Some time ago, I was excited to find a whole range of new Pamela’s gluten-free mixes at my local Whole Foods. Pamela’s Products has really expanded their offerings, with new vanilla cake mix, Vanilla or Confetti Frosting mixes, and even a new gluten-free bread mix! Although I usually bake my own bread, I’ve become very fond of several gluten free bread mixes over the years. Quite by chance I got in the habit of making DFIL’s (dear father in law’s) Norwegian Christmas Bread using Bob’s Red Mill Bread Mix, Wheat & Gluten Free, and it’s become a holiday tradition. I’ve made his recipe using Bette Hagman recipes, but somehow it’s just not the same. So although I love making gluten free bread using Bette Hagman’s The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread (my hands down favorite gluten-free cookbook), sometimes all I want to do is dump a gluten free-bread mix in my bread machine and take out my bread a few hours later. With this in mind, I decided to try the new gluten-free bread mix by Pamela’s Products.
I had high hopes for Pamela’s Products new Wheat-Free (and Gluten-free) Bread Mix, but although it had many good qualities, I probably won’t buy it again because I didn’t care for the flavor. I made it in my bread maker. It rose nicely and held its shape reasonably well after I took it out of the machine. I let the bread cool before I cut it as all gluten free bread can fall if cut while hot, and the bread sliced very well. Each individual slice had a spongy, soft bread texture. Actually it was almost a little TOO soft for me, but those who like soft bread will enjoy it. I cut a slice and put margarine and honey on it, expecting to have a tasty bite of fresh bread- but something about the flavor bothered me, and I had difficulty enjoying it. I have had almost every kind of gluten-free bread on the market and have been gluten-free for a long time, but I don’t know how I feel about Sorghum. Although it yields decent nutritional value and good texture, similarly to bean flour, if there is too high of a ratio of sorghum to neutral flours (White rice, tapioca, etc.) I think that the flavor is negatively impacted. I prefer a more subtle mix, like Bette Hagman’s four flour blend, which has less sorghum and thus gets the good qualities of the flour without negatively impacting flavor. I think it’s also worth mentioning that after years of being gluten free, I am used to/prefer toasted bread, unless it’s fresh baked that day, and I didn’t much care for this bread toasted. I used the bread for sandwiches for a few days and my (non-GF) DH ate it without complaint, but it reminded me a little too much of play dough to merit purchase in the future. My entirely subjective opinion aside, if you are looking for an easy gluten-free bread mix for your machine, I would recommend that you try them all (including this one) because only trial and error will help you find a bread mix that suits your palate. I prefer bean flour blends, but you may find this mix fits the bill perfectly! Overall impression: 5/10 Texture: 8/10 Longevity: 8/10 (it took forever to dry out)
Because I did think this bread could appeal to different people, I asked some members of the Yahoo “SillyYaks” Group for their opinions:
I love Pamela’s Bread Mix — we use it as our everyday sandwich bread. I think it has a great texture, stays pliable for several days when left on the counter, and doesn’t need toasting. It is also available for a great price from Amazon. As with non-gluten free foods, different people have different tastes, so I hope that others don’t get discouraged from trying it. I think that some people really love this bread mix whereas others don’t (maybe it’s the sorghum?) I would encourage people to give it a try. -Rochelle
We too love it. I buy it from Amazon as well. Only problem for us…and this is with all mixes…. I have to make it!! hehehehe I just never seem to have
time and when I remember, it’s too late.
I have to agree with your hubby. Pamela’s bread is OK, but not fabulous. I prefer BRM “Wonderful GF Bread” or GFP Favorite Sandwich Bread. GFP French Bread (made in my French Bread pan liner) is also good even though it’s not “really” French Bread since it has eggs in it. The Pamela’s is just kind of OK.
