Ever since Alycia learned of her Celiac disease and need to lead a righteous gluten free life, we've searched the four corners of the earth and Internet for a good gluten free bread. That search has taken almost three years and countless experimentations with dense, grainy, chewy, terrible tasting, poor textured crappy bread. Good gluten free bread became the white whale (which would make me Capt Ahab, who shares more personality characteristics with me than I care to admit), something to be searched for and never found.
I heard about Udi's gluten free breads last summer from a client (who is also a Celiac in a family of Celiacs) in San Diego who claimed the bread was so good "you didn't even need to toast it". Now I'd tried enough gluten free bread in my day to be able to sniff out some serious malarkey, so I scoffed at this, and called BS on that claim. It didn't really matter though since Udi's wasn't carried anywhere in North Dakota, but that all changed last week when I saw it stocked at our local natural foods co-op, Amazing Grains.
This bread was far and away the best gluten free bread I'd ever had. Not only did it have a good taste, but it was fluffy. Fluffy!!! Seriously, it was fluffy. I don't know how they did it, or what combination of strange flours they used, but damn they made this bread fluffy.
The big test came when I made Alycia a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. She literally couldn't remember the last time she'd had a sandwich and was excited, but guardedly hesitant. As it turns out she was able to enjoy once again the simple joys of a PBJ sandwich, and we knew that we found a winner of a bread. Sure I'll still make my homemade gluten free bread, and it's good enough, especially when it's fresh out of the oven. And sure I'll keep tinkering with various bread recipes until I find something awesome.
A mere week after our awesome gluten free bread victory, we located Udi's gluten free muffins, and they were also fantastic. Both the bread and the muffins attained the highest level of gluten free compliment possible - "You can't tell they're gluten free".
The only downside to the bread and muffins is that they're expensive. Not as bad as some of the pre-made gluten free products that we've ever tried, but right up there. The muffins, while delicious, will be confined to "once in a while as a treat" status, especially since my repertoire of baked breakfast goods is pretty extensive (blueberry coffee cake, all manner of scones) and Alycia chips in by making banana bread and pumpkin bread pretty regularly.
It's not much of a downside though. Celiac disease has made us acclimated to spending larger amounts of money on groceries than normal, but we do make up for that by eating almost no meat, buying many items in bulk, growing much of our own veggies, and canning/freezing when things are in season.
Just for giggles, I've included the Amazon.com links to Udi's products in case someone wants to send a case of bread or muffins to Alycia as a President's Day present.