Does panera make gluten free bread?
If you’re someone who needs to eat gluten-free, it can be tough finding restaurants that cater to your dietary needs. It seems like every place has some gluten-free options these days, but how safe are those options if the kitchen isn’t strictly free of gluten? Today we’ll take a look at one company in particular: does Panera make gluten-free bread?
What is Gluten?
Before we dive into the specifics of Panera’s menu offerings, let’s review what exactly gluten is. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye – basically any grain that comes from the grass family. For people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), consuming even small amounts of gluten can cause an array of digestive issues and other unpleasant symptoms.
The State of Gluten-Free at Panera
So where does Panera stand when it comes to offering food for folks with dietary restrictions? According to their website, they do have some options for those avoiding gluten.
Panera has quite a few salads on their menu that don’t feature any ingredients containing gluten:
- Caesar Salad
- Greek Salad
- BBQ Chicken Salad (without onion rings)
- Fuji Apple Chicken Salad (without dressing)
Soup might not be the first thing you think of when considering whether a restaurant has good GF offerings, but as long as there are no flour-based thickeners involved soup can indeed be safe:
- Baked Potato Soup
- Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- Creamy Tomato Soup
- Note: “with Croutons” will need to be avoided
Sometimes all you really want is an accompanying snack or side dish! Here are some additional items currently available that shouldn’t contain any pesky bits of wheat:
- Fruit Cup
- Sweet Onion Poppyseed Dressing (for salad)
- Kettle Chips
Breads at Panera
Alright, let’s get to the heart of the matter: is there gluten-free bread available at Panera? Sadly, if you’re hoping for something other than yet another lettuce wrap or naked sandwich, you’ll be disappointed. As far as we could find on their website and via customer reviews elsewhere – no such bread exists. That’s probably not what people want to hear but unfortunately gluten-free baking can be quite complex.
Why Creating Gluten-Free Bread Is a Challenge
The reason behind why it’s difficult for almost all restaurants to provide great GF alternatives boils down to two factors:
- The ingredients needed & how pricey they are
- Contamination from cross-contact with utensils/cutting boards used to make regular bread
Flours such as almond meal, quinoa flour or coconut flour could give good results in bread making but these flours are much more costly compared with wheat flour.
And even if one were able to create gluten free-bread without worrying about its expense; this does nothing regarding avoiding flour contamination risks that come simply from working in kitchens where traditional breads/pastries/etc are being baked during service hours!
Though unlikely, it’s possible for foreign breadcrumb particles flying through the air land on “gluten-free” foods, rendering them still-inclusive of problematic proteins.
Other Dietary Considerations
Naturally occurrence reasons exist for why someone would choose vegetarianism/veganism over meat n’ dairy-heavy diets known world-wide – similar expectations also occur when consumers look towards bakeries/transnational restaurant brands like Panera/reduce their animal product intake while adhering solely-to occasionally well-known company products Or substituting accordingly.
Panera may have many protein-laden choices made up o’ glazed meats & cheeses– however! There ARE plant-based items available on the menu as well.
Here are a few vegan-friendly options that do not ‘contain wheat/gluten by their nature :
- Classic Salad
- Greek Salad (no feta)
- Sub. dressing to balsamic due-to high fructose corn syrup in greek recipe
### Beverages & Snacks
If you’re feeling thirsty or snackish, Panera offers a number of other gluten-free choices:
-Iced green tea / black tea –
-No sugar-added applesauce-
And there You Have It!
As far as we could tell from our research, gluten-free bread is currently not something that Panera Bread offers on their menu at this time.
That being said, there are still a decent amount of things anyone eschewing wheat can enjoy while dining out at one of these bakery-cafes! If you ever find yourself wondering if something contains gluten; it’s always best practice to simply request the specific product’s ingredients list or reach-out directly regarding allergen info.