Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Taste Taste: Gluten-Free Bread From Common Ground

Posted By on Wed, Jun 19, 2013 at 8:31 AM

I know. I know. For a dedicated lover of gluten, I’ve been writing about the freedom from it a lot lately. But I'm trying to keep an open mind.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I visited the Nashville Farmers' Market on a pleasant Friday and stumbled upon Common Ground. Set up in the rear section of the farm shed, they had a variety of baked goods for sale, including a gluten-free sandwich bread.

The folks who make Common Ground breads operate from a bakery and cafe in Pulaski, Tenn., where they live on what is, essentially, a small religion-based commune. They eagerly offer samples of their fruit breads and other baked goods as well as something they call a “green drink” which has yerba mate harvested from a sister community in Brazil. But I was interested in the gluten-free bread, which looked pretty good.

The bread is made from a combination of garbanzo bean (aka chickpea) flour, other bean flours, potato starch and a number of other natural ingredients to give it the shape and mouthfeel of a standard wheat bread. It’s a small loaf, but weighs nearly 2 pounds. The taste is good, albeit tangy (from the garbanzo beans and apple cider vinegar, I assume), but isn’t exactly like standard bread. Its taste is stronger than a regular bread, so it may not be right for your PB&J, but is perfectly suited for cold cuts, tomatoes, lettuce and other standard sandwich filling. I had Swiss cheese, tomato and arugula on mine, and it was delicious.

I note the weight, though, because it is rather heavy. The texture is quite coarse, and it’s filling. Not a bad thing; just worth noting. There were a couple of pieces that were a bit gummy at the bottom, but they tasted just fine. Because it is free of artificial preservatives, I kept it in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator to prevent it from getting stale or moldy, so I toasted it for my sandwich (which helped the gumminess issue). However, it doesn’t brown like traditional sandwich bread because of the lack of added sugar. But it does crisp nicely.

Overall, the bread is a great choice for those who want/need a certified gluten-free sandwich bread. At $5 per loaf (I think), it’s a bit pricey, but sometimes you just want a sandwich. And if you keep it in the refrigerator or freezer, it will last for quite a while as an occasional treat.

You can find a variety of items from Common Ground, including the yerba mate and energy bars along with gluten-free and specialty breads every Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the farm shed at the Nashville Farmers Market. For more information about their cafe, visit their Facebook page.

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