Monday, April 6, 2009

Taste Testing Bread

The Food Tasting Group met for the second time last Sunday, and Karen was our fabulous hostess. She had chosen bread as the food of choice and had many different kinds for us to sample. Patty, the Naturopath contributed to the party by bringing 2 loaves of bread that aren’t available in any of our local health food stores. This ended up being a big teaser in the end, since one of her breads ended up being one of the favorites.

We taste tested ten different breads, mostly from the specialty store Trader Joes. There was a wide variety from Sourdough to Millet to Spelt to Potato to Focaccia to Mock Rye. Some were gluten free and most were high fructose corn syrup free.

There was no obvious winner among the ten, but the one bread that impressed and surprised the most of us was Lori Bakes Gluten Free Millet Bread. Everybody was surprised by the flavor and consistency – some thought it was similar to day old cornbread while others likened it to pound cake. It was very airy and light and crumbled easily. The taste was mild, but pleasant. Patty insisted that not only did it taste better when toasted, it crumbled less, so we decided to put that theory to a taste test and guess what? We all agreed with Patty. Take a look at how much was left by the end of the party...

The millet bread contained water, egg white, millet flour, potato starch, white rice flour, cornstarch, tapioca flour, nonfat instant dry milk, canola oil, sugar, xanthan gum, salt, active dry yeast, distilled white vinegar.

With Patty’s business and connections she is fortunate enough to have access to this bread, but the rest of us are not as lucky since none of the health food stores in our area are carrying it at this time. I think we need to change that.

Trader Joe’s Sourdough bread won the hearts of a few of the testers with it’s minimal ingredients of enriched flour, water, light rye flour, and salt.

Trader Joe’s other Sourdough bread with Asiago and Black Peppercorns caught a few people’s attention as well. I can tell you personally that if you cracked a little peppercorn in your mouth, it would definitely get your attention! The ingredients for this bread favorite were minimal as well – including wheat flour, water, sea salt, asiago cheese, and peppercorn.

There was a Potato Bread by Schwebels with high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, and other undesirables, and newcomer, Joanne was a big fan of that one. I don’t think the rest of us argued that the taste was pleasant, I just think we all knew from the first bite that there was nothing healthy about the loaf, end of story.

Trader Joe's Spelt bread and Rosemary Focaccia got a nod or two from the crowd, but they were not majority winners.

The Mock Rye by Lori Bakes was definitely not as big of a hit as the Millet bread had been, mostly because there weren’t a lot of rye fans at the table. Patty did mention that she has clients that love rye and typically can’t find gluten free rye, so this is a big bonus for the gluten free rye lovers out there.

So what did we learn today? Lori Bakes is a company that bakes gluten free breads and does it well. There is a much higher demand out there for gluten free foods, so next time you’re in your health food store, look for Lori Bakes products and give them a try. If your store does not carry them, speak up and ask that they do.

Next Food Tasting is Cheese and Wine!! Who wants to Come?!


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