The Importance of Bread

Rachel blogs as ‘The Coeliac’s Wife’, writing about being married to someone with coeliac disease. In this blog, she shares how baking bread for her husband with is an important part of their daily routine.

This post originally featured on ‘The Coeliac’s Wife’ blog.

When I was thinking about the content for my first blog I was struck by some of the regular routines I now follow because of living with someone who has coeliac disease.

There are now patterns and rhythms to my week that are necessary for helping to maintain a healthy diet. One of these is the regular making of bread.

We are fortunate that we live in an area where people who have a coeliac diagnosis receive free, monthly, prescriptions for ‘basics’. My husband opts for the Juvela All-Purpose Flour Mixes which we use predominantly for his bread, although occasionally a mix is also used for pastry (I will talk more about my love/hate relationship with pastry in the future).

Bread is one of those foods that we tend to take for granted; it forms part of many of our meals and is a staple.

I can clearly remember my first cookery lesson at comprehensive school in the 70s. In pairs we had to make a cup of milky coffee and a slice of toast! I was paired with my best friend and suggested that she make the toast while I did the coffee, how cowardly was that? Amusing as that bit of my history is, I think it is also telling that our introductory orientation round the kitchen at school was to make toast (on the grill not in a toaster). Is there something quite symbolic of this introduction to the world of cookery lessons? Does it suggest that bread, and the ability to cook with it, forms the foundations of cooking and maybe of life?

I never thought, all those years ago, how significant bread would become in my life. The responsibility of ensuring that the mixes are made up (generally every other day) to ensure that Mr F. always has something for breakfast and lunch is a role I take on with care. I remember one disaster with the prescribed Mix where it just all went horribly wrong. We had recently made the shift from using the bread maker to hand mixing and baking in the oven.  I was beside myself with anxiety as it was late evening and I knew Mr F. needed bread for work the following day. This was one occasion where I was so glad for late night shopping as we dashed off to the nearest supermarket to buy ready-made bread.

I think there is something very relevant about the (mundane) routine of baking bread when thinking about living with and managing coeliac disease.

The loaves I make are not carefully crafted artisan loaves that would win any competitions, but they are essentials for Mr F. and his diet and therefore are made with love and care. They form part of the routines and carefully considered behaviours that need to always be priority when baking or cooking for someone with any dietary needs.

Managing a gluten free diet is generally alien to anyone who has not had to think about the intricacies of carefully managing the day to day diet of someone with coeliac disease. The importance of bread ensures that Mr F. always has something to eat whether at home or at work. This is significant for his well-being, without this there are detrimental consequences. This may not be case for all with coeliac disease, but I know how difficult it is to grab a snack. 

Coeliac's Wife Gluten Free Bread

Looking forward to seeing how these three turn out. I went through a period some time ago where the loaves often came out rather misshaped and resembling pre-historic animals but sadly these days they are generally quite uniform!  Have you ever baked anything that didn’t turn out as expected?

The Coeliac’s Wife