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Which Whole Wheat Bread is Best?

Which Whole Wheat Bread is Best?

by macdaddy on March 3, 2008 · 88 comments

I eat too much bread. I like honey toast, PB&J, and the occasional tuna sandwich. But I know most bread is processed crap — it’s not a good addition to my diet. I’m particularly wary of the high-fructose corn syrup most commercial breads contain.

Because I’m that kind of guy, I recently decided to find the “best” bread at my local supermarket. I made a trip to Safeway and picked up all eight varieties of whole wheat bread the store stocked. Then I set to work analyzing each loaf.

I tracked how much I spent, how much each loaf weighed, how many slices were in each bag, the stated nutrition information, and the list of ingredients. To find out which bread tasted best, I sought input from five friends. The six of us conducted a blind taste test, and I jotted our impressions.

Here’s the product of my anal-retentive mind at work:

Oven Joy whole wheat (637g listed, 655g actual)

$0.99 for 22 slices (4.50 cents per slice, $1.55 per kilogram)

per 29g slice: 80 calories, 0.5g fat, 160mg sodium, 14g carbs (2g fiber, 1g sugars)

  • “Sour, clumpy, doughy.”
  • “Tastes like Wonder Bread.”
  • “Wonder Bread with brown speckles.”
  • “So soft! It’s difficult to spread anything on.”
  • “For someone who grew up on white bread, this is very satisfying.”

Contains “enriched flour” and a bevy of junky chemicals. This bread does contain high-fructose corn syrup. The packaging makes no claims. It bugs me that because this is the cheapest bread, it’s really the only option for many families. This bread costs about a quarter what the better breads cost, but it’s crap.

Orowheat 100% whole wheat light (453g listed, 524g actual)

$3.79 for 20 slices (18.95 cents per slice, $8.37 per kilogram)

per 45g serving (two slices): 80 calories, 0.5g fat, 240mg sodium, 18g carbs (7g fiber, 3g sugars)

  • “Tastes like honey.”
  • “There’s fruits or nuts.” [There are neither.]
  • “It’s difficult to cut with a knife.”
  • “There’s a bitter taste.”
  • “It’s dry. I don’t mind it, but I don’t like the spongy texture.”
  • “It’s stretchy.”
  • “This is the only one that tastes bad.”

Contains whole wheat flour and other fiber sources, brown sugar, lots of “gums” (guar gum, xanthan gum, carrageenan gum), no high-fructose corn syrup. The packaging claims that this bread has 40 calories per slice, no cholesterol (none of these breads has cholesterol), and 1/3 fewer calories than regular bread. Judged by weight, this is the most expensive bread I tested. It’s also the worst-tasting.

Sara Lee 100% whole wheat (680g listed, 680g actual)

$3.69 for 16 slices (23.06 cents per slice, $5.43 per kilogram)

per 43g slice: 120 calories, 1.5g fat, 210mg sodium, 21g carbs (3g fiber, 5g sugars)

  • “This is visually pleasing — it looks like whole wheat.”
  • “I like the chunks.”
  • “It’s sweet and nutty.”
  • “I can see actual grains.”
  • “My favorite so far.”
  • “My favorite of them all.”
  • “This one’s good. I taste sweetness more than grain.”

Contains whole wheat flour, brown sugar, no high-fructose corn syrup. The packaging claims that this bread is 100% natural, and the ingredient list backs it up. This is the second-best bread based on quality ingredients, and it’s the best bread based on our taste test. (It’s my second-favorite.)

Orowheat Double Fiber (680g listed, 692g actual)

$3.79 for 18 slices (21.06 cents per slice, $5.58 per kilogram)

per 38g slice: 70 calories, 1g fat, 160mg sodium, 16g carbs (6g fiber, 2g sugars)

  • “Very flavorless.”
  • “This is bland and dry.”
  • “It tastes sawdusty.”
  • “It’s firm and there’s not much taste.”
  • “It’s dry.”
  • “It starts off well but doesn’t go anywhere.”

Contains whole wheat flour, lots of added fiber, gums, and chemicals. This bread does contain high-fructose corn syrup. The packaging claims this bread is an excellent source of fiber and vitamin D: “48% of daily fiber in two slices”.

Franz Oregon Trail 100% whole wheat (737g listed, 737g actual)

$3.59 for 17 slices (21.18 cents per slice, $4.87 per kilogram)

per 43g slice: 110 calories, 1.5g fat, 220mg sodium, 21g carbs (3g fiber, 4g sugars)

  • “Yuck. This tastes like soap.”
  • “It doesn’t taste good. There are floral notes.”
  • “This is the same bread as the first [Oven Joy], but maybe a little sweeter.”
  • “It’s overbaked.”
  • “This is my favorite flavor so far, but not my favorite bread.”
  • “This is much sweeter than the other breads.”

Contains whole wheat flour, honey, “refinery syrup”, “soft white wheat flour”, “dough conditioners”, no high-fructose corn syrup. The packaging claims the bread is healthy, low fat, and a good source of fiber, “with delicious pockets of honey”.

Orowheat 100% whole wheat (680g listed, 706g actual)

$3.89 for 18 slices (21.61 cents per slice, $5.72 per kilogram)

per 38g slice: 90 calories, 2g fat, 190mg sodium, 18g carbs (3g fiber, 3g sugars)

  • “This is like the first one [Oven Joy].”
  • “There’s lots of air.”
  • “When you chew it, it bounces back.”
  • “It has a hint of multigrain flavor.”
  • “This is rubbery.”

Contains whole wheat flour, honey, cracked wheat, molasses. This bread does contain high-fructose corn syrup. The packaging claims this bread is whole wheat with a touch of pure molasses. This used to be my staple bread before I discovered Milton’s Whole Grain Plus.

