Today I am starting a series on the Flourishing Pantry I am calling Tried and Tested. *Round of applause and cheering* please!
Each quarter I will be writing reviews of shop-bought products that tout themselves as delicious and yeast-free friendly.
I know not everyone wants to make things from scratch - quite frankly we don't all have the luxury of time with busy full time jobs and social lives. So I'm going to be picking out the best of what can be bought ready-made and see how good it really is.
Tried and tested: yeast free bread
To kick off I've picked the obvious topic. If you're browsing 'yeast free' on Google, one of the first suggestions for the next word is.... BREAD.
In fact you may well have landed on this blog for that very reason: you're looking to go yeast free and want to know what bread you can eat.
Over the next four weeks I will be testing ten shop-bought breads that are yeast free. I went for those that resembled a traditional 'loaf' - so no wraps, pittas or rolls.
They all have strengths and weaknesses - look, taste, texture, can I make a sandwich with it, and the ultimate test - will boys eat it?! I will be using my boyfriend as a guinea pig and trust me, he's fussy.
In the running this week are three Biona breads, who are totally owning the market in yeast free breads. So let's get started!
1. Biona Millet Wholegrain Bread
Whilst this bread is billed as a millet bread the main ingredient is in fact a buckwheat sourdough. If, like me, you're not the world's biggest buckwheat fan then this might be a problem for you as the flavour - nutty, hoppy, however you want to describe it - is still fairly strong.
The slices are pretty dense and I reckon you could definitely make a sandwich out of them, albeit one that needs a lot of moist fillings because this bread is quite dry. Planet Organic recommends toasting the bread. Slathered with nut butter or some houmous I can see that working.
Hilariously whilst I was on the Planet Organic website to check the latest price I read someone had written a review on this bread that said "these breads taste grim but are healthy so I keep buying them."
WOW PEOPLE. Don't eat something that you think is gross just because you think it's healthy. There are so many delicious things out there for you, healthy eating shouldn't be torturous!
I'm inclined to agree with the reviewer on this one. This isn't something I'd buy again because personally I'm not a buckwheat babe. For those being strict on added sweeteners the one here is honey, full ingredients list here.
Verdict: 4/10 Bit too buckwheat-y for me, but I liked the seeds.
Thoughts from the boy: "Bit dry. Wouldn't eat it again."
2. Biona Buckwheat Rice Wholegrain Bread
I suppose after Bread No.1 you're thinking I'm asking for trouble with this next selection. I had high hopes for the rice to be more important than the buckwheat in the title, but I was to be disappointed. I opened the packaging to take photos of the slices and actually said out loud "Woah that buckwheat smell!"
That aside this wasn't massively pleasant to me. It's even more dense than the millet bread, but without the nice little linseeds in it for texture. Weirdly the photo on the Biona website shows a loaf with seeds in, but the one I bought definitely lacked this (see photos below).
Again, toasted this would be fine if heaped with some great toppings and ideally to my palette some strong flavours to help get past the buckwheat. I don't think I could handle a full top and bottom sandwich with this bread, maybe an open one instead!
Full list of ingredients here.
Verdict: 2/10 Can't. Handle. Buckwheat.
Thoughts from the boy: "No. Just... just no."
3. Biona Pumpernickel Bread
I really love pumpernickel. I got into it as a breakfast topped with almond butter and slices of banana. Compared with the last two breads this was juicy, moist and much sweeter. It's a gorgeous dark rich colour and nutty flavour.
This bread isn't gluten free though because it is made from rye (you can read more about grains and gluten on an earlier blog post here). I am really struggling with gluten vs. no gluten right now with everything I'm reading and have a blog post brewing! But that's another story. So if you are gluten free then I'm afraid this isn't the yeast free bread for you.
This pumpernickel is also super crumbly so I would be surprised if you could make a sandwich without it collapsing in your hands. However after I'd taken photos I had pieces dipped in some pesto as a snack which was total heaven, and at work the next day I made an open sandwich with pesto and smoked salmon. It fell apart a bit but it was totally worth it.
Full list of ingredients here.
Verdict: 5/10 Not a sandwich bread, but delicious and moist with a distinctive flavour
Thoughts from the boy: "Sweeter than the others. Yeah, I'd have that." He then promptly made himself open sandwiches with slices of pumpernickel topped with cheese and ham. I'm seriously impressed!
Have you tried any of these breads? What did you think?
PS. I calculated the prices using an average that I could find online in both UK and ROI. The Buckwheat Rice bread was hard to find in ROI, but the others are readily available in both countries from suppliers such as Planet Organic, Nourish, Holland & Barrett and The Health Store.