The Shelf-Life of Gluten-Free Bread

After I’d been gluten-free for a while, I decided to explore GF breads. I wasn’t in much of a hurry since I hadn’t heard rave reviews on these non-wheat based breads, and I wanted to get out of the habit of eating bread — I figured if I kept bread as a major part of my diet, I’d continue to miss regular bread.

Once the regular habit was broken, I introduced bread back into my diet in small quantities (half the time these days, I forget I have a loaf in the freezer!). GF bread is pricey and I don’t have a lot of time for making really good stuff from scratch (though I am trying!), so I don’t buy a lot of it.

The thing that shocked me the most came when I was checking out options online — at that point, Whole Foods was the only store in my immediate area that carried GF breads, and, well, Whole Foods is also pricey. Since I wasn’t sure I’d like the stuff, I didn’t want to invest in bread as much as explore it.

As I searched websites, I noted some product descriptions touting a shelf-life of six months for gluten-free breads! I couldn’t understand this, particularly because gluten-free breads go bad so quickly. They tend to dry out super-fast.

In fact, most grocery stores keep their stock of GF breads in the freezer section. This allows this relatively low-volume product to stay fresh on the shelves. Fresh GF bread would simply go bad too quickly.

That being said, sometimes you will find “fresh” gluten-free breads. Companies like Dr Schär say their breads can be stored at room temperature for six months (check the date on the packages) as long as the original packaging is not opened. Their vacuum-sealed packaging helps retain freshness for long periods of time. Once you’ve open the package, it needs to be consumed in 2 – 3 days or refrigerated.

As a rule, most GF breads don’t last more than a week unless they’ve been refrigerated (not recommended as fridges dry out products) or frozen (highly recommended). If you see a long “shelf stable” or “shelf-life” timeframe, verify this information on the manufacturer’s website. Sometimes, a site will have bad metadata and the shelf-life information references the frozen lifespan, not how long the bread will survive on your kitchen counter.

The frozen bread rule applies to breads you bake yourself. Once breads are baked and appropriately cooled, slice the breads or break down the items into servings appropriate for your family, wrap tightly in freezer-safe wrap. And label the bread with type and date put into the freezer. You’ll thank yourself later!

(For more tips on storing freshly baked gluten-free breads, read this post at Glutenfreeonashoestring.com; I am using her <em>Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread</em> book as my bible for baking.)

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8 thoughts on “The Shelf-Life of Gluten-Free Bread”

  1. Check out this website and in search type “gluten free”. I am shocked to see all the recipes, I do not do xanthan gum, cornstarch, other starches because I am diabetic & they are not healthy for you anyway. But I have learned you can use ground flax seed meal that will do the same thing, along with chia seeds and gelatin, yes, gelatin. Check out: http://www.glutenfreeclub.com/substitutes-xanthan-guar-gum/ and the best one: http://www.glutenfreeclub.com/substitutes-xanthan-guar-gum/. Take care…

  2. laura — i am one of those people who firmly believes we should be ingesting as little refined carbs as possible. i rarely eat GF breads for this reason. i don’t have an issue with ingesting xanthan gum or cornstarch, but use both ingredients in extreme moderation (and i’m a huge fan of gelatin, especially in meatloaf and meatballs — it helps retain moisture and is often more effective than breadcrumbs).

  3. I agree. I have tried several and after one bite thrown away. Shar is horrible. I do like once in a while Three Bakers 7 Ancient Grains….but I have pretty much given up on bread in general and as an Italian heritage it has been extremely hard. Where can I find recipes substituting flax for xahum gum. How to use gelatin in meatloaf, I have gelatin and use to make own jello with fresh fruit but not sure how else to use. Thank you

  4. Why does all gluten free products taste and smell so bad. Why do they have to put in so many weird sounding products in to make up for the flour. Whatever it is I can smell it as soon as I open the product. They put in 5 or 6 different things to replace one product. And whatever it is upsets my stomach and the bread, buns, etc. are so dry. I have spent hundreds on foods I can’t even stand to eat. Why can’t they make a pill that helps people digest gluten. This whole thing is crazy.

  5. replacing the properties of gluten is a complicated business. gluten is stretchy and sticky, and that is what makes it so useful in baked goods. in order to mimic those properties, a variety of ingredients are required. the dry qualities are, again, a result of no gluten. it’s a lot easier to accept once you realize it’s not the same food. and it will never be the same food — different grains have different qualities, and people who try to convince themselves that it “tastes like the real thing” are missing the point. gluten-free baked goods are always going to be different.

    maybe someday there will be medication to help people digest gluten, and if you’re reacting badly to gluten-free baked goods, you may have other sensitivities. now for some tough love here: it might be time to take your diet in another direction. personally, i just avoid the gluten-free baked goods as much as possible. sure, sometimes i might have a sandwich, but that is fairly rare. for things like crackers, i have found the blue diamond nut brand to be a great alternative, and many of my friends buy and eat that brand because they love the flavors (these friends are *not* GF).

  6. Hi If I was going on vacation and will not have freezer available how l9ng wouldGlutino loaf last if I only had bar fridge would it last 2 to three weeks label says good until August 2019 but that is frozen
    Thanks

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