Today's Favorite Thing is Brought to You By The Number Twelve

Perhaps Francis Bacon said it best, Acorns were good till bread was found.  I love bread.  I love it in all its forms – rolls, sliced, even crackers (hey, they are made from dough).  So weighing in at number 12 in my Gluten Free Mike’s Favorite Things is a proverbial basket full of bread.   Perhaps the biggest blow to me when diagnosed with Celiac was that at the time, there was really no bread available that tasted remotely like the real thing.  Yes, times have certainly changed but finding bread, rolls, and crackers that tasted consistently real can still prove challenging.   I have been singing the praises of Schär gluten free products a lot after discovering a free-standing display in my local grocery.  I have almost worked my way through their entire product portfolio so thought I would share with you some of my all time favorites.

Schär Crackers
I had actually not purchased these crackers the first time I tried them.  I was at a friend’s house for cocktails and low and behold these were purchased for my enjoyment.  Not to mention they were neatly protected from the gluten-filled options by a carefully constructed napkin wall – very nice touch!

But I digress, back to the crackers.  These crackers were light a buttery not dense and heavy as can sometimes be the case.  The worked extremely well with cheese, dip, and meat.  They are just salty enough so as not to overpower whatever you decided to top them with.  They are a bit delicate but after years of dense and cakey gluten free options I welcome their fragility wholeheartedly.  Also, they are a bit larger than their more traditional counterparts but again, you can pile more toppings on to enjoy.  If you love crackers, please do give these a try.

Schär Classic White Bread
The final bread item from the Schär portfolio is their classic white bread.  I have had their rolls, whole grain, and now completing the bread trifecta is their white loaf.  Now, in full disclosure, I am more of a whole grain kind of guy, but every now and then I crave the sweetness that is good old fashioned, gasp, white bread.Once again, Schär does not disappoint.  Whatever magic they are working over in Germany is translating beautifully here in the States.  This bread is light, airy, and just sweet enough to remind one of the gluten-filled white versions of the past.  The slices are robust enough to take on whatever toppings you throw at them without going soggy or leaking.  The bread toasts up wonderfully (and quickly) and makes for one heck of a good grilled cheese sandwich.  Yes, the slices are a bit smaller that more traditional brands but not having to bake it myself and having a product that tastes like the real thing wins out over size.  Also, the calorie count is far more waist-friendly at 70 calories per slice – so go ahead, indulge in its doughy goodness,So if you are waxing nostalgic for some good old time white bread, give this brand a try and I promise you will not be disappointed.

Schär Classic White Rolls
The next item in the bread line-up from Schär is their delectable white rolls.  Now, I cannot even begin to remember the last time I had a proper roll since going gluten free.  Each visit to the supermarket I am always sure to pick up another package of these rolls as I tend to go through them rather quickly.  The best thing about them (taste aside) is that they last a very long time if you refrigerate them.The rolls are smaller than a traditional Kaiser of the like but still are a fantastic substitute when you are craving, oh I don’t know, a burger that is in something other than lettuce.  Like the multigrain bread, these rolls toast up like you would not believe.  They are surprisingly light and crisp up nicely in the toaster.  They provide just the right amount of density to hold up well to whatever you place between them without soaking through or going all soggy.I have made everything from cheese steaks to burgers. Actually, order a burger from your favorite diner or delivery place sans bun and while waiting for it to arrive, toast up one of these bad boys and when your burger arrives simply plate and enjoy on your very own gluten free bun.  These rolls have helped eliminate the quandary of what kind of takeout to order because I am usually so limited and tend to order the same thing over and over.  I am still somewhat limited given my shellfish allergy but at least I can quickly construct my own gluten free delights from the staple that is New York City delivery.

Schär Wholegrain Bread
Continuing with my Schär kick and my goal of trying every item that comprises the display in my supermarket I thought I would review their multigrain bread.  I know grain and Celiac do not normally meld well together but this bread is most definitely gluten free.I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the Schär products I have sampled to-date.  This bread was not any different.  It was very close to the real thing and as far as I am concern is the Celiac real deal.  Now it is not a straight out of the package to plate bread – you have to work a little, but the reward is well worth it.  You need to “refresh” the product to help bring it back to life if you will.  It is a simple process, either wrap it in a paper towel and pop in the microwave for a few seconds or place in a heated oven for a few minutes.  I went the oven route and it worked perfectly.  I then proceeded to toast the bread and it toasted up magnificently.  The texture is, well bread-like, but has the nutty benefit of being whole grain so it is a bit more complicated in the flavor department than your run of the mill white.  It toasts up a dream and is crisp and flakey.  It is also not sticky in the slightest as we often see with some rice-based bread.  The only down-side is that, as with many gluten free bread precuts, the slices are a bit small but GFM welcomes this as it keeps me honest in the portion department.  I have used this bread for traditional sandwiches to open-faced and it never fails me.

Schär Italian Breadsticks
I came across these in the store the other day and after tasting them will soon be going back for more.  I have had other gluten free breadsticks before that were quite good but they were more bulky than these.  This particular brand reminds me of the classic Italian breadstick – thin and long.  Just the other day, while preparing nibbles for entertaining I was thinking wouldn’t it be great to have prosciutto-wrapped bread sticks on the table.  Alas, I only knew of smaller gluten free types so it was a no go.  Well, now that problem is solved…whew!These breadsticks are light, crisp and airy.  I enjoyed them all on their own but could see them adorned with prosciutto or even used to navigate through a creamy dip.  I also love the fact that you get 3 individual packages in each box.  Not only is this good for portion control – because I could have easily kept on eating the entire box – but also helps keep them crisp and fresh.

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