As the lunchmaker-in-chief in our household during the school year, I try to vary my older son's gluten-free lunches so that they don't get boring. I've made sandwich wraps for him in the past, but the brown-rice tortillas I used were not pliable and didn't hold up well long after being warmed in the microwave oven. I was intrigued, then, when I read about new gluten-free tortillas from French Meadow Bakery, which are made from a combination of rice flour and tapioca starch.
The company recently sent me a package of the 7-inch tortillas, along with its new gluten-free breads, to review. (The tortillas and breads also are casein-free, lactose-free, peanut-free and kosher parve.) All of the baked goods were shipped frozen, although the company says the breads can be found in the frozen-food aisles and bakery sections of stores.
Unlike the brown rice and corn tortillas my son has tried before, the French Meadow version had the texture - and even a bit of the elasticity - of wheat tortillas. I made him a cheese wrap in the morning before a day trip last week and it held up nicely through lunch time. (As with any tortillas, these should be warmed in the microwave.) This past weekend, he enjoyed a pan-grilled quesadilla, a blend of cheddar and mozzarella cheeses sandwiched between two tortillas.
My son also tasted the three different breads - sandwich, cinnamon-raisin and multigrain. The breads were not crumbly and all of them had a thick, chewy crust. Given that he's been eating the Whole Foods Gluten Free Bakehouse white sandwich bread for ages, I was surprised when he proclaimed the multigrain to be his favorite. It's made of a whole-grain flour blend that includes flax, quinoa, amaranth, millet and teff.
I also tried softening a couple slices of frozen French Meadow white bread in the microwave to see if it would make a decent sandwich. My son liked how the bread tasted as part of a turkey club. He thought the cinnamon-raisin bread made for good breakfast toast.
All French Meadow Bakery gluten-free products are certified by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization, a program of the Gluten Intolerance Group. The certification means that the products test at less than 10 parts-per-million of gluten. The company's gluten-free product line includes fresh and frozen fudge brownies and chocolate-chip cookies, Italian rolls and pizza crusts. All of the gluten-free products are made on dedicated equipment in a segregated area of the company's Minnesota bakery.
The only rub in my view is the amount of servings per package, based on the cost. A pack of six tortillas retails on French Meadow Bakery's online store for $3.99, while the breads, weighing about 14 to 15 ounces, sell for $4.99 each. Each package of bread contains eight slices. By comparison, the Whole Foods breads sell near me for $5.29 and are a full loaf, weighing 28 ounces and yielding 16 slices. Hopefully, as the company ramps up distribution of these products, it will eventually increase the package sizes. French Meadow currently is offering 20 percent off online orders by entering code fmb423ss34 at checkout. You can also print a "$1 off" coupon from the company's website for in-store purchases.
French Meadow Bakery will be among the vendors attending the Appetite for Awareness fundraiser at Philadelphia's Wachovia Center on September 30. The company will have samples of its breads, tortillas and a new line of cupcakes available at the event.