For the seventh day of a gluten free Christmas we decided to try a selection of gluten free brown bread, so that it can be served to complement a starter or used for sandwiches.
In the past, gluten free bread has left a lot to be desired. In fact when I was first diagnosed as a coeliac, over twenty years ago, you could only get it from specialist health food shops and on prescription, prior to that it used to be sold in a tin! However, since then, there has been nothing short of a revolution. We started making and selling fresh, gluten free bread over 10 years ago when we ran our gluten free bakery, but the national availability of ‘fresh’ gluten free bread from retailers, has only really been in place for the past two/three years approximately.
This has made it so much easier for caterers (and friends and family) to ‘buy in’ gluten free options for the coeliac guest. What is important to remember though, is just buying in gluten free options is not enough. Managing them is another matter all together. Coeliacs react to the smallest amount of gluten – in order to label a food item gluten free, by law in the EU it must contain less than or equal to 20 parts per million gluten. To put that into perspective it’s equivalent to one teaspoon per 500 litres of liquid. Or to put it another way:
An average slice of bread weighs 50g.
The average slice of whole wheat bread contains 4.8g of gluten.
A coeliac will react to less than 20 parts per million of 4.8g
So, as a proportion, 20 millionths of 4.8g equals 0.000096g.
Therefore, a coeliac can only safely consume 0.0048g of bread a day (50g multiplied by 0.000096)
…a minuscule amount, so as you can see – even a few crumbs on a butter knife will make the coeliac guest ill.
Different food stuffs contain different levels of gluten, so for example pasta contains more gluten than bread and thus the amount safely allowable to consume is less. Moreover, all the food ingested during the day is cumulative, so a minor amount of gluten at lunch, plus a bit at dinner can make a coeliac very ill by the end of the day.
So, if you are providing a gluten free option, please ensure that clean utensils and boards are used, and that all steps are taken to reduce any potential risks.
As always, all of the products are reviewed independently and the commentary is our own.
Click the video below to see the results of our taste testing.