Milton’s Whole Grain Plus (680g listed, 816g actual)

$3.79 for 18 slices (21.06 cents per slice, $5.57 per kilogram)

per 38g slice: 90 calories, 0.5g fat, 125mg sodium, 16g carbs (5g fiber, 3g sugars)

  • “Decent texture — a more earthy flavor.”
  • “There’s little bits of stuff. It’s my favorite.”
  • “This bread is more heterogeneous, but the flavor is kind of blah.”
  • “It’s nutty. It has a good crust.”
  • “This is grainy. It’s tasty. It has the best texture.”
  • “It looks better than the others. It’s firmer. I like the whole grains.”

Contains whole wheat and other whole grains, brown sugar, honey, no high-fructose corn syrup. The packaging claims that this bread has 24g of whole grains per servings, and that it may reduce the risk of heart disease. Note that my loaf had 816g of actual bread, making this the second-best bargain at $4.64 per kilogram.

Franz Big Horn Valley (737g listed, 757g actual)

$3.69 for 17 slices (21.71 cents per slice, $5.01 per kilogram)

per 43g slice: 100 calories, 1.5g fat, 200mg sodium, 20g carbs (3g fiber, 3g sugars)

  • “It’s soft and light.”
  • “This is gummy. It’s too airy.”
  • “There’s not much whole wheat flavor.”
  • “There are no chunks of anything.”
  • “It’s sweet. It’s okay.”
  • “This tastes processed.”
  • “It’s not particularly great.”

Contains whole wheat flour, honey, brown sugar, no high-fructose corn syrup. The packaging claims no artificial preservatives, flavors, colors, or ingredients. This bread has the “purest” ingredient list of all those I tested. Unfortunately, the great ingredient list is undone by the taste.

Conclusions

The cheapest bread we tried was the Oven Joy whole wheat. Unfortunately, it’s also the worst bread for you. It has little nutritive value. The best-tasting bread was the Sara Lee 100% whole wheat, which everyone liked (and most liked best of all). Unfortunately, this bread is a little “spendy”, containing more calories and carbs per slice than most other breads.

My favorite bread turns out to be Milton’s Whole Grain Plus. This was the only bread other than the Sara Lee that most of us liked. (I thought it tasted best.) It has a fine ingredient list (though there are a couple of chemicals), decent nutritive value, and reasonable cost.

It frustrates me that it’s so difficult to find a decent bread at the supermarket. Not everyone can afford to shop at a natural foods store or a Trader Joe’s. (I didn’t even look to see what these places had to offer.) Most people shop at stores like Safeway, and if they want to eat well, their choices are limited to breads like the ones I tried.

{ 88 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Melissa March 3, 2008 at 7:31 am

I bought bread at Trader Joe’s yesterday and some things they make are cheaper than a lot of people think. We buy Multigrain Sourdough there and love it. Just checked the receipt, it was $2.79, less than everything on your list except for the Oven Joy. You should check them out.

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2 Jae January 8, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Trader Joe’s is cheap and high quality, but it’s only an option in certain cities and rarely located in low or even middle income neighborhoods. I love Trader Joe’s, but it’s on the other side of town from me and if I didn’t have a car, getting there would be at least half a day on busses. Even with a car, I don’t want to drive 20 or 30 minutes out of the way for groceries.

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3 Melissa March 3, 2008 at 7:34 am

Oh! And maybe you can bake your own whole wheat bread and see how it stands up to the rest. That way, you KNOW what’s in your food.

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4 Jennifer March 3, 2008 at 7:43 am

I second Melissa on Trader Joe’s. You’d be surprised at how inexpensive things are there compared to regular chain grocers. I can go in and spend $150 at TJ’s and have enough good, wholesome food where I can identify the ingredients to feed my husband and I breakfast lunch and dinner for 2 weeks. Plus, everything is reasonable for what you get. I love their frozen veggies, which are much better in cost and quality than Green Giant and his ilk which are loaded with preservatives and mystery ingredients. Plus, TJ’s has discontinued all products from China, since they are of questionable origin. I’ve switched to TJ almost exclusively and now weigh 15 lbs less than I did 2 months ago and spend less too.

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5 brad March 3, 2008 at 7:49 am

Once you start working at home fulltime, making your own bread is in fact easy, even if you don’t have a bread machine (which I would never use, I like the hands-on approach). I use Mark Bittman’s famous “no-knead” bread recipe (easily found on the New York Times website), and use 50 percent white and 50 percent whole wheat flour. The only other ingredients are salt, water, and yeast. It is far and away the best bread I’ve ever made, as well as the easiest, and is better than most of the bread we can get from professional bakeries here in my city. The first secret is the slow rise (18 hours) due to very little yeast and no kneading, so the gluten takes a long time to develop and you get incredible flavor. The second secret is the cooking method, which is to use a cast-iron covered pot and a very hot oven (nearly 500 degrees). This gives the bread the shattering crust and perfect crumb that you normally get only from a wood-fired bread oven. I typically make a few of these loaves a week, there’s very little work involved. I make the dough before I go to bed (it takes about 5-10 minutes to make the dough), and then tend to it the following afternoon, cooking it in the late afternoon. The whole process requires maybe 1 hour of your attention, split across two days.

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6 Lauren Muney, wellness + facilitation coach March 3, 2008 at 7:50 am

Here’s an interesting concept which you didn’t discuss in your bread issue: “what about bread is important to you”. You discussed what you eat it with (PB&J, occasional tuna sandwich, etc), but if you ONLY eat bread occasionally like you implied with these examples, then buying a quality bread for an occasional slice or two is not a bad deal.

