Where To Buy Real Sourdough Bread
There are so many types of delicious, life-sustaining, tradition-imbued bread that make meals a happier occasion. Our taste testers believe that good bread is basically the best food on earth and that a humble meal of a perfectly baked loaf plus some salted butter is, all by itself, a meal fit for royalty. Actually, if the bread is good enough, you may not even need the butter ... and if the bread is sourdough, the chances are even higher that you've got all you need to get by in the world.
where to buy real sourdough bread
The origins of sourdough bread first developed in San Francisco during the age of gold miners and manifest destiny, with a unique backstory and an odd scientific breakdown. The sophisticated flavor and distinct texture are the results of bacteria and yeast, a marriage that sounds like it shouldn't work but somehow is actually a pretty healthy relationship. We all seem to know sourdough as the great pandemic baking project, but if you don't have a starter lying around at all times, you may be in the market for great store-bought options. Sourdough is terrific for toasts of all sorts, whether simply with butter or served along with the chicest cheese on the charcuterie board. To help you pick out the best one of all, we tasted and ranked the best sourdough bread brands widely available. Enjoy the feast!
365 by Whole Foods Market products can be entirely convenient and sometimes a grand slam of flavor. But sadly, the Organic Sourdough Sandwich Bread by Whole Foods was surprisingly disappointing. The slices were more taupe in color than white, which was odd since this isn't wheat or grain-filled bread. It was crumbling and shedding all over the place, a bad sign for the purpose of making neat and tidy sandwiches for on-the-go, as per the bag's suggestion. When we tasted it, we all agreed that it simply wasn't very good. The bread is dry, as hinted at by the crumbliness, and sort of stale when it really should not have been.
Whole Foods' bread also didn't have much flavor, meaning we struggled to get much "sour" in the dough. Unfortunately, this sourdough bread tasted more like dry cardboard than all of the others and would probably become even more papery when toasted. Maybe, if you happen to pick it up, use it to make a dish greater than the sum of its parts, like sourdough sausage stuffing recipe that'll be fit for your Thanksgiving menu? But in terms of the best bread, we're back to the drawing board!
Hello, Walmart, are you there? Is this white bread? Did we buy the wrong loaf? Nope, as it turns out, it's not us; it's you. We felt confused upon tasting Great Value's sourdough loaf. We slowly began getting some flavor, but only after a few too many chews and at the very end of the eating experience. It's not too crumbly, not too soft, not too chewy, not too flavorful, and less sour than any other bread we tried.
It's a great value, naturally, but the truth is that this bread feels like white bread in sourdough clothing. We don't like to be duped, and we suspect you don't either. Still, it's actually fairly fine in a pinch, and we'd definitely consider it as a more substantial alternative for French toast or a nice, sturdy bookend for piles of ham and cheese. We truly, always, appreciate Walmart for providing us with accessible options that aren't too expensive, but the quality just isn't there this time, whether or not it was truly "baked with love." If you find your own reaction to Walmart's sourdough as lackluster as ours, you might also find that your bread gets stale before you can finish eating it. Don't worry! There are lots of creative and delicious things you do with stale bread to give it new life.
We noticed that it looked and felt a lot like regular white bread when getting squished around in its bag. The texture is pretty squishy, that funny mix of moist and chewy, "perfectly crafted" to some and off-putting to others (ever had those peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that stick to the roof of your mouth as a kid?). As predicted, it's a very mild sourdough without a challenging flavor or texture. Softer and sweeter than the others on the list, this is a tangy spin on your basic white bread sandwich but doesn't seem to count as sourdough exactly. According to BBC Travel, the creation of sourdough is a mind-numbingly detailed process that goes into deep dark science. At the same time, this one felt as high-maintenance as a simple one-bowl banana bread recipe you've had memorized since seventh grade. It's very kid-friendly, at least!
A few members of our tasting team had a soft spot for Pepperidge Farm bread. Have you ever tried anything from the super fun Pepperidge Farm Very Thin menu? Pro tip: use them for a triple-decker peanut butter and jelly sandwich, with one layer housing just the peanut butter and one with just the jelly. You'll feel your inner child having a ball, and it's the best reason to absolutely play with your food. The brand really hits the nail on the head with high-quality but still hardy pantry-ready breads, but we hadn't yet its sourdough as part of the Farmhouse collection.
