Gluten-Free Bread That’s Too Good To Be True

The box full of “Gluten Free Goodness” I received last week was from a little bakery in upstate New York called Le Garden Gourmet Gluten-Free Bakery. I first discovered them at the Gluten Free Cooking Spree, when their Melba Toasts were my favorite part of the goodie bag. I had high hopes after enjoying the melba toasts so thoroughly, but I had been down that road before and was also prepared for disappointment.After looking at their Web site I decided to try a couple loafs of bread, the sugar cookies, the flour mix and breadcrumbs in addition to ordering more of the magical gluten free melba toasts. It is a small family-run bakery that just launched last year. They have an entirely gluten and nut free facility. The woman I spoke to was kind and informative.

I was a little worried when I found out that they use guar gum instead of xanthan gum as a stabilizer. My stomach doesn’t handle guar gum particularly well, so I decided to forgo the flour mix until I had a better sense of the rest of their products. (My Mom and I both had a bad experience with guar gum when we over-indulged on gluten free bread during our trip to Scotland.)

I chose the Whole Grain and Country Seed gluten free loaves. They have a sampler pack but I wasn’t ready for that level of commitment.

I placed my order on a Thursday. Because they do all of their shipping on Wednesdays, I didn’t receive my box until the following Thursday. For my entire order, the overnight shipping was a mere $7.

My gluten-eating friend Emily helped me taste the bread and cookies. (She was brave after experiencing some less than tasty gluten free granola.)

Her reaction was just as emphatic as mine. We were both blown away by the taste and texture of the breads and cookies. All I can say is WOW and THANK YOU Ina Garden. The bread did not disappoint. (As with all gluten free breads, it must be warmed in the microwave or toasted before eating. I did have a small hope that it would taste fresh and soft without the microwave, but hey I’ll take it.)The loaves are heavy, artisan style breads; they are wonderful sliced thick and spread with butter or preserves. Emily preferred the Country Seed, though I keep going back and forth. I have been eating them both all weekend. This is the first time I have actually craved a gluten free bread that wasn’t homemade.

After savoring every bite of the bread, we opened up the Jumbo Sugar Cookie package. Again, they were astonishingly good. It is absolutely the best gluten free cookie I have had that wasn’t homemade. And they are better than any attempt I’ve made with sugar cookies. The edges are crispy but the center is soft and chewy. It will please your taste buds beyond measure.

I can’t wait for my next Ina Garden order. I still need to try all of their other breads, cookies and flour mixes. My only worry is about my waistline…

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Lynn Barry said,

March 19, 2007 @ 7:43 pm

Outstanding. Except for the yeast I would have bought a loaf today. I saw this product in the grocery store I go to. That’s great. I am happy for you and all others who enjoy and will enjoy these products. HUGS

Renee said,

March 20, 2007 @ 12:10 am

Any carb counts on the packages? Part of the problem with GF products is sometimes the absence of that critical info if you need to calculate insulin needs, as does my daughter (and you)?? The breads look fantastic! Thanks for sharing once again.
Renee in Phila (Melissa’s mom)

Catherine said,

March 20, 2007 @ 1:28 pm

Hi Renee,

There weren’t any carb contents on the melba toasts. On the bread there are Nutrition Facts for an estimated slice. Since the loaves don’t come sliced it requires estimation or a food scale.

Molly said,

March 20, 2007 @ 3:34 pm

This look delicious! Yum.

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