The quest for good, affordable gluten free bread seems to be never-ending. In our family -where the baker’s children often have no bread thanks to my crazy schedule – this tends to be a recurring ‘new’ item. Years ago we tried Schar Bread (the shelf stable kind) and found it dry and unappetizing without a ton of toasting/baking/nuking. When I saw the package proudly proclaim “NEW RECIPE! Amazing Taste” I decided to give the brand another try. Was it worth it? Read on…
The Schar Artisan Bread weighed in at 12oz – that’s pretty average for gluten free bread (see below)
Here are some numbers for comparison, for the most common breads: Udi’s Bread (about 12oz), Rudi’s (14 oz), Canyon Bakehouse (18oz), and Three Bakers (19oz).
The Schar Artisan Multigrain bread retails for about $6.00 per loaf in my local stores. You could get it for about $1.33 more (about $7.33 per loaf online at stores)
As I mention, over and over, it is important to me to look at the real world cost of the bread, both for in store purchase and for online purchase, when comparing it to the other brands. For the purposes of comparison, I went with the average between the two prices, or about $6.75.
The Schar Artisan Multigrain weighs in with 12 slices per 12 oz loaf.
Using these figures I came up with the following per serving cost: $.56 per slice or $1.12 per 2 slice suggested serving.
The normal cost for a loaf of white bread in the US is currently about $2.37, for 19+oz, and 11 2-slice servings, making normal per slice cost $.11. So comparatively, the cost of the Schar bread is about 1100% of the normal cost of gluten filled bread. No surprises there.
I wanted to compare the cost as well to the most popular gluten free competitors bread – because let’s face it, that’s what we’re really comparing it to:
- Aldi, $3.99, 12 slices, $.33 per slice, $.66 per serving (Schar Savingss: none)
- Rudi’s: $5 per loaf, 14 slices. $.36 per slice, $.72 per serving (Schar Savings: none)
- Canyon Bakehouse: $5 per loaf, 15 slices. $.33 per slice, $.66 per serving (Schar Savings: none)
- Three Bakers: 6.59 per loaf, 14 slices. $.47 per slice, $.94 per serving (Schar Savings: none)
In fact, when you compare the bread against any of the other competitors (including its own brands lower cost versions, not listed) the bread is about twice the cost.
Texture and Flavor:
With the cost being more expensive (based on per slice analysis), the key differentiation for me would come down to the taste and texture. At twice the price, the bread should be twice as good.
The first thing I notice is that despite the fancy new ‘regular bread’ wrap, the internal loaf is still in the aseptic sealed ‘standard Schar container. Good for freshness, but bad from a packaging standpoint if, like me, you hate the idea of adding extra plastic to the landfills.
On initial feel, the bread itself had the standard “stiff and dense” texture I’ve experienced with Schar Breads, so I was disappointed, but I did note that the bread itself was much moister than the regular Schar breads and definitely had a more tender crumb. In this case the denseness might have been attributable to the increased ‘whole grain’, and wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. As usual the overall texture improved once toasted/nuked, but it was in general still acceptable ‘cold’ without reheating – a large improvement over other Schar breads from the past.
As for taste – the Schar bread was pretty good! As my family is a fan of whole grains, we actually preferred the flavor, which was sweet and reminded us slightly of a standard ‘whole wheat’ bread, and we liked the inclusion of seeds in the bread.
Was it better than the competitors? That’s a mixed bag – we’ve had some pretty good whole grain breads, particularly from Canyon Bakehouse. While this definitely beats the lower quality breads out there, and ranks up there equal with the best we’ve had, it doesn’t exceed them.
Top Eight: Our bag listed Soy.
Yes, in a large number of online retailers.
TASTE OR TOSS
The bread was good – was it worth the $1.12 per sandwich serving? We’re rather divided on this. My kids say, “yes!” because they think the bread is pretty decent. I, on the otherhand, just can’t justify the increase in cost when we have decent brands (like Canyon Bakehouse, Three Bakers, or New Grains) to choose from.
If budget is not necessarily an issue for you (for instance, if you are only serving one person and don’t eat a lot of bread), and if you like wholemeal breads, this may be a good fit. For us, we’re likely to return to the other wholemeal options available to us.