Taste Test: Whole-Grain Bread

by in Taste Test, July 16, 2009

whole-grain breads
A few weeks back we gave tips on buying the best whole-grain breads and you all chimed in with your favorites. Always looking to try out new foods, Toby and I decided to sample your top picks. From all the comments, we compiled the 5 most popular and evaluated them based on the most important Ts: taste, texture and toast-ability. Then, we scoped out the nutrition info and even got feedback from our families (kids and adults, alike).

The results are in…

NOTE: Below we list the brand, give the bread a rating (5 being the highest) and share the total calorie and fiber per slice (two biggies for breads).

Martins Whole Wheat Potato Bread
Rating: 3.5
Nutrition Info (Per Slice): 70 calories; 4 grams of fiber
Our Take: Made with a combo of whole-wheat and potato flour, this was a soft-style bread with decent flavor and texture (it was even better toasted); some of us noticed a slight bitter aftertaste. Sugar is low on the ingredient list, and we’re impressed with the fiber content (the highest of the bunch!). There are some preservatives and thickeners like calcium propionate and guar gum, but that happens with packaged breads sometimes. I served this toasted with salmon burgers instead of hamburger buns, and they were a big hit with my husband and me.

Pepperidge Farm 12 Grain Farmhouse Bread
Rating: 3
Nutrition Info: 120 calories; 3 grams of fiber
Our Take: This bread was very soft (almost too soft), and the flavor reminded us of plain ol’ white sandwich bread with a slight crunch from some nuts and seeds. Despite the “12 Grain” in the name, this bread isn’t made with whole grains (many multi-grain breads aren’t). Tell-tale sign: Ingredients like “wheat flour” instead of “whole-wheat flour” mean a bread is made with refined, more processed grains. This bread is also sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup.

Food For Life Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain Bread
Rating: 4
Nutrition Info: 80 calories; 3 grams of fiber
Our Take: This was the biggest surprise to our testers. Even folks that aren’t fans of grainier, dryer sprouted grain breads may like this one. Toasted with a bit of jam made it even better. Instead of grinding dried grains into flour, sprouted grain breads are made from the germinated sprouts of grains like wheat, barley and millet; many believe these sprouts provide more vitamins and nutrients (learn more at the Food For Life website). Overall, this was a tasty, flourless bread with no preservatives or sweeteners.

Arnold 100% Whole Wheat Bread
Rating: 4.5
Nutrition Info: 110 calories; 3 grams of fiber
Our Take: This loaf was the overall favorite — a good, standard whole-wheat bread for toast, sandwiches and even French toast. Toby’s kids were asking for seconds. Like most store-bought breads, it contained some sugar and the preservative calcium propionate. Oh and it made some finger licking-good grilled cheese and tomato.

Alvarado Street Bakery Sprouted Soy Crunch Bread
Rating: 4
Nutrition Info: 90 calories; 2 grams of fiber
Our Take: Another good sprouted grain option. Like Ezekiel, this bread was grainy and tasted better when toasted. The soy ingredients (toasted soy nuts, soy beans and soy flour) and touch of molasses for sweetness gave it a unique flavor. A word of warning about these sprouted breads: They tend to get moldy faster because they don’t have preservatives. Store them in the refrigerator or freezer to keep them fresher, longer.

TELL US: Agree? Disagree? What do you think?

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Comments (51)

  1. Cari says:

    I just bought a loaf of Ezekiel this week, I can't wait to try it with some fresh ground almond butter and some fresh cherry preserves! Yumm!

  2. Lisa Sanford says:

    I have Crohn's disease and have eliminated all sugar, starch, and lactose from my diet these past two years. Just recently I have been getting Ezekiel products which seem to be easier to digest since it is a sprouted grain. It's been such a treat for me, I love it! Ezekiel also makes pasta, pitas, cereal, and english muffins. Yumm. What a treat after two years of no bread!

    • Lynn says:

      I feel your pain Lisa. I too also have Crohn's and have a great deal of difficulty with breads and pasta's rice as well. You might want to also try the Joseph's brand of pita's and lavash bread. They are made with Flax, Oat Bran & Whole Wheat. I find them a lot easier to digest and they are soft and taste great too!

  3. Owen Sindler says:

    I have sensitivity to lactose in products and find that Martin's Whole Wheat Potato bread gives me a reaction.

  4. Loressa Dunn says:

    Ezekiel is the BOMB! I 'discovered' the stuff a few years ago and can hardly stand to eat anything else. I have it almost every morning, toasted with raw almond butter and and a great big apple and rarely get a hunger pang before noon. I do find that I can barely chew and swallow it if it is not toasted.

  5. pray1 says:

    I have been buying the Arnold bread for quite some time. I think it tastes great, has a wonderful texture and the best price. A loaf at my local Wal-Mart is only $1.80.

  6. Cari says:

    so I had the Ezekiel with the raw alomond butter and fresh cherry preserves…I did toast the bread (thanks for the tip) and it was fantastic!!! I'm so glad I tried it!!!

  7. Alice says:

    None of these breads, except Pepperidge Farms are sold in Washington State!!!!

  8. Sandi says:

    The Ezekiel cereal is great too. A little pricey but worth it.

  9. Jane says:

    Was disappointed not to see Fiber One bread on this list…we LOVE it!

  10. Aly says:

    Only a 3,5 for Martin's Whole Wheat Potato Bread? Anyone else disagree?

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