6 Grocery Store Breads To Buy, And 6 To Avoid

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There's a reason that "breaking bread" is synonymous with sharing a meal. Bread is an ancient food that has played an enormous role in our diets for thousands of years (via Britannica). What started out as primitive attempts of dough baked on hot stones under smoldering ashes during the Neolithic period has evolved into a massive, international industry. Baguettes, white, wheat, rye — today, countless types of breads are available on the market.

From English muffins in the morning for breakfast to sandwiches on hoagies for lunch, there's no doubt that bread plays a major role in the lives of most Americans. In fact, according to the South Florida Reporter, Americans eat over 50 pounds of bread every year. And while it's easy to think of bread as relatively innocuous considering its omnipresence in the culinary world, the truth is that various types of bread can have wildly different levels of salt and sugar.

Beyond ingredients and nutritional content, the general taste and overall quality of the bread itself tends to vary between brands — so how should you know which to pick? That's where we come in. Whether you're looking for some perfectly soft hamburger buns for your smash burgers, amazing rye bread to whip up some killer melts, or you just want to know which types of bread to steer clear from, we're here to help you out.

12. Dave's Killer Bread (White)

For many of us, white bread is a classic pantry staple. Versatile with a simple flavor profile, white bread is like a blank canvas that can be used to create all kinds of tasty masterpieces. From eggs and toast in the morning to grilled cheese, and countless other sandwiches, white bread the backbone of the baking world. But as practical and ubiquitous as white bread is, the truth is that the quality of white bread often fluctuates between brands. Some cheaper white breads found at the grocery store are heavily processed, easily fall apart with minimal handling, or just take on a strange, spongy texture while being chewed. Thankfully, there are some much better options on the market like Dave's Killer Bread.

Made with organic ingredients, Dave's Killer Bread (White) offers 10 grams of whole grains along with minimal sugar content (via Cooking Light). It contains no high-fructose corn syrup and is made with a blend of different flours including wheat, barley, and rye. The end result is a healthier white bread option that performs well in a variety of contexts from a simple peanut butter and jelly to toast, or deli-style sandwiches. When it comes to white bread, there's no doubt that Dave's makes some of the best in the business, and once you score yourself a loaf, you'll never look back.

11. Dave's Killer Bread (Righteous Rye)

Rye bread has a distinctive taste that brings a lot of flavor to the table. Nutty and earthy with a slightly sour tang, the caraway seeds found in rye bread provide the malty and beloved flavor profile that it's so well-known for. There are some great rye breads on the market that capture its vibrant flavors with impressive deliciousness, but there are also some duds on the shelves. The last thing you want is to roll the dice on a loaf at the grocery store only to discover that it's practically flavorless. The good news is that Dave's Killer Bread rises to the occasion once again with its righteous rye.

Created with a mix of organic ingredients that includes wheat, rye, quinoa, and whole flax seeds, this rye bread has a bold and hearty taste. The addition of flax seeds provides a uniquely pleasant texture to this rye bread, while also infusing each slice with its nutritional benefits that includes a healthy dose of Omega-3 Fatty Acids (via Healthline). Health benefits aside, this bread has a robust flavor that makes it perfect to try out for some of your favorite sandwiches. Try toasting up a tasty reuben with this bread and you're bound to become a believer.

10. Whole Foods Brioche Hamburger Buns

Hamburger buns are another essential form of bread that offer a wide range of uses. Of course, hamburger buns are well-suited to house fire-licked beef patties fresh from the grill, but they can also hold up well for other handheld fare like barbecue pork sandwiches, grilled chicken, and sloppy joes. The problem is that there are tons of subpar hamburger buns out there that lack the structural integrity to properly contain a juicy burger or hearty sandwich. Deflated-looking and deviously crumbly, these shoddy buns are bound to be a disappointment. Fortunately, there are some dependable, higher-quality hamburger buns on the market that can save the day in your time of need — like the brioche hamburger buns from Whole Foods.

Fans of these brioche buns praise their ability to maintain softness while still providing a firm form that can easily hold up. Made with a handful of ingredients, including wheat flour, cage-free eggs, and milk proteins, these brioche buns have a delicate flavor with just a touch of sweetness. The next time you're shopping at Whole Foods, pick these up for your next cookout and see what you've been missing out on.

