Which Bread Is The Healthiest?

June 29, 2011   25 Comments has a long tradition of doing experiments dating back to the late '80s. (I mean - I have a long tradition of experimentation :)

Bread Mold Experiment

Over the last year, I have played with McD's, Fritos, eggs, and fried chicken - see below:

Now, bread is the focus of my latest test. There are three different slices of bread in the photo above. The one on the left is Wonder Bread, then there is Arnold's 12 Grain, and below is my husband's homemade bread.

What did I do? I placed them all in zip lock baggies and I am going to see if they rot.

Why does it matter? The idea here is that the more "natural" the bread, the more that bread mold is going to grow on it.

Ever since I wrote the post on Whole Wheat Wonder Bread with its over 40 ingredients, I have been wondering how those additives change the bread.

All of the chemicals added to bread to make it shelf stable are approved by the FDA, but that doesn't mean they are food FOR you. They have been tested to ensure they won't kill us - but what about maintaining the nutrients in the bread?

My experiment is an attempt to determine if the preservatives in the bread makes it less than optimal for our health.

The three bread choices reflect different amounts of preservatives and nutrients:

  1. Wonder Bread - few nutrients and lots of preservatives
  2. Arnold Bread - many nutrients and lots of preservatives
  3. Homemade Bread - many nutrients and zero preservatives.

Let's see what is going to happen!

If you are wondering about my husband's homemade bread - he follows the book "Healthy Bread in Five Minutes A Day", by Jeff Hertzberg, MD and Zoe Francois. He has been making it for a couple years now and it is DELICIOUS.

What do you think will happen?

Results are in! Check out:

Healthy Bread Test: Shocking Results Are In

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First 20 Comments: ( See all 25 )

I would love to know which store-bought bread you would recommend. I just don't have time to make bread and wonder what to buy every time I'm at the store!

@JoAnne - I don't have time to make bread either. So, I like Alvarado Bakery's sprouted wheat bread - found in the FREEZER. So, if they put the bread in the freezer then they aren't using preservatives in the bread. I also like some breads I find at Whole Foods. Bread is really a tough one for me.

Thanks a ton! I'll check this out! I LOVE bread but don't eat it because I can't find fresh bread in our supermarkets. It always seems to be stale when I buy it and it drives me nuts. But, I do have to buy bread for my husband and daughter and often keep it in the freezer anyway, so I'll look for Alvarado's Bread!

I don't think this experiment will demonstrate anything useful. Many factors, including moisture content, will influence how fast something molds.

Rudi's makes organic breads and gluten-free breads. They are also found in the freezer. Also, if you have a great local farmers' market, you might be able to get bread there. At ours there is a vendor who sells homemade bread - only a few ingredients and listed right on the package - no preservatives.

I think the store bought breads will last for. Ev. Er. I just realized the other day that my bread keeps for WEEKS, and so therefore must be full of something terrible for us.

I'm going to switch to Rudi's :)

I eat Rudi's and have had it in my fridge for up to a month with no ill effects so I'm not sure I buy the whole healthy=mold hypothesis

I love that book. It's a great book to have for those who don't have time to make their own bread.

I switched to making my own bread after your post on the Artisan Bread cookbook. and after i realized how long a loaf of store-bought bread lasted in my cupboard without getting moldy. it's a struggle for me to decide between light, fluffy, long-lasting, cheap bread bread, and the heavier and natural stuff I make. if i leave the homemade bread in a loosely closed bag on the counter, the cut end gets dried out, and the crust gets moldy. I don't eat bread every day and it takes me a while to eat a loaf. the last loaf I made I froze, so I have to plan ahead and let it thaw or microwave/toast it before I make a sandwich. man it's such a struggle! my life is tough. ;)

all that said, the homemade bread is going to win!

Andrea- it's going to take a very long time for any bread to mold in the refrigerator, even home made. Pretty sure Snack girl is going to leave the bread out (but covered I hope!). Great name by the way;)

On a slightly off-topic note, Lisa - I've also been using Healthy Bread since you originally posted about it and I have a question: Do you and/or your husband have a trick to cutting even slices of bread? I used to see bread knives with a guide but haven't seen one recently and wondered if there was a trick I'm missing! Thanks!

One of the things that I DON'T like about homemade bread is how dense it is. I prefer "fluffy" bread - is there a healthy "fluffy" bread??

Whenever I make bread at home I could use it as a door stop, hockey puck or weapon.. (sadly!) any suggestions for making homemade fluffy bread?

I end up getting Dave's bread from Whole foods when I do get bread -or the fresh french bread from the bakery at the local market, but the french bread is made with white flour and probably has no nutritional value :(

I've been purchasing "Wild's" Whole grain breads. They have several varities including sunflower seed bread, Black bread, Etc... Since I'm the only person in my house who will eat the "non-traditional" type bread, and I only eat 1 slice a day, the loaf hangs around for awhile. After I intially open the package, I place it in a Zip lock and into the bread basket. That loaf will stay about 2 weeks and is used before it ever go moldy. Wonder bread, on the other hand, seems to have a "home life" of about 4 days, especially when the warmer weather comes around. Amazing with all the preservatives in it!

I purchase the Sara Lee 45 calories and delicious bread, and that it is! I never feel guilty eating it because it seems much healthier, but is it?

@Sarah - I used to buy that too - until I read the label! It has high fructose corn syrup in it (albeit it's in the <2% ingredients category, but any amount is bad for you!). Now I buy Orowheat light bread - it tastes "healthier" but it's only 40 cals a slice and no HFCS.

We started making our own bread a few months ago. It takes time, but a lot of it is waiting time (you can do other things around the house). The actual involved time is pretty low and it saves money! Plus I find homemade bread is more filling and doesn't mess with my blood sugar so much.

Then a few weeks ago I got a bread machine off freecycle and now I have yummy homemade bread with only a few minutes of time involved!

I can't wait to see the results of your experiment, although I have some suspicions what the results will be :D That's why we refrigerate our homemade bread.

Dave's Killer Bread. "Just say no to bread on drugs" It's available at Costco, organic, uses whole grains. Google to go to the website!

Also when you buy Whole Wheat bread, it needs to say "100% Whole Wheat" or it isn't. Or 'whole grain'. Otherwise it is refined wheat.

I also saw your hamburger "experiment" and it really got me to thinking. While I'm sure the preservatives aren't adding anything healthy to our food, I can't help but see things from my grandmother's point of view. She was born during the Depression and I imagine that in her eyes anything that kept food edible for longer would be a good thing. They might not be nutritious, but they definitely serve a purpose.

I can not stand white bread for years. I wont even eat it homemade anymore. Bagel thins are good and Ezkiel bread is super...

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