Why is it so difficult to make good gluten free bread?

Added on 25 Aug, 2011 . There are .

There doesn't seem to be any consistency in the various gluten free breads on the market. Why? If some gluten free bakeries can do it why can't others? There are still gluten free breads being sold that are just the same hard, crumbly brick they have been for the last 10 years.

At a local weekly summer market I bought some gluten free cupcakes and banana bread from a gluten free stall that uses a dedicated gluten free kitchen. The stallholder then tried to persuade me to buy some of her "really good" gluten free bread. I picked it up, it was a brick, so I very politely demurred explaining that I was looking for something a little lighter. By the way, the cupcakes and banana bread were great, with the exception of the frosting, which I had to scrape off.

This week I bought a couple of loaves of cheese bread and flax bread in a Calgary whole food store who stock the most wonderful selection of wheat & gluten free products and alternative flours. The breads looked pretty good, felt quite springy (through the bag), were made locally, and apart from the horrendous price seemed to have potential for packup lunches.

On trying them they were literally nothing more than over-aerated fluff, and I couldn't distinguish in taste which was the cheese bread and which the flax. Checking their website, I was horrified to see that they don't bake their gluten free products in a dedicated bakery. In fact although their website says "...we cater to wheat-free..." they use wheat flour and spelt flour in their bakery too. I won't miss not eating the rest of the loaves, though I may wince at throwing away $'s that I could have spent on something else.

I know good gluten free bread is possible, I've tried it. Friends visiting the US have also found really great tasting gluten free bread that looks, feels and tastes just like real bread, (I just wish they could remember the name of the bakery).

If you have any really good gluten free breads that you want to recommend then let us know and we'll publish the details.

So come on gluten free bakeries, it's 2011, we've sent men to the moon, surely good gluten free bread is achieveable.