Product Review: Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Bread Mix

There certainly are a lot of gluten-free baking mixes available now. I was at Whole Foods a couple days ago, and noticed that Bob’s Red Mill has a gluten-free bread mix out, and that it can be made by hand or with a bread machine. I’m a little bit skeptical about a lot of these mixes, mostly because we always seem to have much better luck with our own mixes, but since it’s Bob’s Red Mill and can be made in a bread maker, I decided to give it a go. (Side note: Don’t miss our bread machine information page.)

Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Bread Mix

You may remember that we made scones with Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free baking mix. We found that the mix had a “beany” aftertaste, and several readers chimed in to support our opinion. So I was a little worried when I saw that Garbanzo Bean Flour was the first ingredient listed. Here are the ingredients: Garbanzo Bean Flour, Potato Starch, Corn Starch, White Sorghum Flour, Tapioca Flour, Evaporated Cane Juice, Fava Bean Flour, Xanthan Gum, Active Dry Yeast, Potato Flour, Sea Salt, Guar Gum, Soy Lecithin. For the record, the yeast isn’t mixed in. It comes in a little packet that is in the mix. If you give the mix a little taste, as one would expect, it tastes very beany, and is also surprisingly sweet. We decided to add some walnuts and chia seeds to our bread. Walnuts are great for flavor and also high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds are the same seeds that go on those “chia pets” they sell at drug stores, and are also high in Omega-3.

Walnuts and Chia Seeds

The instructions on the package for making the bread with a bread machine are rather simple. You add milk, egg (and egg whites), butter or vegetable oil, and cider vinegar. The mix makes it very easy, and you’ll have everything in the machine in a couple of minutes. Our machine calls for adding the liquids first, then the dry ingredients, and then finally the yeast on top of the dry. The machine is supposed to bring everything to the right temperature, but we still raise the temperatures of everything before we add them, just so we don’t delay the yeast.

So we put the egg in some warm water, and also microwaved the milk until it was around 110 degrees. If you will be adding butter, you’ll want to melt it. We used grape seed oil. Once all the liquids are around the right temperature, you mix them up and you’re ready to go.

Ingredients in the Bread Machine

So how did it go? Well we were really amazed at how much the bread rose! We’re used to making bread and having it only raise a couple inches. Check out the difference between the photo on the top, which is from our gluten-free bread machine bake-off, using a flour recipe from Annalise Roberts’ book, Gluten-Free Baking Classics for the Bread Machine. The bottom photo is the loaf from the Bob’s Red Mill mix. That’s a really big difference! We had a little bit of trouble with the loaf shrinking a bit (which made the center of the top fall in a little), but not as much as we’ve had with other loaves that ended up getting big.

Bake-Off Loaves

Bake-Off Loaves

Bob's Red Mill GLuten-Free Bread

Bob's Red Mill Loaf

That’s really huge. We’ve become so used to eating short, rectangular sandwiches that this almost ends up being too much of a slice! So how is the bread?

Slices of bread

Here’s a picture so you can see the texture. Fresh out of the machine, the bread was very light, and almost spongy. (It was a pain to slice until we let it sit longer!) When it was warm, I thought the bread was delicious (Sienna thought the bread was just OK, flavor-wise, though she was pretty blown away with how much it rose), and didn’t suffer from the same bean flavor that their baking mix did. I was especially enamored of the crust, which tasted a lot like real bread crust. When it cooled down, though, the bread definitely had more of a bean aftertaste, and was kind of dry. So like a lot of other gluten-free breads, you’ll find yourself toasting this bread before eating it. I was still very impressed with how fluffy the bread was, and how well it rose. The folks at Bob’s Red Mill must know a thing or two about making bread rise.

Final analysis: This mix makes a really good sandwich bread. There is still a bit of a bean aftertaste when you eat the bread alone, but in sandwiches it isn’t really a problem. As mentioned above, like most gluten-free breads, it definitely benefits from being toasted. One thing I don’t mention above is that the mix is very easy to use. If you’ve spent any time mixing your own gluten-free flours, you’ll know how a lot of them are so fine that they end up everywhere and can make a real mess. We haven’t really looked into how the price compares to mixing your own, but based on the price of the mix on Amazon, a loaf is going to cost five bucks. Finally, the Bob’s Red Mill mix gets five stars for rising and making fluffy bread.