The important thing is what you said at the top: “It’s not a good addition to my diet”. This is cause for reflection: if you KNOW that it’s not good for you (your gut is telling you so: mindfulness) it’s important that you reflect on the fact that you are ignoring your gut to go with a habit (eating bread). So are so married to ignoring your gut-instinct that you decided to scientifically/pricefully/tastefully find the alternative to listening to that gut-instinct and go with your HABIT instead, as if your habit is more important than your intrinsic self- [and health-] knowledge.

Yes, Trader Joe’s and other places are stores that carry the healthier breads. I eat about 1-2 slices PER WEEK of a bread called Ezekial Bread (Cinnamon-raisin), which has so many whole grains that it’s very heavy. I pay about $3.50 (?) per loaf, and it lasts for a very long time.

YES, it’s hard to find quality bread in the regular supermarket. However, I ask you to consider this important fact: YOU making your own choices and not (yet) trying to solve the ingredient issues in regular grocery stores. If YOU can learn to listen to your own gut instincts, you will be one person on his way to not over-indulging on foods which his body doesn’t need. If YOU need quality foods, go to where YOU can buy them. Help tell others what decisions you made, so they might also make those (common) decisions for themselves also.

It’s important that you listen to the mindfulness clues that you are already being given by your own mind :)

Best wishes. I like what you are already hearing inside yourself :)

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7 Di March 3, 2008 at 8:28 am

JD have you been to a trader joes? It’s cheaper than you think! Most the loaves I’ve bought are cheaper than the ones listed here on your post!

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8 R. March 3, 2008 at 8:29 am

Trader Joe’s is expensive? Take another look.

I would recommend freezing their bread (toast it and you’re good to go), as there are no preservatives! The sourdough is good.

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9 J.D. March 3, 2008 at 8:32 am

I stand corrected! I’m not sure why I have it in my head that Trader Joe’s is expensive. I’ve said this same thing a couple of times before, and people always correct me. For some reason, it’s burned on my brain. Maybe I’ll do a follow-up where I look at bread from TJ’s.

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10 Wendy March 3, 2008 at 9:03 am

I think that JD was right to leave out Trader Joe’s and other natural grocers. T.J. is really only located along the coasts. Us out here in the middle are stuck with only Whole Foods and occasionally a Wild Oats–which are great but pricey. And many who live in smaller cities don’t have access to any natural grocers.

I thought your investigation was great. I don’t know how many times I have spent 5 minutes or more analyzing bread packages at the store. About 6 months ago I got tired of the whole process and just started buying the Sara Lee 100% Whole Wheat–I am glad to see my decision validated!

Also, Brad, thanks for bringing up Mark BittmanÂ’s bread recipe. I read about it before but it was just after having my baby and I didn’t have the energy to try it. I kept meaning to get to it but then it slipped my mind. I know what I will be doing tonight!

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11 brad March 3, 2008 at 9:30 am

Yeah, I’ve been making bread for 25 years, but once I tried the Bittman recipe (actually not his recipe, but everyone refers to it that way) there was no going back. It really is the best bread you can make at home; the only thing I don’t like about it is the timing…you pretty much have to be home the afternoon after you start it, as there are a few (simple and fast) intermediate steps that have to be taken before cooking.

I know it’s irritating to have people say “make your own bread” in response to a review of store-bought bread, but this bread is so good and so easy, and you have full knowledge of what goes into it, that I think it’s a viable alternative. I do buy bread from the bakery when I’m too busy to cook, but haven’t bought supermarket bread in years. I guess i’m just spoiled ;-)

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12 grimsaburger March 3, 2008 at 9:55 am

Here’s another vote for the no-knead bread. I’m routinely super-lazy with it (letting it rise 24 instead of 12-18 hours, for example) and it always turns out absolutely lovely. Big-bubble, chewy inside-crusty outside bread is my favorite–I just try not to make it too often, or only make it for company. I can sit down and eat half the loaf with olive oil and salt and pepper in no time.

Does using WW flour in the recipe result in smaller bubbles inside?

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13 brad March 3, 2008 at 10:07 am

I dunno if it’s the whole wheat flour, but I definitely don’t get big bubbles (which is good as my girlfriend objects to big bubbles as the jam falls through them!).

For those without access to the NY Times, here’s the recipe:

No-Knead Bread

Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery

Time: About 1 1/2 hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting

1/4 teaspoon instant yeast

1 1/4 teaspoons salt [note from Brad: use just under 1 tablespoon if you like your bread saltier]

Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. [Note from Brad: I find that this can make bread that's pretty flat. To make a real boule, keep it as ball-shaped as possible and place it gently in the pan so it doesn't spread out too much.] Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

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14 jjj March 3, 2008 at 10:12 am

I don’t know if you can get Wheat Montana bread where you are, but it is the only bread in our local stores where you read the ingredient list, and also have most of the same ingredients in your kitchen. You can even easily pronounce all of the ingredients.

This is so much like REAL bread, it even gets stale! It gets moldy, too. Imagine that. It is about the same price as the Franz and Orowheat.

I live in E. WA, so I really do not know how far from this general area they distribute.

http://www.wheatmontana.com/index.php

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15 Kyle March 3, 2008 at 10:34 am

I like Nature’s Own. It’s inexpensive and available in regular supermarkets.

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16 Joe Kennedy March 3, 2008 at 11:09 am

It was an easy decision for me, tougher on my wife, to stop buying the wider loaves of bread, those where each slice is roughly half again as large as the Oven Joy, for reference.

If you take those out of the mix, it may make the decision even a bit easier. More slices, fewer carbs, etc.

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17 Nina March 3, 2008 at 11:28 am

My preferred bread is the Sara Lee whole wheat honey bread, yum! I don’t really consider calories or price, but rather ingredients list. At my grocery store, this was the only one that didn’t have high-fructose corn syrup.

I should check out Trader Joe’s too.

