A simple seasonal meal of a hearty stew or soup only needs a salad and a crusty bread to be complete. Of course, when the meal must also be gluten free, it’s easy to cover the soup, stew, or salad, but finding the perfect bready compliment can be challenging. I’m happy to report that today’s supermarket has options ready to go and that there are also simple recipes that are perfectly poised to match your meal.
Crusty gluten-free bread…Check!
For bread to stand up to a hearty stew or thick soup, it needs a strong crust with a doughy inside that gives just the right amount for the perfect bite. Believe it or not, there is a bread out there that lets you have that exact combination! Just be sure to check the expert tips below to ensure your bread is “crusty-perfect” when you need it.
Supermarket Find: Against the Grain Gourmet Baguettes
Add something to your soup.
Sometimes we don’t need something alongside our soup, but rather, in it. Cheesy croutons in tomato soup or large, bready croutons to round out a stew. The good news here is that slightly stale gluten-free bread, given a light toast, will become hard (very!) easily. Take advantage of this usually undesirable characteristic.
Supermarket Find: Whisps Parmesan Cheese Crisps
Consider polenta power.
Naturally gluten-free, corn-based, and very versatile, polenta is worth keeping on hand if you are often in need of an allergy-friendly side. Polenta can become a small pancake to ladle stew over, baked and used as a crouton in a soup, or in other ways. Look for either instant polenta or make it from scratch.
Supermarket Find: Bellino Instant Polenta
Warm soft bread… it does exist!
A cozy afternoon is made even cozier with freshly baked bread. Of course, while all baking requires precision, gluten-free baking requires even more. Plan to buy a blend of gluten-free flours or consider one of the trusted brands found on supermarket shelves that have taken some of the guesswork out of gluten-free baking. There are many to choose from so simply find the one that works best for you.
Supermarket Finds: Simple Mills Gluten-Free Artisan Bread Almond Flour Mix
5 Pro Tips
Many gluten-free breads are sold frozen. The best way to defrost these breads is likely on the counter. If you choose to warm in the oven, I recommend wrapping in foil and slowly warming at a low temperature. In this case, warm just the amount you’ll need for that meal.
If you want bread to be soft and fresh, plan to enjoy it when it’s freshly warm as reheating may result in an undesired texture.
If your soup or stew calls for gluten-free pasta, consider adding cooked pasta to only the portion you’ll be enjoying at that time. Add more pasta when you are ready to reheat and enjoy the soup again. Add too much pasta the first time and you may find many broken noodles in your soup.
When baking gluten-free bread, be sure to precisely measure and closely monitor timing to ensure you achieve the bready goodness you’re seeking. As with all baking, note that cooking times in different ovens need to be considered.
Make what you need and then start fresh the next day. For example, croutons may be perfect amount of “stale” today but way too stale tomorrow. Gluten-free bready products don’t tend to last or store well.