We want to know: Got a favorite gluten-free bread mix? Have a different experience with this one? We’re especially curious to know if others feel the bread tastes too much like beans. Let us know in the comments.

Times we have visited: 1 (so your results may vary.)
Overall rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Price compared to “regular”: Looks about twice as expensive as wheat-based mixes available online.

Comments

  1. Sidney says

    I was wondering if you used the quick button on your machine or a regular setting? I tried making this and it turned out really nasty. My ingredients may have been too cold though. I have another packet though, maybe I should try again. Would love a grilled cheese sandwich.

    • Sienna says

      Sidney, we have a programmable machine so I actually used a setting that I specially programmed. If you don’t have a programmable machine, then yes, I would suggest using the quick or “rapid” setting. If you do have a programmable machine, my advice would be to eliminate any punch-downs. So you just want one rise and then straight to bake. As for the temperature of your ingredients, you definitely want your ingredients to be warm enough. The package has a recommended temperature for the liquids (I think it is 110 degrees). I’m curious… what about your bread was “nasty”? Did it rise properly but just taste bad? Or did it not rise? (By the way, the program that I used on our machine for this bread was the one recommended by Annalise Roberts’ book, Gluten-Free Baking Classics for the Bread Machine, though I think I increased the rise time on this by about 10 or 15 min.) If you try it again, let us know what happens!

      Sienna

  2. Sidney says

    Thank Sienna,

    My machine is an older model so it just has a few programs. I did not do the quick program though. I was thinking I would try it again and use warmer ingredients and the quick method. I will let you know if it works. The nasty part was from both the taste and the fact that it was very dense. It may just be time to upgrade my machine. Love this blog by the way. :)
    Sid

  3. says

    I just had Udi’s bread toasted for the first time and it was AWESOME! Have you tried it? How would you rate this store-bought brand compared to the home made Bob’s Red Mill Mix?

    • Dave says

      We keep hearing good things about Udi’s bread, but we haven’t had the chance to try it. Sounds like we should make the effort to get our hands on some.

  4. says

    Oh, you have to try Udi’s! I was a total breadaholic before diagnosis, and have to admit it is really good. You can leave it on the counter for days and still make a sandwich, just like “real” bread. I do prefer the white sandwich bread-I like my own whole grain over theirs (but of course mine is best the day it’s baked).

  5. Mary Garrard says

    Hi, I’ve used this mix off and on over the past few years–whenever I find it on sale I’ll pick up a couple of packages. I like it OK but I usually add something to jazz it up like raw millet, ground almonds, chopped sunflower seeds, etc, because I think the flavor and texture is otherwise a bit bland. I generally put in less fluid than it calls for because I think one of the reasons GF bread collapses is because it’s too soft from the liquid. It usually still collapses a bit anyway but not as much. I experiment a lot with bread and generally think the loaves I make from scratch beat the mixes. But then a mix is very handy, and even includes the yeast. So, there are tradeoffs. I don’t have a bread machine, so I mix by hand, usually with a wooden spoon because I’m too lazy to get out my hand mixer!

  6. Erika Hammond says

    Our experience with Bob’s is about the same as yours. Until recently, we preferred the Gluten Free Pantry’s Sandwich Bread Mix (also used their French Bread mix – frankly there doesn’t seem too much of a difference) with an extra pinch of xantham gum to make it stay together a little better. The taste is more mild then Bob’s. We really love Pamela’s Products Baking Mix for waffles and such and so recently tried their bread machine mix. It’s our new favorite – a really tight, delicious crumb and it slices like a dream. It’s brownish rather than white which was a little unexpected but tastes perfectly normal. Good stuff! And miles better than any bread you can buy at a store, even Angelina’s.