9. Nature's Own Honey Wheat Bread

Finding affordable and tasty wheat bread can be tricky. There are plenty of pricier wheat breads out there that are nutritious, but fall flat when it comes to flavor. Other wheat breads are simply just too dry to be fully satisfying — and we firmly believe that eating healthy doesn't have to be a joyless experience lacking in taste. Nature's Own honey wheat is a great example of a bread that checks all of the boxes. Nice and soft? Check. Reasonably priced? Indeed. Delicious and relatively healthy? Absolutely.

Not only is this wheat bread incredibly soft, you can actually smell the touch of honey in it. And even though it's fluffy, it can still toast up nicely, making it a great choice for melts or grilled cheeses. Fans of Nature's Own honey wheat rave about its versatility, fluffiness, and affordable price tag. With no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors, Nature's Own has managed to create a loaf of bread that strikes the perfect balance between cost and quality. The bottom line: If you want to keep a loaf of bread on hand at all times that can be used in a variety of ways, Nature's Own honey wheat is a wise choice. As you can see, there are plenty of reasons that this is America's top-selling loaf of bread (via Nature's Own).

8. Whole Foods Ciabatta Bread

With its signature airiness and sporadic interior holes, ciabatta often has a slightly tangy taste reminiscent of sourdough. That said, there are some key differences between the two: ciabatta tends to have more olive oil incorporated into the dough and typically uses a starter that's less fermented than sourdough. The end result is a loaf of bread with a crispy outer crust and a buttery, fluffy interior that provides some truly delicious textural contrast. That said, some store-bought brands fail to deliver the kind of flavor we've come to expect from a good loaf of ciabatta. Luckily for us, Whole Foods sells an impressively tasty ciabatta that's worth every penny.

One look at the label tells you everything you need to know: Just a handful of simple, organic ingredients. You won't find any weird chemicals or a long list of additives that are difficult to pronounce. The bread is flavorful with the right amount of chewiness and the crust is just right. More so, tere's no end in sight to all of the creative things you can do with this loaf of ciabatta — you can use it to make some homemade garlic bread, toast up a panini, or even make a pizza. Ciabatta is one of the tastiest types of bread out there, and there's no doubt that Whole Foods offers one of the best you can find at a large-scale grocery store.

7. Dave's Killer English Muffins

English muffins are one of the best breads to have on hand for breakfast, or any meal, for that matter. In a matter of minutes, you can whip up a quick egg sandwich that's cost-effective, nutritious, and easy to eat. Strawberry jam, melted butter, orange blossom honey, creamy avocado, citrusy tuna salad — all of these ingredients and more feel right at home nestled in the toasted crooks and crannies of an English muffin. They can also act as a respectable stand-in for dishes as disparate as cheeseburger slider buns, french toast, or strawberry shortcake. All of this is to say: English muffins rule, and if you aren't taking advantage of their astounding versatility, it's about time to change that. And there's no better product at the grocery store to do that with than Dave's Killer english muffins.

Dave's Killer English muffins are made with a handful of super grains, including millet and quinoa. Some online reviewers have point-blank stated that these are the best English muffins they've ever had. The only gripe some commenters tend to make? The use of canola oil, which isn't exactly the healthiest choice. According to Healthline, some research indicates that canola oil may have adverse health effects. That said, these English muffins are still some of the highest-quality offerings that are available in grocery stores and are totally worth it. Scoring yourself a sleeve can level-up your home cooking game big time.

6. Pepperidge Farm Cinnamon Swirl bread

Waffles drizzled with chocolate, pancakes drenched in maple syrup, and french toast smothered in caramel and whipped cream are examples of sweet dishes that blur the line between breakfast and dessert. Pepperidge Farm offers a loaf of cinnamon swirl bread that continues in this tradition. At seven grams of sugar per slice, if you have a couple pieces, that comes out to nearly 30% of your recommended intake for sugar for the entire day. Throw in a glass of juice and you've essentially kicked off the day by eating a sack of candy disguised as breakfast. As fun as it is to throw caution to the wind and live indulgently, the reality is that consuming too much sugar on a regular basis can trigger serious health issues, ranging from high blood pressure to heart disease.

For this reason, it's probably best not to have a loaf of sugary bread like this around this house very much. As tasty as it is, it's also exceedingly sweet, making it a bread that's best avoided. If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth early in the morning, try having some greek yogurt with a little honey and fresh fruit instead.

5. Wonder Bread Classic White

Between its retro look and being in business for over a century, Wonder Bread manages to conjure up an old-fashioned aesthetic that's undeniably charming (via Wonder Bread). And while we love a good dose of nostalgia every now and then, at the end of the day, what matters most is the level of quality that's being offered. And the truth is that there are lots of simple sliced breads on the market that are much better than Wonder Bread.