Pamela’s brownies are AWESOME. Chocolate cake mix, pretty darn good. Pancake mix, good flavor but I don’t care for the almond flour texture (I loooooove Maple Grove Farms GF pancake mix). Bread… not so much. :) -Chandra
I’m with Chandra on this one… (Oops, how did my opinion get in there again??!)-Sea
The second new gluten-free bread mix that I tried recently was Bob’s Red Mill’sGluten-Free Whole Grain Bread Mix. I was really excited at the idea of a whole grain bread, and the ingredients sounded promising:
whole grain buckwheat, garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, cornstarch, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, whole grain sorghum flour, tapioca flour, cocoa powder, evaporated cane juice, fava bean flour, molasses powder, xanthan gum, caraway seeds, active dry yeast, sea salt, whole grain teff, potato flour, onion powder, guar gum and soy lecithin.
I like all of those flours, and sorghum was pretty far down on the list. I’ve had good luck making gluten-free rye bread with caraway seeds and molasses, and I make some killer gluten-free teff rolls. So- I mixed up the bread, popped it into my bread machine, and went off to do some homework. I took the bread out a while later, let it cool, sliced into it, admired the great texture of the pretty, dark bread and took a big bite with margarine on a slice. Oh, cruel cruel hopes. How quickly they can be dashed. Here’s the thing. If you LOVE sunflower seeds, you are so set with this bread. The thing is, I don’t. And I like fake-rye bread, but this fake-rye bread is just trying way too hard. Cocoa, molasses, caraway AND onion powder? What was I thinking… those things don’t sound yummy together at all! And— in my opinion, at least in this incarnation, combined with sunflower seeds, they don’t taste good either. I don’t want the gluten-free equivalent of wonder bread. In fact, I almost never make Bette Hagman’s featherlight based breads. All that white rice flour and cornstarch (mostly the latter) makes me feel just too darned guilty. I like brown rice flour, especially if it’s nice and fresh, teff is a delight, and bean flour (in moderation) in breads makes my mouth sing. But this bread is just too much. One very thoughtful reviewer on Amazon wrote a glowing review entitled “Finally, a gluten-free bread with bite!” Yes, this bread has bite. In fact, I think I can still feel its teeth marks. Nope, I just didn’t like this bread. I think it very telling that the (only) other review of the Bob’s Red Mill bread mix is titled, “Vile!” and she goes on to say that “This particular mix is like rye bread on steroids.” (Hope I didn’t just attract another swarm of spambots, yikes). I have to agree. This bread, to my picky, picky little taste buds, was indeed vile, and we will not be purchasing it again. As Bob’s Red Mill is my witness. It’s a shame, because I love the concept. But, too many conflicting flavor elements and too many of those pesky sunflower seeds made this bread no friend of mine. To be fair, I also don’t care for the Whole Foods Prairie Bread. I don’t hate it, and the main things keeping me from buying it are mostly price and the fact that I prefer the sun-dried tomato bread, BUT if you love their bread, you love you a good hearty dose of sunflower seeds, and cocoa in savory bread sounds peachy keen, I would advise you to try this mix. Actually, even if you’re not sure you do like those things, try this mix. Because even though I didn’t like it (ok, I hated it), the one thing that a lifetime of being gluten-free has taught me is that taste is subjective, and even my taste buds change their minds sometimes. One woman’s best gluten-free bread ever is another woman’s doorstop or raccoon chow. (Have you ever seen a raccoon spit? I hear some gluten-free products can cause this kind of reaction in our furry four pawed friends…) This goes for Pamela’s Bread mix too, actually. You might like it, and want it to be a staple in your kitchen forever. You’ll never know unless you try. Who would have thought us gluten-free folks would ever have SO MUCH VARIETY in our gluten free breads. My entirely subjective rating- Overall impression: 3/10 Texture: 5/10 (too nubby)Longevity: 5/10 (became covered in mold after a few days, yum yum.)
And if you do like either of these products, or hate them, or are ambivalent, why not post and tell us about it? We’d love to hear your opinion.
By the way, speaking of bread, did you know that Whole Foods GF Bakehouse is coming out with/ has come out with GF honey oat bread and GF granola, both using Gluten-free certified oats? I’m too chicken to try them (so far), but hey, I’m getting seriously tempted!
Don’t want to buy a mix? Here are some of my Gluten Free Cookbook Recipe Reviews including reviews of some of my favorite bread recipes ever