Bread can be a subject for much debate for people on the low FODMAP diet.
Check the Monash app for up to date information about portion sizes for specific types of regular bread, but anything above one slice of white or wholemeal bread is generally considered high FODMAP. Some of us can’t even tolerate that quantity reliably, or want to eat more than one slice of bread, so choose breads that are low FODMAP.
There are many people who feel that although there are some wheat-free or gluten-free breads which are also low FODMAP, it’s really best to exclude these from your diet, especially during the elimination phase. If you’ve ever looked at the ingredients list of a gluten-free loaf, it’s rarely scant. They often contain gums and other thickeners, which can be an irritant for people with IBS, in addition to substances like preservatives. (Plus now we’re apparently risking arsenic poisoning from eating too many rice flour based products?!)
While I can appreciate this view, the thought of removing bread from my diet does not make me happy. Not one little bit. Luckily I don’t have a problem with gums, and have found gluten-free breads that my gut is very happy with. It’s also such a quick and convenient option for breakfasts and lunches on the go, so I’m happily chomping on as others debate it.
You need to carefully check the ingredients of any bread you choose too – common unsuitable ingredients in bread include apple juice, unsuitable flours such as chick pea, and things like golden syrup (although this is often in too low an amount to make it high FODMAP).
Next is the issue of taste. Frankly, most gluten-free breads are grim. I’ve been avoiding wheat for 20 odd years now, and although supermarket breads have come a long way in that time, they’re often quite dry and dense, and large quantities of water can be needed to propel them down your gullet. And when you do find one you like, they usually go and change their recipe and spoil it for you.
But a few years ago I discovered the Wheat Free Bakery Direct. Their breads are very good indeed. They’re soft and light, taste really good and don’t crumble to pieces like most GF breads. They don’t keep for as long as regular bread (they tend to dry out faster) but do freeze very well.
They do a massive range of products and my personal favourite products are:
- Parisienne Baguettes (brilliant for dipping in soups and also makes great garlic [infused oil] bread)
- Crusty Bloomer (always the first thing I cut into when I get my order, with butter slathered on top!)
- Plain Burger Buns (lovely soft and light rolls, great for sandwiches and BBQs)
- Pitta Bread (they’re lovely and soft, open up beautifully and stay together while you’re eating them, even when heavily stuffed)
- Egg-free Farmhouse (the best for doorsteps of morning toast)
- Pizza bases (they make more of a deep pan pizza, and I generally prefer thin crust, but having these in the freezer for the days I can’t be bothered making my own is great).
Their prices have gone up a bit recently, but cost-wise it doesn’t work out much differently to the supermarket gluten-free breads (so still a heck of a lot more expensive that regular bread, which is always a shock to new members of the fodsquad) yet infinitely nicer.
The delivery charge is around £6, which I know puts some people off. But I always clear my freezer and buy enough to last me a month or two each time I order. If you happen to know someone else who doesn’t eat wheat/ gluten, see if they want to get together to put in an order to reduce the delivery cost per person. If you order over £50 of products, then delivery is free – another reason to start a bread pool if you can.
My favourite breads that can be bought in a shop are M&S ‘made without wheat’ range. They make a few different products and all are pretty nice, especially the sourdough loaf.
Many people make their own bread, but my attempts at this have not been promising. I’ve managed a few loaves that have been okay when freshly baked, but nothing that has been good the next day. If you have a tried and trusted recipe, please share!