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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