  7. says

    After reading the blogs regarding the bread becoming dry after it cools, I was wondering if there was another ingredient that could be added to keep it moist. In regular baking, I have seen recipes that mention adding yogurt or applesauce. Since I am new to the gf baking scene, has anyone tried anything like that? Don’t want to try something that is definitely not going to work- trying to find the perfect recipe is getting costly.

  8. Paige in Tacoma, WA says

    I tried to make this last night, and it turned out beautifully in the initial workings….however about 15 minutes after I took it out it started to cave in on itself, slowly but surely after about 20 minutes it was the saddest loaf of GF bread you’ve ever seen. I’d attach pictures if I could….so we will be trying some of the other mixes people have mentioned. We followed the ingredients to a T…but it on Basic for 1 and 1/2 lb loaf…and it didn’t work. Also, I noticed when I was cutting it up to put it in the duck food bad some parts of it were very porous and others were incredibly dense. This struck me as odd because I watched it until it set to bake and it mixed very evenly. Oh well on to the next mix. :)

  9. Kristin says

    I was in the unique position this past weekend to compare two loaves of gluten-free bread. I went to a gathering of friends at the Oregon coast (stormy!) and one of them made a huge dagwood sandwich to share. He was so sweet; he made one end of gluten-free bread that he made from the Bob’s Red Mill mix. I had also brought a loaf of gluten-free bread I made from the flour mix and recipe found in “Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking” — Bronski and Bronski. Their flour is brown rice and sorghum based with cornstarch and potato starch. The Bob’s loaf was twice as high while mine had that familiar ‘low rise’ profile. But I did find that the Bronski loaf was more moist and flavorful. I was given the leftover portion of the Bob’s loaf and it should make a fine bread pudding. I’m afraid my winner is the more humble-looking Bronski loaf. That said I’m deeply touched that a non-gluten free friend coming to a gathering of 10 people with me as the only one who must avoid gluten, made me a special loaf of bread.

  10. says

    The Bob’s Red Mill mix has an extremely strong bean taste AND smell. I found it so unpleasant the only thing I could do with it was throw it away. Yuck!

    It doesn’t matter what the texture or height is if it tastes and smells bad.

  11. Val says

    Bob’s Red Mill Bread Mix – there is one that is either hearty whole grain or ‘dark’ or something that indicates that it’s more than just white bread that I love. I usually add a couple tablespoons of caraway for an imitation rye flavor. Have also found how important to have ingredients at room temp and I take the paddle out of my bread machine after the first mix (with tongs) so it stays higher. I slice the entire loaf in half then slice that half crossways so I have a slice that is slightly smaller than regular bread. Almost always have it as toast- I just want to spread my peanut butter and jelly on it for breakfast. I have given up thinking that sandwiches are going to be part of my life now.

    Val

    • joel pettit says

      Val,
      Your sentiments sound familiar, since sandwiches have always been a huge part of my lunch and snack food diet. I do love toast, but I love my sandwiches even more.
      My search for a satisfying recipe seems endless, with DIY loaves being good out of the oven, and being suitable as a ‘dinner bread’ for the first day, before the toaster is needed.
      BUT, for a really decent sandwich bread, try Canyon Bakehouse (CO-based), or Franz Bakery (OR-based), both of which have websites and have been found at QFC and Real Canadian Superstore. Since needing to also go off corn, I have found Canyon Bakehouse 7-Grain bread to be the absolute greatest!
      Don’t give up on sandwiches!
      Joel

  12. Cyndy says

    I have been gluten free since last year oct. And i like gluten free bread. But i wanted to mak my own from scratch. However i dont have a bread machine so i thought this would be nice to make it in my oven. But this glutenfree bread mix taste like paste. It was awful and I wont try this again

  13. David B. says

    How is this an accurate review of a gluten-free product when you added your own ingredients from the start (walnuts and chia)? Wouldn’t it be more accurate to make the mix exactly as the instructions on the package direct, review the product, then afterwards show variations of the original mix?… There is no doubt the bread rises very well, but had (as my wife and kids explained) a strong “soapy” flavor when eaten alone or with butter. I would be more interested in knowing how to adjust the type of milk or add subtract ingredients to give the bread more flavor and rid it of the soapy or bean aftertaste.

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