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UPDATE: Since this test was conducted, the panel have tasted the Bfree Brown slices bread, and had it been included in this taste test, our opinion is that it would have won hands down. This is a new breed of bread. Flavoursome, wholesome, and tasty – based on a sourdough starter – it eats well as bread and toasts beautifully. Its the only one I have tried that I enjoy just with butter!
Gluten Free Mrs D says “This is the gluten free bread I’m buying at the moment. The reason is it tastes fresh, not synthetic or full of flavour enhancers – it’s also not stuffed full of fat and salt as many gluten free breads are to make them taste better. The only downside of this bread is that it doesn’t make good sandwich bread because it’s too dense. But the fact it makes such tasty, crispy toast which suits both savoury and sweet toppings more than makes up for it. ”
However because it wasn’t tasted blind in the full test, I have not included it in the results, however it is sure worth trying…
I am thrilled to introduce the next instalment of the Gluten Free Taste Test, and this time I have been joined by legendary gluten free bloggers Gluten Free Mrs D and Gluten Free Cake Lover. This time we have embarked on the immense challenge of gluten free bread. With so many brands providing increasingly cleaner, better and more nutritional breads, we felt it was time to benchmark these against each other.
By no means have we captured all the gluten free breads available, this is a sample of what is widely available through supermarkets. Reviewed blind, with all packaging removed, each bread was tasted as buttered bread and toast. The nutrition, ingredients and value for money are also compared to try and give transparency about the gluten free bread on offer in the mainstream. Each category was scored out of 10 for appearance, taste, texture, ingredients and value for money, with a total mark out of 50.
One major observation through doing this taste test was the shift in what is expected as gluten free bread. No longer satisfied with tiny dense, crumbly loaves the market is moving towards lighter, bigger slices and increasingly with seed mixes (for taste, texture and nutrition we assume). Ingredients declarations were impressively clean and leaned towards natural ‘additives’ such as psyllium husks. It’s a great thing to see vast improvements…
The verdict (in reverse order)
Marks and Spencer Brown Bloomer: 23/50
Large, wide slices, dusted with flakes of millet, were very thin but disappointing on tasting. Disintergrated as a bread, but chewy and dry as toast. At 50p a slice this was the most expensive, and the only retailer to still declare use of colourings.
Udi’s Brown Sliced Bread : 25 / 50
Looked strangely the same as bread and toast, and took a long time to brown. It was found to be tasteless and sweet, ‘on the road to cake’ and even drier as toast. At 23.6p per slice it was the second most expensive, with small slices representing poor value for money. Using flavourings (unlike many native manufacturers now) it was felt to be a rather synthetic product.
Marks and Spencer Brown Seeded Bread: 28.5 / 50
Despite great first impressions, thick slices of soft looking brown bread, it was found to be cloying with a too strong poppy seed aftertaste. As toast it was better with a good dry texture and not too sweet. At 23p a slice, its quite expensive and oddly for the brand uses colourings.
Tesco Brown Sliced Bread : 29 / 50
Looked like vintage style shop bought melba toast after toasting. Bread tasted chewy and sweet, and even sweeter on toasting. The texture was flat and the crust looked painted on. Overall looked rather synthetic. Third cheapest at 16p per slice, it surprisingly ranked highest on the ingredients analysis – using no additives, grape, apple and pear juice concentrates and no flavourings or colourings. Whilst the taste scores were very low, the ingredients and value for money raise this breads overall ranking.
Newburn Bakehouse Seeded Brown Bread : 30/50
This bread looked fragile and then disintegrated when spread with room temperature butter and there wasn’t much hope of it making a sandwich. However as toast it felt more robust and would hold a wet topping of baked beans well for example. At 18.7p per slice it was towards the top of the costs, however slices are significantly bigger than others. Use of a couple of stabilisers and preservatives and flavourings makes for a lower overall placement.
Waitrose Brown Sliced Bread – 32 / 50
Tiny slices of bread that were rather bland, with a sweet aftertaste. Much better as bread, as the toast goes rock hard on cooling. At 17p per slice, for such small slices it represents middle of the road value for money. Clean ingredients declarations raise the score of this old school style gluten free bread to average.
Genius Brown Sliced Bread – 32 / 50
Sweet and cakey this represented another ‘old school’ gluten free bread. No real flavour, the sample was better as bread than toast, especially as it was not crumbly. Average in price, use of flavourings and stabilisers makes this a middle of the road bread.
Asda Brown Sliced Bread – 37.5
Surprising the panel, this bread was tasty and had a good, non crumbly texture. Good as bread and toast which many of the samples were not, the small slice size was overlooked as it tasted so more-ish. At 14.2p per slice it presents great value for money, taste and a clean ingredients list. However, we suspect its tastier as it is 5g of fat higher than most of the other breads, therefore tastier?
Sainsbury’s Seeded Brown Loaf – 39.5
Free From Foods Award winning loaf, wins this taste test hands down. A bread that would contain a sandwich filling without falling apart, this tasted good, not too seedy and more-ish (possibly attributed to a higher fat content too, like Asda’s). At just 13p per slice and no nasties it represents not just great value, but also great taste, even though the slices are small.