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18 Kim March 3, 2008 at 12:27 pm

Another thing to consider, depending on your local grocery store, is the store brand bread. I live in Ohio, where we have Meijer, and they have an excellent selection of organic store brand foods. Their store brand 100% whole wheat bread is fabulous, and is at least a dollar less than the name brand breads. And the first ingredient is Whole Wheat and no high fructose corn syrup!

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19 Eric March 3, 2008 at 1:06 pm

I generally eat various multi-grain varieties of bread from Arnold, and they’re delicious, and generally available on sale. Their whole wheat isn’t so hot though.

I never have thought to check the label, though, short of the nutritional table. Since the Oroway breads you have in the picture look identical to Arnold’s packaging, I’m guessing this is an East Coast vs. West Coast marketing issue, and that they’re identical[0].

I’ll check the label again, and if the ingredients are as bad as it seems, I’ll consider heading to Trader Joe’s instead. I already get English muffins and pita there, so it isn’t a huge hassle.

~EEE~

[0] See Dreyer’s vs. Edy’s ice cream.

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20 plonkee March 3, 2008 at 3:23 pm

Aha, the infamous bread post – I should have guessed it was for get fit slowly.

Whenever I’ve eaten American bread, I’ve always thought it tasted funny – I don’t think that plain bread is meant to be sweet. My loaf of standard British sliced white (not even vaguely healthy) doesn’t contain any sweeteners or sugars at all.

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21 Troy March 3, 2008 at 3:55 pm

I was the PBJ king. I used to make 3 of them for my lunch every day. But I have cut down on the amount of bread I eat by switching to Wasa crispbread:

http://us.wasa.com

Two of the varieties are 100% whole grain (and no sugar). I like to put 4 of these on a plate, cover them with peanut butter, and cover that with apple sauce. These keep me satisfied for a lot longer than bread.

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22 Sally Parrott Ashbrook March 3, 2008 at 4:30 pm

When I started getting healthier, before I found out I can’t eat gluten or eggs, I bought bakery whole-grain bread and just ate less of it. Every bite was heaven.

You can also make your own pretty economically. Most people I know who are pinching their pennies do that.

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23 elisabeth March 3, 2008 at 4:42 pm

Lauren up at #5 seems to be suggesting that maybe you don’t think bread is a good part of your diet, and I want to go back to that idea. good whole grain bread brings protein as well as fiber, and can, I think be an overall good thing in a diet, as well as deeply satisfying on several levels. Taste, certainly, for one thing, and also something more subtle — most of us come from cultures in which bread was really important — “give us each day our daily bread” is just one representation of that importance, and I think we do feel emotionally better when (good) bread is part of our daily life…

Anyway, I’m going to suggest that you may find that especially when you’re eating at home more, you’ll find that bread can be a really useful part of a healthy and even weight losing diet. whole grain bread and a little protein (peanut butter, low fat cheese, an egg) are a realistic idea for breakfast or lunch… (along with fruit and veggies, of course).

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24 AB March 3, 2008 at 4:44 pm

We’ve started buying our bread at our local bakery (Petite Provence in SE). They make it fresh everyday and a giant loaf of whole wheat only costs us about 2.50. It has no preservatives, so tends to go to mold after 5-8 days, but freezing or refrigerating it and then toasting works fine to solve this problem.

I can’t even eat store brands anymore, they just don’t taste right.

So maybe check around you and find a local bakery? Portland has plenty of those, and they generally are cheaper than trendy packaged breads.

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25 brad March 3, 2008 at 4:46 pm

Plonkee’s comment reminds me of this excerpt of a letter from another English-er, the poet Ted Hughes, which he wrote to his sister way back in 1957:

What a place America is. Everything is in cellophane. Everything is 10,000 miles from where it was plucked or made. The bread is in cellophane that is covered with such slogans as de-crapularised, re-energised, multi-cramulated, bleached, double-bleached, rebrowned, unsanforized, guaranteed no blasphemin. There is no such thing as bread. You cannot buy bread. And fifty processes that side of the wrapping, these loaves saw the last molecule of their original wheat.

I guess some things don’t change very much!

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26 J.D. March 3, 2008 at 5:31 pm

Okay, Trader Joe’s fans — you win. I drove to the nearest store today, and they had my Milton’s Whole Grain Plus for $3.29/loaf, which is 50 cents cheaper than at the local Safeway. I picked up some of the bread Lauren recommended to me by e-mail (though I paid a lot less than she did because it’s produced nearby). It was good stuff. More in a follow-up post on Thursday.

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27 jody March 3, 2008 at 6:59 pm

Pepperidge farm whole grain bread is the tits

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28 warren March 3, 2008 at 7:17 pm

Suggest you sample: UPPER CRUST BREAD COMPANY, 41 B Avenue, Lake Oswego, OR 97034

Voice 503-697-9747

These folks bake bread with ingredients you will enjoy

Good to see your on track to a quality life!

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29 luneray March 3, 2008 at 7:44 pm

I chime in with all the others to suggest making your own (skip the bread machine though). It’s not hard and doesn’t even take that long (most of time spent making bread is waiting for the dough to rise). You can even use a food processor to knead the dough if you don’t have a stand mixer and don’t want to do it by hand. The cost is cheaper than buying artisan breads but not as cheap as the mass-made breads.

Commercial breads are loaded with HFCS, sugar, or honey because they act as preservatives. My husband is really picky about his bread and will only eat either artisan breads or his own. Now I can’t stand mass-made breads because they taste so unpleasantly sweet to me.

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30 nathaniel March 3, 2008 at 8:15 pm

We pay 4.59 for a twin pack of Milton’s at our local Costco. Freezes well too!

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31 bree March 3, 2008 at 8:48 pm

I’ve been baking our own lately, thanks to a book called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day … no kneading, short rise times, and you mix enough batter for several loaves at once and then just refrigerate until ready. So far the recipes have been really good, and we know exactly what’s in the bread we’re eating. It doesn’t take much time or effort to make (just planning) and the ingredients are cheap too. The one downside: the bread is so yummy we are eating more of it than store-bought loaves!

