Friday, September 19, 2014

Trader Joe's San Francisco Style Sourdough Bread Sliced

I love sourdough bread. It's what I keep on hand for most uses--toast, sandwiches, etc. The best I've found around here is the "Extra Large Sourdough Loaf" from Atlanta Bread Company, which I discovered shortly after moving to Asheville. I usually have one loaf of it that I'm working on, and another in the freezer ready to replace it. I consider it essentially perfect. The only problem is that it means another stop for a single item in my grocery shopping. Oh, and it's kind of pricey.

So, all else being equal, it would be better if I could find a sourdough bread I like at TJ's. But it appears that that's not going to happen. I've tried this offering twice now, a few months apart, and I'm done with it.

First, it doesn't have much of the distinct lactic-acid sourness that is supposed to characterize this kind of bread.

Second, the loaf is shaped in an unhelpful manner. I'll concede that this is probably traditional, because most sourdough loaves I've encountered are similarly round and flattish. Atlanta Bread Company's product, on the other hand, is shaped like standard white or wheat loaves. This is a huge pragmatic advantage, if you ask me, because of slice-to-slice consistency. The round shape is problematic because the slices are tiny toward the ends of the loaf, and enormous in the middle. Most of them, then, end up either smaller or bigger than I would like. That sucks.

Caveat: TJ's web site says that their breads are produced by regional bakeries and vary from one supplier to the next, so what you see here may differ meaningfully from what you find in your local store.

Will I buy it again? 

Nope. It's both less tasty and less practical to use than what I get from Atlanta Bread Company, so I'll keep buying the latter.

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