New and improved gluten-free bread (aka WTF?!)

Monday, August 20, 2012 Permalink

I don’t talk a lot about being coeliac (celiac, for my US readers!). I was diagnosed in late 2005 after all of the usual tests (blood tests, endoscopy, colonoscopy etc). The diagnosis was initially frightening – the list of what I couldn’t eat seemed enormous and I still remember my first few attempts to cook things sans my usual wheat-laden staples that tasted vaguely edible. Going out for meals was a nightmare and getting takeaway even worse. I was, however, looking forward to ‘suddenly’ feeling better which was the promised holy grail post-diagnosis.

Sadly I cannot remember noticing I felt better – less lethargic, healthier, able to absorb vitamins and minerals etc, though perhaps it just happened gradually. But, things have changed A LOT over the seven years since my diagnosis (and I can’t even imagine what a nightmare it was 10 or 20 years ago!). Avoiding gluten (or even just wheat) is quite trendy in some circles so when I now mention it to waitstaff in a cafe or restaurant, I’m usually regaled with a myriad of gluten-free options. And my local supermarket is also well stocked with GF goodies.

When I was first diagnosed I did a lot of reading. With a medical certificate here in Oz you can become a member of The Coeliac Society. You pay to join, but you get regular magazines and newsletters. On arrival I’d pour through the latest edition, usually just to see what products were being launched in coming weeks. I’d be overjoyed to see GF pastas, or fish finger equivalents, not to mention faux Twisties or cheezels and the like.

The thing I noticed most, however, was the amazing number of people bemoaning bread-related issues.

Thankfully I’ve never been a big bread eater. (Bizarre, I know, given the other crap I shovel into my mouth.) But for some reason bread, cakes and biscuits have never really ‘done it’ for me. In fact, the only time I initially missed bread was when I was out with friends for breakfast or brunch and I looked longingly at the thick white buttered toast on their plates. Fortunately for me , however, I’ve now  found a local cafe which has DELICIOUS GF bread (albeit at a surcharge of $2.50 per slice). They tell me it’s baked by / for them but won’t give me any additional information. I’m actually thinking of taking some and having it analysed CSI style. (If anyone from Cinema Cafe at Bulimba is reading this I’m joking! I swear.) 

So, for a few years after my diagnosis I didn’t worry too much about bread. I’d look at GF loaves in health food stores or supermarkets and it looked rock hard and dense. Very unappetising. Particularly for someone who didn’t find it inspiring in the first place. Fortunately it wasn’t something I missed.

However, eventually I found a loaf that – when I picked it up – would bend. It was soft. I was delighted and became a devoted fan of Country Life Bakery brand. Where possible I tried to always buy the low GI (ie. the blue one in the middle below) but occasionally had to have the white or multigrain. For the past few years I’ve settled into a regular breakfast of one middle rasher of rindless (97% fat free) bacon and an egg (both zapped in the microwave) between two pieces of low GI toasted bread. Every day. On weekends if I’m being frivolous I sometimes scramble the egg, or even have two eggs (yes, I walk on the wild side).

It’s not cheap. A loaf is generally anywhere between $5.50-6.50 for 14-15 slices smaller than the palm of my hand. But… beggars, choosers etc.

HOWEVER… yesterday when shopping I visited the bread aisle to find this.

WTF?!

My beloved Country Life Bakery bread has become like all other GF bread. It’s a dense little brick. New and improved the packaging says. Hmph! I say

I cannot believe it. When fresh I could almost eat slices of this bread AS BREAD, without toasting them. They were soft and pliable. But no longer. Gah! My easy (every day / go-to) breakfast routine has been foiled. I’m gonna have to rethink everything. How could you do this to me?! I want to ask.

I mean, just look at the difference between the two loaves – the soft malleable loaf in the bag sealed with a twistie thingy in the ‘group photo’ above; compared to the one directly above on the left – vacuum-packed as if entombed?!

Oh, and can I just say (while I’m on a rant)… what a ridiculously stupid packet because once it’s bloody opened you can’t seal it. I had to put the remaining slices in different bags in my freezer.

So… now I need suggestions. I don’t think I’m brave enough to try to bake my own bread (cos, well… I don’t really bake at all – mixing ingredients and stuff: way too traumatic!).

I need breakfast options. Stat!
Oh… and is it weird that I’m angsty about a fave product being changed? 

Please note, this post reflects my opinion only and is not a sponsored post. Obviously.  

 

31 Comments
  • Miz
    August 20, 2012

    it is SO WEIRD.
    if by WEIRD you mean PRECISELY HOW I ALWAYS AM 🙂
    Ive gots no real tips (Im eggwhites and veggie sausage) but am ready to steal your readers’ ideas.

    • Debbish
      August 20, 2012

      I was trying to find an old post I’d written Miz about the fact that I have the same breakfast EVERY SINGLE DAY! It’s easy and I have the routine down pat. Plus I can eat it one-handed as I’m checking my emails before going to work!!!

  • Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy
    August 20, 2012

    That’s so stupid that you can’t close the bag.

    • Debbish
      August 20, 2012

      I know! I kept thinking there would be some way of resealing it, but once you pull the lengthwise flap up it doesn’t reseal. Argh!

      Deb

  • Eating as a Path to Yoga
    August 20, 2012

    Can you contact the company? I’d be freaking out!!!!!

    • Debbish
      August 21, 2012

      I did check out their website etc but they aren’t on social media so there’s no easy contact options. But… I figured given they’ve already got the new packaging etc it’ll probably be too late!

      Deb

  • Julia
    August 21, 2012

    Uh, that sucks. I hate it when a product I love get an update that makes it suck. Usually it happens on my computer – I can’t imagine it happening to the one type of break I could eat.

    My go to breakfast is sauteed mushrooms and spinach with egg whites and Morning Star breakfast sausages (the are vegetarian). It takes about 10 minutes of cooking/prep, but it fills me up and tastes so good. On the days I don’t have eggs, I eat yogurt with fruit and grape nuts (a cereal).

    • Debbish
      August 21, 2012

      Hmmm…. 10mins of prep isn’t too bad (at the moment mine’s less than 5mins) – I hate mornings so am up and out of the door within about 20mins so make and eat breakfast quite quickly. When I drive into work I’ve been known to actually eat it on the way but I do try to sit at my computer and check my emails before heading off for the day.

      I don’t mind cereal and yoghurt, but it’s winter here so been a bit cold for that.

      Deb

  • Mademoiselle Slimalicious
    August 21, 2012

    Funny post Debbie! Personally I love bread but the real stuff not the one that comes as a rectangle/brick. Being French I grew up on crunchy baguette and sourdough 🙂 I’ve never heard of gluten free bread in France so it’s lucky Australia has so many GF options.

    • Debbish
      August 21, 2012

      Very true. I don’t know how I’d cope if I travelled extensively. I did a lot of travel BEFORE my diagnosis but haven’t been o/s since.

      I dream of a trip to Italy one day but with all of that pasta and pizza etc I’d be in trouble (though I think most countries have coeliac societies of some type so I’d have to do my research before I left!).

      Deb

  • Lou Lou
    August 21, 2012

    Hello!!!!!!! Still in my baby bubble but making rare appearances. Oh that is bad news about the bread, I hate when they do that! I left Sydney years ago when a Milo bar was a Milo bar. On my last trip home I purchased a Milo bar only to discover that they have added a caramel layer on the bottom. Bastards.

    • Debbish
      August 22, 2012

      Oh, yes… You reminded me of the changes to diet coke. I was a HUGE drinker back in the day (late 1980s) when they removed nutrisweet and added something else and I was devastated. A friend and I used to drive all about town finding old stocks of the stuff. Eventually though we got used to the ‘new’ stuff. Alas.

      Perhaps that will happen with the bread. The bendiness will be a distant memory…

      Hope all going well!
      xx

  • Liz@LastChanceTraining
    August 22, 2012

    Yup, hate it. I was peeved when they took their Spelt bread off the market. Poo!

    • Debbish
      August 23, 2012

      I checked out a different supermarket today in case they still had some of the old stuff, but alas… might check the corner store near my train station (and buy them out!).

      Deb

  • Mel
    August 24, 2012

    I cant get past an extra $2.50 p/slice surcharge! But at least you can eat bread from a cafe and not pay for it later, so to speak… It’s so much more common now that it’s great that companies are starting to have really good ranges with lots of variety for these kinds of diet issues. My hubby is lactose intolerant and thank god for Parmalat milk!!!

    • Debbish
      August 24, 2012

      Mel the thing that frustrates me is that the normal meal comes with some toasted turkish bread, but to exchange it with GF toast it costs $2.50; but then it costs $2.50 for a whole extra piece as well. I think it should be less if you are exchanging it. (I have – on occasion – ordered a second piece which is how I know it’s $2.50 for a replacement piece or an additional piece!!!)

  • Gauri
    August 27, 2012

    OH my gosh. Hi. I’m a first-time visitor to this blog but I just have to comment and say the ‘new’ and allegedly ‘improved’ country life bread has absolutely broken my heart. I like my toast black and crispy, and this new and improved recipe doesn’t blacken, and once toasted it takes on a texture like dry, unsweetened fairy floss. It is rank.

    I’ve been enjoying savoury toast toppings on a bed of quinoa, e.g. two poached eggs and smashed avocado. You can’t put ABC spread and raspberry jam on quinoa, though… 🙁

    • Debbish
      August 27, 2012

      Hi Gauri and welcome! I must admit I’m still eating the Country Life bread – getting through the packet, though am not sure if I’ll continue buying it. I do like to have bread/toast as an option.

