A Common Question
Adopting a new way of eating can be confusing and overwhelming. So when it comes to a gluten free diet, The Gluten Free Society wants to be your go to source of trusted information to help guide your gluten free journey.
There are a number of breads marketed as gluten free, and it can be hard to sort through what is best. It is not uncommon for people to confuse wheat free with gluten free. And although wheat contains gluten, it is not the only gluten loaded grain. Rye is often overlooked, and for those with gluten sensitivity and celiac disease, this can be a big mistake.
One common question among those who are trying to avoid gluten -”Is rye bread gluten free?”
What is Rye?
Rye, or “secale cereale” is a hardy grain that can be grown in a wide variety of conditions. It is a member of the wheat tribe Triticeae, and is closely related to both wheat and barley. It is commonly grown in northern climates around the world. It is dark in color with an earthy flavor. This grain is commonly used to make pumpernickel and crisp breads. It is also used to make whiskeys, beers, and livestock feed. The grain is also used as a growing medium for different types of mushrooms.
Traditional rye bread is made exclusively from rye flour. However, in most applications now, rye bread is made from a grist of wheat and rye flours. This is due to the fact that rye gluten is weaker than wheat gluten, and so wheat is added to improve the texture and stability of rye bread.
Rye is particularly susceptible to contamination with ergot, a toxic mold fungus that replaces the grain in the rye head during development. Ergotism can contribute to neurological damage, hallucinations, and even death. Ergot has been linked to the term “Bread Madness”. Epidemic outbreaks were more common in the past, but with modern cleaning and milling methods, this problem has been greatly reduced.
Gluten in Rye Bread
It’s important for gluten-free eaters to know that all grains contain gluten. While many often think only of wheat, the truth is, all grains contain gluten.
One of those grains is rye. Rye contains a type of gluten protein called secalin. This protein is known to be a trigger for celiac disease. Relative to wheat, rye is slightly lower in gluten content than and higher in soluble fiber. Just because it has a lower gluten content, does not mean it is safe for consumption. The bottom line is that rye bread is not gluten free, and it is definitely not safe for celiacs or those with non celiac gluten sensitivity.
Alternatives to Rye Bread
If you miss bread, there are a number of tasty options. Gluten free alternatives to rye bread include potato bread, and bread made with almond flour, tapioca flour, or other gluten free flours. It is important to be careful, because many packaged breads and bread products have been shown to be cross contaminated with gluten. The safest approach is to make your own bread, or to purchase bread that is certified gluten free.
Gluten-Free Alternative Recipe Ideas
The biggest challenge with making rye free/gluten free bread at home is texture and taste. Many alternative bread flours come nowhere close to traditional breads. Our favorite premade bread mix is Warrior Bread. It is certified gluten free, and it is quick and simple to mix up for fresh and healthy bread whenever you want it, and it actually tastes great. Use it for sandwiches, avocado toast, French toast, homemade croutons, and more. You can check out a couple of excellent rye bread alternative recipes using Warrior Bread mix below:
Gluten Free Rye Sandwich Bread
1 bag Warrior Bread Mix
1 cup Water
1 Cup Egg Whites (or whole eggs for a denser loaf)
3 tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Whisk together water, egg whites, and apple cider vinegar.
- Slowly add the mix, while whisking. Whisk briskly as it thickens. Once mixed, allow to rest a minute.
- With damp hands, knead the dough together then shape into an oblong loaf that will fit in the bread pan.
- Bake on the center rack in the oven for 1 hour 15 minutes. Cover loosely with aluminum foil for the last 15-20 minutes if the bread gets too brown.
- Cool in pan for 5 minutes. If necessary, run a knife around the sides of the pan to loosen the bread.
- Using oven mitts, transfer the loaf to cool on a rack.
Gluten Free Garlic Bread
- 1 Package Warrior Bread Mix
- 1 Cup Egg Whites
- 1 Cup Water
- 2 Tablespoons Cider Vinegar
- 1/2 Cup Vegan and Grain Free Butter (i.e. Miyoko’s) (Melted)
- 4 Cloves garlic (Pressed or Grated
- 1 Teaspoon Garlic powder
- 1/4 Teaspoon Dried Chili Flakes
- 1 Tablespoon Italian Dried Herb Blend
- 2 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley (Finely Chopped)
- Preheat oven to 425
- Pour the warrior bread mixture into a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the egg whites, water, and vinegar.
- Pour the liquids into the bread mixture and stir for about 1 minute until it thickens and comes together. Set aside for one minute.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Split the dough in half and roll each half into a 15 inch log.
- Bake the bread for about 40 minutes until browned and fully cooked. Remove from heat and allow to cool fully
- Preheat the broiler to high
- Slice the loaves of bread in half the long way.
- In a bowl, mix the melted butter, fresh garlic, garlic powder, chili flake, and italian herbs.
- Arrange the bread, cut side up, on a baking sheet. Generously spoon the melted butter over the cut side of each bread loaf.
- Broil the bread for about 4-5 minutes, watching the whole time, until lightly browned and delicious.
While rye bread is off the table when following a gluten free diet, there are several healthy and delicious alternatives to satisfy your craving for rye bread. Want more information about safely navigating the gluten free diet? Check out Glutenology. This free masterclass can help you fast track your gluten free diet knowledge.