Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Mixes --- Review

I recently discovered my intolerance for gluten, and while acquiring the many new types of flour I would need to make baked goods, I began trying mixes.  And in trying these mixes, I quickly discovered some are better than others, and none of them quite compare to gluten baked goods.  I'll do the reviews in the order that I actually tried them...

First up, Bob's Red Mill GF Hearty Whole Grain Bread.  It definitely is hearty, it has whole sunflower, sesame and caraway seeds in it, along with, of course, quite an array of different flours.  It was easy to make (I don't have a bread maker, so I use the oven method for all of my breads) and the bread rose and looked like actual bread.  It's best warm, but I can't it a whole loaf at once, so most of the bread was not eaten this way.  If you like pumpernickel bread then you'll like this...but if you don't then it'll be too pungent for you.  I really enjoyed the first few slices, but could not finish the whole loaf myself...I'm just not used to eating that much of the strong of a bread. Also, I know my little boys (5 and 2) would not eat this, too pungent for kids, great for adults.

Overall Rating: 6 out of 10   Because I can't use it for the entire family, and I only like pungent bread every once in a while, not for daily use.

Next, Bob's Red Mill GF Cinnamon Raisin Bread Mix. I love cinnamon raisin bread, it is a comfort food for me.  And it's an easy and fantastic way to start the day.  So, I was excited to see this least I would have something to eat for breakfast. And I wasn't disappointed, it was really easy to make and was absolutely fantastic out of the oven.  Over the next few days it was still good, no strange pungent tastes or weird smells, just cinnamon/raisin goodness.  It does get stiff and kind of hard quickly, but I would just stick a slice in the microwave for a few seconds and then it was like it was fresh out of the oven again.

Overall Rating: 9 out of 10  It was fantastic, but it went stale before I could finish the whole loaf.

Next up, Bob's Red Mill GF Biscuit and Baking Mix. So far, I've only tried this as pancakes, and everyone in the household ate them--including my husband, who isn't on the gluten-free diet.  That said, there is a distinct smell and initial taste that tends to go away as you chew.  I think it's the garbanzo bean flour, not sure, because I'm still new to all of these flours, but I know rice does not have this smell.  If you can get past the smell, and that strange taste when it first hits your tongue, then it is fantastic.  It actually really worked well for pancakes, it had the same texture as regular pancakes--a little bit heavier, so next time I may thin it out it little more with water. And the great thing with pancakes is syrup, the syrup makes that initial taste.  My 2 year old had no idea that they were different pancakes then what he's used to having.

Overall Rating: 8 out of 10  Even with the strange taste at first, it can easily be masked with toppings and it has the same texture as gluten pancakes.

Note: I will review this again as I try out different recipes with it.

Finally, Bob's Red Mill GF Homemade Wonderful Bread Mix.  When I made this bread, I was desperate to find a bread that my boys would eat, I had just taken them off of gluten and they were really missing their pb&j's.  So, after reading reviews about how fantastic this bread was I was hopeful.  My hope was lost when I smelled the dough--that should always be an indictator, if you don't mind the smell of the dough, the bread will be good.  I'm thinking I'm not a fan of garbanzo bean flour--it's in this mix as well, and the same smell was in this dough as was in the baking mix, but it was stronger.  The bread was easy to make and rose well.  The initial texture was good, too, but if you are planning on making sandwiches ahead of time, be warned that they will be soaked, not just soggy, but wet, wet.  I used this bread for pb&j's that we took with us to the zoo, and by the time we ate them 3 hours later, they were nasty.  My boys refused to eat the bread when it was freshly made, the smell and taste of the garbanzo bean flour (I'm guessing) was too distinct for them.

Overall Rating: 3 out of 10  If you can handle the initial taste as it hits your tongue than it's great.  But it doesn't work for make ahead lunches and picky, little kids--it just doesn't resemble gluten bread enough.

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