Thursday, July 28, 2005

Gluten-free flour mixes

I haven't tried them all, but so far I haven't been a great fan of pre-made GF flour mixes. I mix my own from this recipe, based on one found in Bette Hagman's "The gluten-free gourmet cooks fast and healty" (sounds like an endorsement, but the three-line recipe on page 33 is the only thing I use in this book)

- 6 cups rice flour (white, brown or mixed)
- 2 cups potato starch flour
- 1 cup tapioca starch flour
- 9 teaspoons of guar gum (i. e. 1 tsp per cup of flowery stuff)

I use the Glutino flours (see Bread section). I forgot where I got the guar gum, but it can be found gluten-free too.

With this flour mix I'll do anything from pancakes to bread. I'll give you my bread recipe later.


You basically have to stay away from supermarket sausage, but at least there they have the ingredients list so you can check.

It seems that the meat shops generally make sausage without using wheat. In the market, Aubrey's makes non-wheat-filled sausages, and the Sausage kitchen has a flier outlining the gluten-freedom (or was it wheat-freedom?) of their sausages. In Westboro, Saslove's sausages are wheat-free. Of course, I'm always wondering about the spices they put in there (I tend to stay away from any kind of ground spices), but that dosen't stop me from eating them.


Let's get one thing clear. There is nothing you can buy (that I know of) that is even remotely comparable to fresh bread. Nothing. The closest I have experienced so far is making my own bread (with a bread maker), just when it comes out of the machine. On the other hand, most of the gluten-free bread make excellent toast.

I have become attached to the Glutino brand for bread, as well as for the flours. I especially like the raisin bread.

(on a side note, it seems Glutino lets you order products online. I'll let you know how that works out)

Other brands I've tried:

I quite like(d) Sterk's Bakery italian bread. Donuts (especially reheated) weren't bad either. I found it at Rainbow Foods (on Richmond at Carling) but I have now moved away from that area so it's less convenient for me to go there. The other reason for the switch is the more "professional" image Glutino projects. I was harboring some uncertainty about the extent of gluten-freedom of the Sterks' because for a long while I was experiencing some intestinal problems for which I couldn't pin down the cause. I haven't had problems since switching to the Glutino breads and flours. Comments welcome on this one.

I can find the Glutino Breads frozen at the natural food store in Westgate mall. Some of the flours can be found at the super Loblaws on Richmond (at Kirkwood), but a more complete selection of flours can be found at La Boite a Grains in Gatineau (St-Joseph just north of the exit to the casino).

Ice cream and yoghurt

I've been shunning "modified milk products" that appear in yoghurts and ice creams (in addition to "modified corn starch"). I haven't done a lot of systematic testing, but on one occasion I've had a yoghurt containing "modified milk ingredients" but no "modified corn starch", and had cramps from it. So. Breyer's Natural ice cream used to be my staple source, but now they've changed the recipe and "modified milk ingredients" appear. I've switched to Ben and Jerry's now.

For yoghurt, for reasons mentioned above, I stick to Libery plain yoghurt (regular or organic) and Astro Original Balkan Style yoghurt. I find both of these at the Herb and Spice. The Loeb stocks Astro but not Liberty. I think Loblaw's stock both brands.

For sour cream, I use Liberty as well.

For cream cheese, Liberty or Western cremery. Kraft Philly cheese (*not* the light version of it) works too.

Liberty link (not much to see, the other links above point to the specific products)


Gluten-free pasta is easy to find. Nature food stores and even Loblaws (in the organic food section) stock them.

My favourite brand (also the most widely available) is Tinkyada rice pasta.

I think rice pasta are the best. Almost like real pasta, especially for spaghetti.

Another brand I find just as good (spinach rice pasta) is from Riztopia (made in Canada). I probably get it at the Westgate mall's natural food store and maybe at the Big Loblaw's too (Richmond and Kirkwood).

Of course, there are all the asian rice noodles, but as a substitute to wheat pasta (i. e. italian style) they are a little different than the above brands. Also gluten-free certification is maybe questionable and difficult to ascetain for the truly asian brands. But what do I know? I've seen the "Thai kitchen" brand listed on one of the gluten-free product listings (somewhere!).

I've tried other pasta too. Bean pasta is passable (strong taste) and potato pasta is downright horrible (very mushy).

Beer and Pizza

Beer and pizza are two things I've most bemoaned the loss of when I switched to a gluten-free diet. I can make my own pizza, and I know a specialty shop in Laval (north of Montreal) that makes a good gluten-free pizza, but so far eating out has been out of the question. But hark and behold! The ottawa celiac association has made additions to its restaurant list, worthwhile additions, featuring gluten-free pizza!

La Dolce Vita (180 Preston Street 233-6239) is first on my list of places to try. I've been there a number of times before with friends, condemned to having a salad while my friends would invevitably have number of mouth-watering-looking pizzas. No longer! I shall go and try them as soon as I can.

For beer, there is only one product in existence that I know of: a buckwheat and rice beer that is certified (or at least marketed as) gluten-free, La Messagere, from a brewery near Trois-Rivieres, Les Bieres de la Nouvelle-France:

There were a number of places selling it in Hull (La Boite a Grains being one) but now I noticed that the LCBO carries it. It is on-shelf only at the big store on Rideau and King Edward, but my local store told me they can order one or two cases if I ask for it. They won't stock it, though.

LCBO search

Addendum Aug. 10th - Nothing very relevant to add, but found a web page about statements from Budweiser about Bud light being gluten-free. Apparently the claim wouldn't be of much use to celiacs.