When you’ve been almost entirely gluten-free for 12 years and cannot eat bread, you become accustomed to three things: one, trying out and persevering with a whole host of poor substitutes; two, making your own; three, going without completely. For me, a double affliction with a yeast-intolerance renders my options further limited. Ever tried rice cakes with a fry up, or melting brie on a corn thin?
I’m not complaining – not really, I have somewhat entered the state of acceptance - except sometimes I do hanker for that crunchy snack that most people take for granted…toast. Fresh from the toaster, with gloriously melting butter attempting escape from your mouth - rice cakes and corn thins don’t toast so well – believe me I’ve tried.
Out of the blue, I received a text from my cousin who was stateside… ‘My friend Hannah runs a gluten-free artisan bread stall for a company called Native Bread. It’s the most delicious gluten-free bread I’ve ever tasted…fancy a loaf?” Sharing a love of good food, I knew I could trust my cousin’s judgement, but could I trust the ingredients? Yes! No gluten, no yeast (most gluten-free bread contains yeast, as I have to reluctantly admit to helpful hosts when they proudly present me with gluten-free options). We expedited our next meeting to ensure bread freshness, and with a week since the purchase, it was still fresh enough to eat untoasted. My first mouthful was scrumptious, but the best was yet to come…
The pinnacle of my gastronomic heaven is soft boiled eggs with toast, or dippy eggs and soldiers as we call them in the UK. How I measure success of my own baked bread is whether it’s fit for a toaster or not, but my crumbly, cakey substitute usually falls apart even under the grill. So I double-toasted my Native Bread bread for extra crunch, and it not only absorbed the butter like a dream, it cut beautifully into soldiers, and stayed firm as it sploshed into the golden yolk. Each mouthful was a party in my mouth, borne of years of suffering inferior alternatives, and then finally reaching the epicurean summit.
Duly slicing the entire loaf and freezing it, I promised myself to eek it out over the next few weeks, on a ration of just one slice per day.
So you can imagine my horror when my one-year old baby –the cupboards bare of wheat and yeast-ful bread – wanted to share my transatlantic toast. That was love. The next day I upped my ration to two slices, just in case. The day after I bought the baby her own bread.
I live in London; there must be something like this here. A quick recap online reminded me of the ones I have tried; mainly overpriced, very dense and go off quickly. Nothing like this, that I know of.
With my stash of bread sadly diminishing, I am assessing my options: moving to Indiana seems a bit extreme, shipping it over here doesn’t seem feasible…so baking my own with a different recipe, a bit more nous and a lot more elbow grease. Well, it’s going to have to be the latter, but that’s a poor substitute…
Jessica was enjoying gluten-free, yeast-free sourdough bread hand-baked by Hayley, who runs Native Bread.