Thursday 2 February 2012

Warburton’s: Wheat & Gluten Free

Warburtons has long been know for its bread, and at the beginning of 2011 it took the momentous step to open a brand new dedicated wheat & gluten free bakery in Newcastle. Here they create their own free-from fresh bread and bakery products specially for people with coeliac disease and those having to follow a gluten free diet, without any risk of cross contamination.

First onto the market was their white and brown sliced bread and rolls. Leading on from the success of this, last month they launched 3 new tasty products aimed more at the sweets, treats and snacks market. Lemon & poppy seed muffins, cranberry & blueberry muffins and a spiced fruit loaf.

I can now let you in on a little secret. Back in October I, along with a few other selected gluten free bloggers (Fiona, Lucy & Annie) and some members of Coeliac UK got a special sneak preview at these products. We were all invited to Newcastle to visit their specialist bakery, taste some samples and give feedback on their current and proposed ranges as well as getting in a few requests for new product ideas and issues with obtaining gluten free foods.

It was an eye opening and very enjoyable experience. We got a grand tour of the bakery and saw the bread being made: dough, proofing, baking and packaging. The room where they proof the loaves of bread is like a giant walk in sauna.

We then got to try the products. The muffin loaves look very stylish and I love how they are baked in their own little cardboard cases. This gives them a better quality appearance and means they won’t get quite so squished if you have one in your handbag for a while. I found them to be very moist with a tender yet quite close texture. There is a generous amount of fruit in each one, although I found there was a slightly chemical aftertaste. I suspect this is due to a large amount of raising agent to help it rise, as I’ve found similar things in other GF products.

The fruit loaf, for me, was the star of the show. It’s a soft, springy loaf that’s studded with a generous amount of raisins and sultanas and nicely spiced with cinnamon. As you know, I adore anything cinnamony, but the loaf itself was also excellent. It wasn’t at all dry or crumbly and I enjoyed several slices on their own without the need to add any butter. I’ve also found its delicious toasted and topped with jam. It tastes like a hot cross bun in loaf form and is certainly going to be a regular on my shopping list from now on.

Back in October, the mini muffin loaves were destined to be sold in coffee shops but I have since spotted them in Asda, along with the spiced fruit loaf, so they may be available on a wider scale. If you are already a fan of their fresh bread and rolls the good news is that they are now also available to order on prescription! I tried their sliced bread and rolls when they were first launched and was disappointed to find they were dry and fell apart very easily. However Warburton’s have since rectified this problem and I can now happily say, for me, their sliced bread is the best on the market (still not crazy about the rolls though). I like how its not full of added bulkers, starches, fat and sugar like some GF breads. I used to prefer Genius, but the last few times I’ve had it is has been very dry, overly sweet and full of holes, so I’m afraid that’s now been crossed off my list.

I really appreciate all the hard work and dedication Warburton’s are putting into getting their gluten and wheat free products to taste good. The fact they have opened a purely gluten free bakery shows they are in it for the long haul and really seem to care about making a genuinely good quality product for people with coeliac disease, rather than just jumping on the gluten free bandwagon as some companies seem to be doing.
I also just wanted to say I have not been paid for this review and I do not blog about things I don't truly believe are good. If I don't like a product, it doesn't get blog space.


Aarthi said...

they look yummy


Cupcake Crazy Gem said...

Wow that's so cool you got to go on a factory tour, lucky you! and I'm quite impressed at the flavour pairing of blueberry and cranberry, that's not something you see very often this side of The Atlantic! I have to admit usually when I see that something is wheat or gluten free I'll automatically not want to try it and walk by! but I could change my mind for those that's for sure!

Caroline said...

Great review. It's always good to know what products are like - I have to admit that I was rather sceptical when I saw Warburtons had brought out GF products, but after your review I will certainly bear them in mind if I need GF bread for any reason!