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 (50)

  1. Martjill says:

    What happened to Dave's Killer Bread? I buy Ezekiel and have for a long time and I agree it is yummy toasted. I like peanut butter/almond butter on it, but also like cottage cheese which adds more protein. BUT, if you have ever tasted Dave's Killer Bread you will agree it is even more "killer". (pardon the pun) He has several kinds and they are all loaded with seeds, fiber, and protein, etc. NO antibiotics. His breads are not on "drugs", as he puts it. Check it out, I promise you'll like it.

  2. phcarter says:

    What about Nature's Own 100% Whole Grain Bread?

  3. Joyce says:

    I love Ezekiel bread toasted with crunchy peanut butter, sliced banana and raisins. This sandwich keeps you full for a whole day. I usually eat only half.

  4. Jennifer says:

    I'm in Eastern Washington, and I have discovered that Arnold and Oroweat are basically the same thing. I think Oroweat is a West Coast thing, while Arnold is East Coast. Yes, there are probably some differences in what products are available, but even the logos look the same. In other words, try Oroweat ;)

  5. Meg says:

    I agree with Jane. Fiber One is best of all I've tried, hands down, and 7 grams of fiber in each slice! My son asked what type of bread I used for his sandwich, one day when he returned from school. I thought I was in for it. He loved it! So do my I, as well as my daugher, niece and sister. Problem is, I have only been able to find it at one store, BJ's. I've tried at least 6 other stores, but no luck. Maybe if it was more widely available, it would be on the list.

  6. Celeste says:

    My family and I have been eating nothing but "Whole Wheat" for years. I would never go back to anything other then wheat! We love it! (I enjoy Arnolds' & Please,Try "Peppiridge Farm Light Style Soft Wheat Bread. It has 445 calories per slice. When,I can't get one I get the other. Give it a try!
    Thanks! Good Health To You!

  7. joe says:

    does walmart carry ezekiel bread? thanks.

  8. tina p says:

    does walmart carry ezekiel bread?

  9. Fawn says:

    I’d be super surprised if it did Tina. I’d recommend trying a place like Whole Foods or Wild Oats but I’ve seen it for less at Trader Joe’s.

  10. Mike says:

    I must be really confused about what is healthy to eat.. I am trying to watch my calories. I don't want to take in more than I burn. Why would anyone get excited over a bread that has 445 calories PER SLICE ?? My word, that's 890 calories in one sandwich just for the bread alone. I guess if I was trying to gain muscle and exercised enough to burn those calories off, it would be okay. I know that calories aren't the only important thing in a healthy diet,. But they count. What am I missing here ??

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