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32 Rob March 3, 2008 at 9:34 pm

You left out Aunt Hattie’s 100% Whole Wheat Bread, which I think is the best tasting wheat bread of all and has no high fructose corn syrup. It’s great for PB&J, too. The catch is that it normally costs $3.99 for just 16 slices (100 calories; 1.5 grams of fat), but my local grocery store often has it on sale for $2.69, which is when I stock up.

Try it. I’ve tried a lot of whole wheat breads too and so far nothing has matched it in taste.

As for the Trader Joe’s bread, I find that while their prices aren’t as high as some people might think, a lot of the bread they sell is either too small in area, sliced waaaaaay too thin (for my preference), or comes in very short loaves. And the ones that aren’t either cost $4+ or are sold at other stores (the Milton’s for instance), making it not worth the trip. I like Trader Joe’s for other things, but I’m constantly disappointed with them on the bread front.

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33 K March 3, 2008 at 10:27 pm

I switch around every now and then but still come back to Orowheat Honey Wheat Berry Bread.

The slices may be smaller than some breads but it a denser heartier bread. Although I have had it mold in the hotter months…it lasts forever. It also stays better longer than most breads in the freezer with no freezer burn. It makes great sandwiches, toast or grilled cheese, bread to serve with stew and excellent french toast.

It used to be $3.69 a loaf but last week at Safeway it had gone up to $4.09.

Because of that I ended up buying a new bread by Orowheat that was on sale for $3…Orowheat Whole Grain & Oat Bread with Corowise…but it is one of those #!*% fluffy breads.

I have tried 2-3 house brand breads that were labeled as ‘Wheat Berry bread’ that was half the price of Orowheat…the nutritional info came out almost the same …but they were nothing like Orowheat’s version. They were the fluffy type, not dense & hearty.

My only minor complaint about Orowheat is sometimes I wish it was a little less sweet but I guess that is why they call it HONEY Wheatberry bread. That and the price…but we don’t eat bread daily in our house.

I think I will look for the Milton’s one you reviewed to try next.

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34 Looby March 3, 2008 at 10:28 pm

I had to laugh at Plonkee’s comment- bread is definitely not the same on both sides of the pond. I have discovered that my local independent bakery charges no more than the supermarket and I can get fresh 100% wholewheat bread that actually will go mouldy if I don’t eat it within about 5 days, I’m guessing this means considerably less crap is added!

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35 Clarence March 4, 2008 at 12:04 am

HFCS, brown sugar, syrup (sugar and water!), molasses — all are refined sugar. HFCS is the big bugaboo in that it’s so cheap that food manufacturers load up on it, but there’s nothing terrible about it vis-a-vis other refined sugar. (Well, I guess you’re also supporting the vast corn industry in this country, but then again, so are your taxes.)

The only thing to keep in mind is to limit overall refined sugar intake, HFCS or not.

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36 Malena March 4, 2008 at 5:51 am

Humans did not evolve to eat grains. Those animals that did developed complex digestive systems that enable them to break down the antinutrients plants evolved to keep them from being eaten. (Check this out for more information: http://www.westonaprice.org/foodfeatures/be_kind.html) Luckily, we had some pretty smart ancestors who figured out that if you sprouted or fermented grains before eating them, it had the effect of breaking down those antinutrients or predigesting the grain. Human bodies were then able to effectively assimilate the nutrients from these foods.

There are lots of books out there that can help you do this at home (check out Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions or the books Steve Meyerowitz has written). Or you can buy sprouted bread products at the store. Most of these products are made solely using sprouted grains, with no added flour. Food for Life (www.foodforlife.com) has a whole line, including breads and tortillas. If you are accustomed to white bread, they will take some getting used to. Our family has eaten these products for years and loves them.

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37 Jarick March 4, 2008 at 5:54 am

Lately I’ve been buying Earthworks 100% whole wheat or Pepperidge Farm 100% whole wheat. If it says “whole wheat flour” and not enriched, and it has sugar and not corn syrup, you should be okay.

Both breads are thick and hearty, toast well, taste great, and are about as good as bread can be for you.

I’m on a modified South Beach diet, but I have blood sugar issues, so I usually have three slices of bread a day. I really don’t think you’ll have issues so long as you’re eating balanced meals. You’re meant to have some carbs, that’s why it’s a macronutrient.

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38 Shanna March 4, 2008 at 8:51 am

The best bread is no bread at all. I used to bake my own delightful whole grain bread every week so I know what it’s like to enjoy bread. Since I went off gluten (the sticky protein in wheat) I have never felt better.

I cut calories, saved $$$, and dropped a bit of weight, too. I eat organic brown rice and other gluten-free grains in moderate amounts. With 1 in 133 people having gluten sensitivity (not necessarily celiac) I thought I’d give it a try. It isn’t about not eating carbs, it’s about choosing the carbs that are most nutrient dense and that the body can process without discomfort.

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39 Heather March 4, 2008 at 9:00 am

Sara Lee whole wheat bread has been my top choice as far as conventional supermarket bread goes for years. It is pretty good ingredient wise and always affordable for me. Plus, you can find it almost anywhere.

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40 Jessica March 4, 2008 at 9:41 am

Let me second Ezekials Sprouted Bread. It is by far the healthiest option (unless you go with Spelt Bread). Ezekail Bread is make with sprouted grains. It’s available at all supermarkets in the “health” or “natural section” in the freezer.

I am always suprised when frugal people and people trying to be healthy won’t buy organic. It’s FAR FAR better for you then anything else,a nd investing in your health & well being will pay off more than eating low-quality food in the long run.

