an ASDA during the week so will pop in to get a loaf and see how it does with one of Farmer Eric’s eggs. I made a batch of Claudia Roden’s Marquesas (Almond cupcakes) yesterday. they are easy to make and have Cornflour and Ground Almonds in them. They are fab with Coffee. The recipe is in “The food of Spain book” which is a gorgeous cookery book, great pictures, stories and recipes. I recently discovered that we have a different Coop down here, its “Radco” set up in Radstock for the Miners in the Somerset Coal field which may explain why we have different free from products and they are more helpful. BX

    • Fried egg test huh? I like it, might use it in my next review, but I think I’ll give gfree bread a break for a little while! You’re fast becoming my cookbook junkie! lol! The Food of Spain? I’ll have to get that one as well, I’m turning into a collector! Recipe sounds good though. If your guys in Radco were helpful, it’s definitely NOT the same company! You should be happy cos Coop here need to Co-out! Thanks for dropping by and leaving your thoughts. x

  3. Have you tried anything from the Wheat Free Bakery Online? I’ve just discovered them and they’re marvellous – their tiger loaf tastes like proper bread! Well worth the delivery charge.

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