Product review: Helga’s gluten free gourmet rolls

Even though I’m not a fan of gluten-free versions of processed foods (no, the fact that something is gluten-free doesn’t make it automatically healthy), I was very curious when I found out that Helga’s had launched their gourmet gluten-free buns in partnership with Chur Burger and Bar Luca.

I tried a couple of Woolworths stores but they were sold out. Then I tried QE supermarkets and found them there at a much higher price ($8.22 vs $6.99 in Woolies) but I was really keen on trying them.

There are 5 rolls per pack, which seems like an odd (no pun intended) number. The health claims at the front of the package read “Source of Protein, Source of Fibre, Wheat Free, No Artificial Colours & Flavours”. Source of protein, yes, a lot of foods (even fruits and vegetables!) have some protein in them. They don’t say “good source of protein” so I guess they’re not lying (the amount per roll is 5g, which is not a lot). Source of fibre, yes, 3g per serve, again not super high but greater than zero. Wheat free, check. No artificial colours & flavours, check but we’ll come back to this one later. Each roll has 27.7g of carbohydrate, of which 2.5g (roughly 1/2 teaspoon) are sugars.

Making gluten-free bread is tough. Gluten is the thing that makes dough elastic, so there are all sorts of ingredients that need to be added to gluten-free flours to attain the desired end product. The ingredients in the 5 seeds variety are: water, modified tapioca starch (1442), flour (rice, soy), seed mix (9%) (linseeds, sunflower seeds, toasted sesame seeds, poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds), maize starch, canola oil, sugar, quinoa, egg white powder, yeast, iodised salt, psyllium, cultured dextrose, white vinegar, stabilisers (412, 464).

Yes, high fibre, no artificial colours & flavours, but still a very long list of ingredients, of which some are “less natural” than others. If I could eat gluten with no problems I would prefer a sourdough roll made out of flour, water, salt and wild yeast. But I can’t and that is why I choose to eat gluten-free bread only once in a while and eat other less processed naturally gluten-free foods instead (meat and vegetables, for example).

We tried them with shredded chicken, celery & homemade mayo (the classic Peruvian “pan con pollo”), chorizo & American mustard (another popular choice in Perú) and cheeseburger (homemade grass-fed beef patty, tasty cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle and American mustard). And because it was beautiful and sunny we had a rocket, watermelon & feta salad with balsamic reduction, extra virgin olive oil & pepper.

The buns are a bit crumbly (we didn’t toast them – that might help) but had a good taste unlike other cakey/crumpety ones. They also come in the white variety, which surprisingly has the same amount of fibre per roll.

Sandwiches with Helga's gluten free gourmet rolls

Helga’s Continental Bakehouse
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