The texture is light and fairly fluffy, with loose air pockets and feathery crumb that bounces back. It's got that amazing Pepperidge Farm freshly made factor and melted pleasantly in our mouths. It's not sweet but very demure. We didn't get much sourness until it left a bit of that acidic aftertaste. So while it's a beautifully delicious bread and wonderfully pillowy, it's not the sourdough we need when looking for a blast of zesty flavor. We so wanted this one to be better than it was, but "Fresh from the Oven Taste" was more theory than reality.
By this point, you've probably been living under a rock if you are yet unaware of the cult following that Trader Joe's has amassed over time. If you like its fun spins on foods you already know and love, particularly where bread is concerned, be sure to try the Everything But the Bagel Crackers or Garlic Bread Cheese! We went straight for the basic bread aisle this time, though, to find Trader Joe's Sourdough Boule Bread. It's apparently "stone hearth oven-baked," which certainly sounds promising, doesn't it? The mottled bronze crust looked promising, too, and a slice flexed a crusty chew that was a textural marvel.
Once we got past the appearance and texture to dig into the taste, the appeal dwindled slightly. This sourdough bread was deceptively dry. The interior crumb was also lacking in strong sour or rich flavor. So overall, we loved certain elements of the bread, but our recommendation is that Trader Joe's sourdough boule would make great toasted slices for dipping into something creamy like a nicely baked brie. Basically, any combo that would highlight the crisp and toothsome exterior while drawing attention away from the ever-so-slightly bland center will be a good pairing.
Favorite Day Bakery Sliced Sourdough Bread is Target's addition to the sourdough competition. In general, we found that buying our sourdough loaves unsliced was the better option. Sliced varieties tend more towards the dry or tasteless end of the spectrum. We're all busy, though, so our team will be the first to acknowledge that pre-sliced bread is wildly convenient on the craziest days when you just want a sandwich fast, but you'd love it if the bread were more substantial than plain white. That being said, Favorite Day isn't the most flavorful of the entire array, but it was one of the more solid sliced ones.
Target packaged up a very balanced bread for its devoted fans. Not outstanding, but not disappointing either. The hints of yeasty-ness (not a word, but sourdough shows off the yeast much more than basic breads thanks to the fermentation and time-lapse) played well off the hints of nostalgic fluffy sandwich bread. It's soft and pliable, ready for anything you need some bread to help with. Unfortunately, with a lack of defining flavor or intense chew, Favorite Day won't turn your basic buttered toast into a bougie sourdough experience.
Rudi's Rocky Mountain Bakery was another of the brands on our list that we had not yet tried. Established in Boulder, CO, in 1976, its products are full of homegrown goodness and suitably organic. Rudi's (Rocky Mountain) sourdough bread ferments even longer than the bread from Rustik Oven's, stewing in the microbes for a full 24-hour day. With that in mind, we expected a significant dose of complex and absorbing flavor. Unfortunately, the tasting proved us wrong.
If you didn't already know, this tasting team loves a nice trip to Aldi. There's something about the limited aisles and items, rotating selection of seasonal and multicultural finds, and, of course, the relief we feel whenever we find a new favorite food for a few fewer dollars and cents than we'd find anywhere else. The bread section is particularly budget-friendly.
Specially Selected from Aldi was so sour that we felt a strong need for a sip of water after just a small bite. That sourness came out front and center, sitting right on our tongues for a long time and smothering other potential wheaty flavors. The pre-sliced bread did feel a little more texturally akin to regular white sandwich bread recipes than something you'd pick up at a local bakery, and the difference between crumb and crust was less pronounced. If the acidic, fermented sensation is what you're after in a loaf of sourdough bread, you'll be seriously impressed by Aldi's Specially Selected. But we can't imagine that kids would want this over mild-mannered white bread, and we don't think it would make great French toast or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Toasted, topped with melted cheese, and dunked in a sweeter soup like Butternut Squash? Absolutely. We had no idea Aldi would bring the sour pucker, but boy, oh boy, did it ever!
Wegmans Organic White Sourdough is one of the many store-brand bread options available on the shelves of this impressive destination. For us, Wegmans is a favorite store to simply wander and see what we'll discover. The cheese section? Folks, it's a work of art. We really wanted to grab some to stack on slices of sourdough bread, but for the most candid reaction, we had to eat the bread by itself. Thankfully, that wasn't a thankless task this time around. Beyond the welcoming appearance (the crust looks like it was dusted sweetly in powdered sugar, but of course, it's just flour), we found the overall taste quite good. 041b061a72