The news that Whole Foods decided to discontinue their 365 brand of gluten-free mixes wasn’t very welcomed by people who shop at Whole Foods. Gluten-Free Philly broke the story last week and Twitter was all abuzz about it. The article over at Peanut Allergy offers an interesting comment about the possible over saturation of the gluten-free market. It’s not understandable that mainstream consumers have gluten mixes produced by only three companies and the gluten-free market has over 100. Not all mixes are in all stores, areas or cities and many lines are sold only online. However, in the Atlanta area, we can buy products from almost 30 different gluten-free mix product lines.
We only used the brownie mix from the 365 line regularly, but when I noticed the ingredients in the Whole Foods and Betty Crocker mix were essentially the same, I used the Betty Crocker brownie mix with the instructions from the Whole Foods mix. Actually, instead of using 7 tablespoons of butter, I use 6. The result was that the brownies tasted like the Whole Foods version, but had longer shelf life after they were baked. The Gluten-Free Naturals brownie mix makes a wonderful flaky top brownie, in case you haven’t tried that one yet. 123 Gluten Free also makes an exceptional brownie mix, as does Pamela’s Products.
The Whole Foods gluten-free All-Purpose Baking Mix can easily be replaced with the Gluten-Free Pantry mix since the ingredients in each are white rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, guar gum and salt. The ingredients are listed in the exactly same order on both products. Each product “might contain soy” as well. Interesting since the Gluten-Free Pantry line is what Whole Foods corporate is suggesting customers buy instead of the 365 line. Other fabulous baking mixes are the Pancake & Baking mix from Pamela’s and the all purpose flour from Jules Gluten Free.
An exceptional alternative pizza crust to the 365 mix is the one from Gluten-Free Naturals. This dough is the easiest to work with that I’ve found to date, though it’s not a traditional type dough that requires rolling out. The taste of the crust is really excellent – better than some gluten crust mixes. Bob’s Red Mill pizza crust is a good crust that’s fairly healthy due to the bean flour in it. It makes a hearty crust that will stand up to the heaviest toppings you can think to use. Tracy’s Treats make a great pizza crust mix as well and it’s also easy to work with.
There are many great gluten-free cornbread mixes on the market. Again, Gluten-Free Naturals makes a wonderful mix that can be made sweet if desired. It’s good old fashioned cornbread that browns up beautifully in a cast iron skillet (not required for great taste). Pamela’s makes a great Cornbread & Corn Muffin Mix and the Pancake & Baking mix from the line makes a great version as well. The recipe on the Pamela’s website and calls for corn meal, which isn’t always easy to find gluten-free. Several brands are listed in the gluten-free Grocery Guide. Enriched cornmeal will almost always contain gluten in the form of wheat flour.
The 365 brand muffin mix can be replaced with the same from Tracy’s Treats, 123 Gluten Free, Island Gluten Free Bakery and Namaste. Good options for bread mixes are Breads by Anna, Gluten-Free Naturals, Island Gluten Free Bakery, Pamela’s Products and Tracy’s Treats. The new Sandwich Bread flour mix from Gluten-Free Naturals makes a killer foccacia bread as well! These brands and tons of others are all listed, along with all their individual gluten-free products, in the Grocery Guide.
Rumors persist that Gluten-free Pantry makes both the Betty Crocker and Whole Foods gluten-free mixes. If true, non disclosure statements would keep the involved parties from discussing it. I asked a Betty Crocker representative who made the mixes for them and my contact told me they did not know. Whole Foods prices tend to be high on most everything labeled gluten-free – except for these mixes that they are now dropping. It might be that there was not enough of a profit margin in the 365 mix line for the giant chain to bother with. Let us know what you think about the decision to drop this product line by Whole Foods. If you use other mixes not listed above, please leave a comment as well.
UPDATE – Press release from King Arthur Flour:
Available March 1 at kingarthurflour.com and soon at food retailers nationwide, King Arthur Flour’s gluten-free line includes GlutenFree Multi-Purpose Flour for scratch baking, along with seven convenience mixes: GlutenFree Bread, Pizza Crust, Cookie, Brownie, Chocolate Cake, Muffin, and Pancake mixes. Suggested retail prices range from $4.99 to $6.99. The new line is supported with recipes for gluten-free baking available at kingarthurflour.com, as well as several additional gluten-free ingredients.
It looks like we’ve really hit the big time now!!!! King Arthur? I can hardly believe my eyes. This is the best news I’ve had on a Monday in a very long time!