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41 KAD March 4, 2008 at 12:39 pm

To Grimsaberger: I, like Brad, am a huge fan of the NYT bread recipe. Yes, whole wheat does make the loaf a bit more dense, but you still get some bubbles and a nice interior texture. I use 2 c white flour, 3/4 c organic spelt flour, and the last 1/4 c is a combination of multigrain hot cereal (right out of the box), cornmeal, and flaxseed.

It’s pretty amazing that I can bake bread this good — before finding this recipe, I had never made a loaf of bread before and was intimidated by the whole process (especially since most recipes these days assume you have a bread machine). I love that it takes hardly any work at all. Plus, I figured out that even with all the fancy ingredients, it only costs about $1.30 per loaf! Hard to beat, all around.

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42 greenman2001 March 4, 2008 at 6:37 pm

If I were you, JD, I’d memorize Lauren Muney’s post and meditate on it once a day. Your body really does know what’s best for it, and if you overwhelm its cues by simply eating what’s closest, tastiest, cheapest, fashionable, advertised, easiest, recommended or most fun, you’re going to end up overweight and nutrient-deprived.

She’s also making an important point about undermining your ability to make good choices. If your method of obtaining nutrients is to stand in front of the bread rack at your grocery store and ask the question, “which of these completely inadequate processed foods is the best?” you’re only going to end up with the best of a bad set of options. If, on the other hand, you say, “I need fiber and grains in my belly today, how can I get them?” you come up with an entirely different set of answers (that may not even include bread at all). Read cookbooks instead of the ingredient list on processed foods. I guarantee you, none of them contain the sentence: “Start with a slice of Sara Lee 100% Whole Wheat Bread.”

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43 karen March 4, 2008 at 10:08 pm

Especially if you’re trying to lose weight, I recommend Food for Life’s Ezekiel 4:9 low glycemic sprouted grain wheat bread (totally flourless) – which you can also find at trader joes. Because it’s low glycemic/flourless, it won’t cause as much of a sugar spike like normal bread would…perhaps weening you from your carb addiction?

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44 mi March 5, 2008 at 9:34 am

I really like Natural Ovens bread – yummy and good for you!

http://www.naturalovens.com/

Sunny Millet – best taste

Weigh Sense – best cause is low in calories

Very high in fiber!!!

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45 anotherKate March 5, 2008 at 10:29 pm

I might have missed it, but I didn’t see anyone above mention the Healthy Way breads from Canada (http://www.healthywaybread.com/). They seem to have disappeared from my Fred Meyer, but I’ve purchased it for a reasonable price from Costco and it also used to be available at Safeway (though I haven’t been in a Safeway for awhile.) It makes the best toast!

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46 Chuck March 7, 2008 at 10:05 am

I love Milton’s. It is the only bread I eat on a regular basis. We buy it at Sam’s Club, but I don’t remember how much it costs.

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47 Dave March 7, 2008 at 3:12 pm

Every once in awhile I take a few minutes to see what is being said about our products. Most of the comments involving our product are positive. Thank you.

J.D. there are only natural ingredients in Milton’s. There may be some confusion in the ingredient panel where the mineral and vitamins look to be chemicals i.e. cyanocobalamin which is vitamin B-12. I couldn’t pronounce it if I had too but it’s in there and good for you.

I would agree, there are some very good breads out there and most are made at home with a minimum of ingredients.

I’m not a nutritionist or licensed dietician. But we really strive to deliver a good tasting, better-for-you, bread than is normally available. Our bakeries often try and get us to “change” our recipe but we are not interested in compromise.

Anyone who wants to try a Milton’s loaf can do so by writing back and I’ll forward a VIP coupon for a loaf. I’d love to hear your feedback.

In any case, keep up the healthy living!

Dave Dimond

VP Milton’s Baking Comapny

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48 Tina P January 20, 2012 at 8:46 am

Dear Dave,

I would love to try Milton’s loaf. I have been frustrated by many whole wheat brands.

THank you!

Tina

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49 Debbie Barr February 23, 2013 at 7:32 pm

I would love to try Milton’s bread again. I now use Dave’s Killer bread and would like to compare. Thank you

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50 Clarence March 10, 2008 at 5:44 pm

Bread has been a staple of traditional Western diets for thousands of years with little detriment to health. Breads are also a part of diets in other cultures as well. It seems like pure hogwash to say that our stomachs can process only “sprouted grains.”

Also, to start “I need fiber and grains in my belly today” is a terrible way to live. Reducing the richness of a sensory experience to mere sustenance does not make for an interesting life.

Why not start with the prompt “I’d like to enjoy, in a responsible manner, the most beautiful, balanced, well-made, fresh piece of bread.” That’s a perfectly fine and healthy way to live. That would also lead you away from the hell that is the processed bread aisle. Almost everything on those racks have their taste compromised by a variety of preservatives and artificial leavening agents, and a ridiculous amount of salt and sugar.

I’d go with a bread as similar to traditional recipes as possible; eg, ones that use flour, yeast, water, salt, and baked as freshly as possible. Herbs and a small amount of sugar may be acceptable depending on what you’re looking for. Those taste the best; plus you’ve got the knowledge that people have been eating those kinds of breads (and not the kinds of breads on the processed bread aisle) for thousands of years. Your best bet to try to find this? Find a local baker or a supermarket that carries fresh bread from a local baker.

And who the hell would want to eat flourless bread? That sounds absolutely terrible. What’s the mouth feel of a slice of that? I’d eat no bread than suffer through flourless bread.

It seems that the last batch of commenters are suffering from a surfeit of “information” regarding food while missing the entire point of food — to express and enjoy life, all while sustaining one’s own healthy existence. I think we have deviated so much from the diets of our mother countries — whose populations live with far lower rates of obesity, diabetes, and other modern ails — that we turn to ridiculous diets (what the hell goes into a South Beach diet anyways?) that are so disgusting as to be unsustainable for more than a year.