      I’m the opposite in that I like my bread VERY lightly toasted – how bizarre that it doesn’t blacken! But it definitely has a different texture.

      Must confess I haven’t tried quinoa – I’m so lazy when it comes to trying different things (and am the same with polenta!).

      Thanks for your comment!
      Deb

  • Amy
    September 1, 2012

    I’m allergic to soy as well as coeliac so I can’t have the new CLB gluten free loaves because the new ones contain SOY FLOUR! DARN!!!

    Now I can’t eat any bread at all unless I make it from scratch. Lots of people on a strictly soy free diet (even if they weren’t gf) relied on this bread because it was the only range in the supermarket that didn’t contain soy.

    In the USA and the UK they’re working on getting “fresh” loaves that are gluten free dairy free AND soy free nationwide. Come on Australia, we should be moving forwards NOT backwards! 🙁

  • Amy
    September 1, 2012

    I’m allergic to soy as well as coeliac so I can’t have the new CLB gluten free loaves because the new ones contain SOY FLOUR! DARN!!!!

    Now I can’t eat any bread at all unless I make it from scratch. Lots of people on a strictly soy free diet (even if they weren’t gf) relied on this bread because it was the only range in the supermarket that didn’t contain soy.

    In the USA and the UK they’re working on getting “fresh” loaves that are gluten free dairy free AND soy free nationwide. Come on Australia, we should be moving forwards NOT backwards! 🙁

    • Debbish
      September 1, 2012

      Oh no! I do realise I’m actually fortunate that I’m not allergic to more than gluten (and lactose – kinda!). And I completely agree re moving forward, though I’m always excited when something new comes onto the market. I feel like I can eat like a ‘normal’ person!

      Thanks for dropping by Amy!

      Deb

  • Tara
    September 4, 2012

    I contatcted the company to enquire how long it lasts without freezing. They said if you take it out of the original packaging, put it in an airtight container and place in a cool place or fridge it should last 7 days.

    However, I am looking all over the net trying to find anyone who has found themselves feeling sick while eating it. I’m not sure what change has done so.

    • Debbish
      September 4, 2012

      Oh no Tara! I haven’t been sick. Did you see the comment from Amy. She’s allergic to soy and apparently the new improved bread uses soy flour so she can’t eat it.

      Deb

  • Danielle
    November 17, 2012

    I love ur article, especially cos of restaurants charging by the slice but no extra info if it’s good. This new country life bread is incredible topped with a little butter n omegamite (gluten free vegemite) I’m hooked, addicted, craving! I just wish it was a tad cheaper. The government should offer some subsidiary help to those ppl who are coeliac, (not just following a fad diet). Rant over lol thank u

    • Debbish
      November 17, 2012

      Hi Danielle, I have to admit I’m getting used to the new Country Life bread, but find it a bit too burnt – if that makes sense. I’m not a lover of crusts and the top of the loaf is always so DARK and burnt-tasting for me!

      I’m sure I read in the US – that the government provides some sort of subsidy or tax relief to (proven) coeliacs to make up for items being more expensive.

      I whinge about the prices a lot but it’s only when my friends buy stuff to cater for me, that they’re equally shocked. “Did you know that tiny loaf of bread was $6.50?” sort of thing. (Well, d-oh! What have I been complaining about all of this time!!!)

      Thanks for visiting my blog.
      Deb

  • caroline
    December 12, 2012

    I agree, the new bread is nowhere near as nice as the original, which if you got it fresh was as soft and even tastier than regular bread. My favourite was the multigrain. Perhaps if enough people complain they’ll reintroduce the range. I’ve been a coeliac diagnosed since 2001.

    • Debbish
      December 13, 2012

      I am getting used to the new bread I must admit Caroline, but I hate the packaging. By coming in the sealed packet it means I have to open it immediately and separate the loaf into slices before putting it in the freezer. PLUS it sticks together a lot and I end up with ripped pieces!

      I’m still eating the low GI, but recently had the multigrain and (in the new line) think I may prefer it!!!

      Deb

  • Ashley
    January 23, 2013

    Have you tried the new PureBred at Coles its yum just like real bread and is lower fat than CL????

    • Debbish
      January 23, 2013

      I haven’t Ashley, but I must check it out. I’m actually getting some different GF bread to review next week so looking forward to that!

  • lauren
    February 13, 2013

    Wow.. am really surprised by how many people don’t like the new country life bread… I am loving being able to eat sandwiches again.. I found the old bread to be really dense and weird toasted. This new improved country life hasn’t even made it to a toaster yet as I enjoy it that much as bread.

    I actually discovered it again (I stopped when I discovered it had dairy in the old version) while looking for purebred. Have heard rave reviews about purebred but I found it to taste and smell burnt and like vinegar… Not nice at all.

    • Debbish
      February 13, 2013

      I haven’t actually heard of purebread I have to admit. Will google it!

      I also recently reviewed Lifestyle Bakery new GF bread!

      Deb

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