At the moment, Wonder Bread doesn't appear to offer a list of the ingredients used in its loaf of classic white bread on its official website. And there's probably a reason for that. Taking a peek at the ingredients elsewhere shows a lengthy list of tongue-twisters like ammonium sulfate, which is commonly used in soil fertilizers and flame-retardant chemicals (via Environmental Inorganic Chemistry for Engineers). A good rule of thumb is to try and eat stuff that doesn't have a long list of mostly unfamiliar ingredients. Unfortunately, some of Wonder Bread's ingredients look more like something you'd expect to see in a science experiment rather than something you'd want to make a sandwich out of.

Beyond ingredients, when it comes to sheer taste and texture Wonder Bread falls flat. It has a fragile structure that tends to practically dissolve while being chewed. Bottom line: Ditch the Wonder Bread. You deserve better and there are plenty of affordable, higher-quality options with more wholesome ingredients.

4. Toufayan Pita Bread

Don't get us wrong: We love pita bread. When pita bread is fresh and made properly, it's soft, slightly chewy, yet somewhat charred and fluffy. The best pita bread is somewhat airy but still has enough density to hold a thick smear of hummus or survive a deep dip into a hearty curry. While Toufayan pita bread is fairly easy to find at grocery stores across the country, its inexplicable saturation on the market doesn't necessarily speak to a high level of quality.

If you buy Toufayan pita bread and you're expecting the kind of cushy freshness that you'd get at a restaurant or a local bakery, you're bound to be sorely disappointed. There's no way around it as this pita bread is thick, dense, and dry. If you're looking for good pita bread, this isn't it. Try checking out your grocery store's in-house bakery section to see if any are freshly made as you're more likely to find the tasty pita bread that you're looking for there.

3. King's Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

It's easy to see why King's Hawaiian sweet rolls have cemented themselves into our culinary landscape. They're extremely versatile, considering they can act as dinner rolls, slider buns, or even a base for bread pudding. Their smaller size gives them an illusion of restraint when it comes to carb intake, but taking a peek at the nutrition facts tells another story. As it turns out, just one little roll has five grams of sugar, which is a pretty wild amount considering how small the roll is. Let's be honest, do you really just eat one of these when you open up the package? Most of us will probably take down at least a few of them, which could land anywhere from 15 to 20 grams of sugar in one sitting.

Once in a while, there's nothing wrong with enjoying King's Hawaiian sweet rolls. After all, most things in life are best enjoyed in moderation. That said, considering its fairly high sugar content, this probably isn't the type of bread that you should be eating on a regular basis. If you want to make some sliders, this is another opportunity to check out the bakery section of your favorite grocery store. Plenty of grocery stores bake their own slider buns in-house these days that are softer, fresher, less sweet, and even more delicious.

2. Pepperidge Farm Potato Bread

Because potato bread is partially made from the root vegetable that it's named after, it has a uniquely springy texture. That said, the flavor of potatoes doesn't really carry over to the bread, and it tastes more like a neutral white bread than it does of its namesake. It also tends to toast up pretty nicely, making it a contender for a killer grilled ham and cheese and other butter-griddled sandwiches.

The problem is that a single slice of Pepperidge Farm's potato bread contains nearly 200 mg of salt and 4 grams of sugar. To get more bang for your buck and have more control over the ingredients, try making some homemade potato bread from scratch. If you're not feeling up to baking, you can always just check out other brands at the grocery store and compare the salt and sugar levels, making sure to opt for the healthier choice. Pepperidge Farm potato bread has its time and place, but this is another example of a bread product that's best avoided or at least relegated to infrequent usage.

1. Whole Foods Sourdough Loaf

Sourdough bread is a special thing. With a hint of flavorful tanginess, sourdough bread toasts up beautifully, making it an excellent choice for all kinds of melts and grilled cheeses. Because sourdough has such a bold, distinctive taste, the last thing you want is to buy a loaf of sourdough that's bland and practically flavorless. Unfortunately, that's exactly what you get when you buy a loaf of this stuff.

According to Tasting Table, this sourdough is dry, brittle, and majorly lacking in the flavor department. What's the point in buying sourdough if it's not going to taste like sourdough? You're better off scoring yourself some local sourdough from a bakery or opting for another brand that bakes a superior loaf. Every food operation has its ups and downs, but it's a bit mystifying how a company like Whole Foods can strike out on a simple baked good.