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51 Living Off Dividends & Passive Income March 12, 2008 at 10:55 am

with the spike in wheat prices, many bread manufacturers are so substituting regular wheat with a cheaper low-protein version.

I’m not sure which ones are doing that since I hardly eat any bread but you might want to do some research.

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52 Anne June 25, 2008 at 12:10 pm

Have you all tried the 100% whole wheat white bread they have at TJs? I believe it is made by TJ but it tastes good. I didn’t see on the ingredients if this is bleached, which I doubt because whole wheat breads are not bleached. I wonder if this is the albino kind of whole wheat bread. Would anyone know?

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53 dancing monkey July 15, 2008 at 8:04 am

Trader Joe’s Trader Joe’s!

I swear by their private label high-fiber private label breads in the freezer — each slice has either 5 or 6 grams of fiber and only about 110 calories. For only $2.50 a loaf! But now that you mention it, I don’t know how much it costs per slice. Blasted TJ’s and their handwritten signs that lack unit prices!

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54 dartritnoa September 6, 2008 at 3:56 pm

Acutally, our ancestors ate whole grain bread in the form of sourdough bread, sprouted flourless bread is rather rare back then. For the most part they used starters to ferment loaves of rye, spelt, wheat, barley. The sourdough broke down the grains into a very digetible form. Its the same thing as sprouting. you can make a sourdough by simply leaving a wet soupy dough sit anywhere, and collect wild yeast.

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55 Sharon September 16, 2008 at 7:14 am

Wendy, why do you think Trader Joe’s are only on the coasts? There is one in the St. Louis area.

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56 Shelly October 18, 2010 at 10:29 am

Because the coastal states are more metropolitan than the inner states. They are more traveled, and traveling is easier along coastal states

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57 dancing monkey September 16, 2008 at 8:22 am

sigh. I meant to say I swear by TJ’s high-fiber bread and keep at least one loaf in the freezer at all times. Again, gotta calculate the unit pricing.

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58 Laure September 18, 2008 at 8:23 am

Hi J.D.,

Do you know where I can find breads made from Millet?

Thank you!

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59 Amy September 25, 2008 at 6:22 pm

All i have to say is that TJ’s has the best challah on the planet.

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60 Francine October 10, 2008 at 9:59 am

I go to the Pepperidge Farms or Entenmann’s Thrift Bakeries and they have Arnold or Pepperidge FarmWhole Wheats for sometimes 4 for 1.00 versus 2.99 a loaf. I find that if I cut the ends off it cuts down on the calories and I still get all the fiber.Thrift bakeries are the way to go and I freeze what I can’t use.

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61 Sarah Jane January 9, 2009 at 11:11 pm

Thanks for the rundown. I was going to say Trader Joe’s is pretty cheap, actually, but I notice you already found out! Good.

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62 Liv February 27, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Many people are sensitive to yeast and seek out breads like Kamut at Trader Joes they have different flavors. I enjoy the breads at Traders Joes, even though I prefer not eating much bread. It’s a shame most grains are GMO now. Bread is wonderful as long as it’s not over done!

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63 Tim March 22, 2009 at 7:49 pm

Thanks for the survey. Just got some Organic 100% whole wheat from Costco, their own Kirkland brand. The Miltons seemed to be only available in gigantic packs. It’s pretty good. Not sweet, good texture. Don’t know how well it freezes yet.

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64 Marie in Michigan April 23, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Bake your own! I do for the family or if we buy we do Ezekiel bread. Found at Meijer this side of the woods or at Whole Foods in the frozen food section. It is a bread that is made from bean sprouts. Doesn’t sound too great but it is probably the most nutritous bread you’ll ever eat. Generally, we follow the rule “if it is man made don’t eat it”,but this one come pretty close to being rediculously heathly for you ;o)

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65 James May 18, 2009 at 5:02 pm

packaged supermarket bread is the worst. Go to the bakery section and get some real bread

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66 Carolyn May 27, 2009 at 10:08 am

I wonder if the King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour or any white whole wheat flour is a GMO product. Does anybody know? Thanks

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67 PJ Hamel May 28, 2009 at 3:31 am

Hi Carolyn: King Arthur white whole wheat flour is indeed NON-GMO, as are all of our flours. We’re very careful about our sources, and made the choice long ago to never offer GMO flours. PJ Hamel, King Arthur Flour baker/blogger

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68 DA Collier April 6, 2012 at 7:41 pm

PJ, have you considered getting King Arthur “NON-GMO Project verified” this will help people know at the store shelf?

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69 bill January 10, 2010 at 7:32 am

Martin 100% whole wheat potato bread in the east was selected by Mens Health as the best. Great taste and high in fiber. I call it wheat bread for the white bread lover. Very smooth taste and texture.

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70 Dan November 17, 2011 at 12:25 pm

110% agree. I can make a PB&J on Martins Whole Wheat that rivals the nutritional content of some of the best protein bars.

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71 Anand February 6, 2010 at 10:45 am

Thank you for sharing the information…

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72 Conni February 12, 2010 at 7:53 am

Does anyone know where I can get whole wheat sourdough bread in the St. Louis area?

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73 nu May 15, 2010 at 5:22 pm

The ingredients of bread should read “Flour, water, yeast, salt”. The additives for all these breads for the sake of shelf life far outweigh the benefit – if any – of the partial use of whole wheat. You can always supplement some bran if you are low on fiber.

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74 screwed consumer June 5, 2010 at 8:05 am

great job. This area, bread and the lies we’re told about “free range” chicken makes me very sad. I don’t think I’ve tasted a good piece of fruit since genetic engineering started. I understand maximizing profit but some people are wiling to spend the extra dollar for the supposed “organic” higher quality food. It turns out due to lax law about labeling, nature, healthy, organic, corn or grain fed, free range, etc, its all bull. And not one is protecting….. very sad….

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75 tanya July 15, 2010 at 11:13 am

Nice post :)
I am so glad to see you are put off by all the crap in those breads – I am too. I really think that bread needs only to contain: flour, water, yeast and a little salt. “Flour” being a very loose term, because you can sub in any flours you like. Personally, I’m not crazy about whole wheat, although I use a little – there are just so many better tasting whole grain alternatives! I love that you are doing your research, but I challenge you to go one step further, and consider sugar (brown, white, raw) as undesirable in your bread too. A little honey in raisin or banana bread is fine, but to have sugar in your regular sandwich and all purpose bread is a waste of calories, and completely unnecessary. I make 80% of the bread my family eats (when I don’t get around to it, or feel like something totally different I go to the Romanian Bread place down the street where I know the man and he makes the most amazing artisan bread!) and before you start to think that you don’t have time, please check out my easy, fast, HEALTHY bread recipe here:
http://www.ladybonesonline.com/blog/cheat-a-little-to-get-homemade-bread-in-half-the-time/chef/
You can fully customize it! I will be adding more variations soon. You don’t need a mixer, you don’t need to knead and you only need to let it rise for 40 minutes. Give it a try and let me know what you think :)

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76 yo July 27, 2010 at 6:25 am

I really like a good serving of wheat bread.

For me Thomas whole wheat bagels, or the new whole wheat slim breads or the like is GREAT! High quality, all wheat, and soft. That’s the way I like it.

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77 Austin July 27, 2010 at 8:44 pm

What bread is the best? Well the bread with the most fiber is the best.

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78 tanya July 27, 2010 at 9:22 pm

@austin
not necessarily – there are important vitamins and minerals that you need too. personally, i know that i get more than enough fiber in my diet (mostly because I love my veggies!) so i don’t look at bread as an important source of fiber for myself and i allow myself to pick something delicious tasting – without preservatives or added fat and sugars of course, even if it’s lower in fiber. the fiber thing is all the rage right now, but the only people who are low in fiber are people who eat tons of processed foods and no FRESH fruits and veggies!

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79 Darren July 31, 2010 at 11:57 am

Thanks for your work on the subject. I would have appreciated two additional facts…how much fiber per slice, and was Whole Wheat the first ingredient on the label?
Thanks Again, Darren

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80 Mike August 2, 2010 at 8:01 pm

You left out Arnold’s Honey Whole Wheat. Delicious bread with a great softness to it. Not as dense as a lot of other breads like this.

Bonus – At least where I live, Arnold’s always has cheap sales

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81 john earl September 5, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Why Don’t you shop at bakeries or COOPs for non processed bread. Up here in Vermont we have loads of unprocessed baked goods and foods.

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82 Jeff October 28, 2010 at 6:48 pm

It’s amazing how bad some bread is for you. When I started to watch what I ate I thought I was eating healthy when I would have 45 calorie a slice wheat bread toast with peanut butter. But no! Between the perservatives in the bread and HFCS in both it’s horrible for you. It’s a bummer too, because I loved that bread SO MUCH!

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83 Morgan McKay June 7, 2011 at 7:30 pm

At my local chain grocer, the bakery is their break-even center. They bake FRESH BREADS with no preservatives or HFCS or mystery stuff, and sell it cheaper than you can make it at home. Great flavors like kalamata olive bread too!

I love bread and have been losing weight while not losing it from my diet. I will be showing how to make your own healthy breads soon in my blog.

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84 Rood November 29, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Why don’t you make your own bread, like me … You’ll have fun, save money, and have only yourself to blame if things don’t go quite right.

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85 stephanie November 29, 2011 at 6:38 pm

I am looking for a bread that has 100% whole grain wheat and low in suger.

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86 bonnie January 19, 2012 at 9:52 am

i loved this article! i think i havr the perfect bread for the author…. arnold dutch country 100% whole wheat. it has 100 calories per slice. no hi-fru corn syrup. 3g of fiber per slice. qupmg of sodium per slice. 4g of protein per slice and only $3 per loaf or less depending on where you shop!

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87 lisa worthey March 24, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Thanks for the bread tips…..my son loves white bread…yuk. But,it is my fault….that’s what i was raised on and so on…but I am trying to introduce better eating habits and if whole wheat is the only bread in the house and you want a peanut butter sandwich then…….I just didn’t know what kind to get and so i was looking and found the site. Thanks so much!

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88 Ezekiel September 2, 2012 at 7:35 pm

I felt appealing to write on this topic; there are different factors to consider on the best bread according to what? Price? Flavor? Ingredients? Great.

Best bread on price.
If you buy a bread for his price. Is more expensive on the long run if you don’t buy the healthy and more complete on nutrients.

Best bread on flavor.
Most of the breads use sugar to give a bread a delightful flavor, flavor don’t is necessary good for your health, if that’s important to you and your family.

Best bread on ingredients.
You have to consider various ingredients:
Flour it is whole wheat or other whole grains?
• Yeast. How much? And before you eat the bread, the yeast is dry or death? Otherwise just tear the edges’ and put everything on your hand and make a little ball of it, if is compact like dough, that’s how it get in your intestines after you eater.
• Additives.
Most bread use additives to make bread taste good on your mouth don’t be fool by the good flavor.
• Preservatives.
There are many to make the bread last longer, if you don’t use them your bread will go bad after 7 days if the refrigerator, no bakery will risk their product, all breads have preservatives and there are poisonous. Unless you do make your own bread.
• Baking.
Most breads are on the oven only for 10 min, so you eat semi=raw bread which is not good, I take my bread for 1 h 30 min, and is the best flavor and texture you can imagine.

There are many more things but I limited because of my poor English.
Good luck for all.

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