When it comes to narrowing down the best, most ideal bread option at Trader Joe’s, it’s bound to get complicated. Are we using it for savory purposes? Cubing it up into stuffing? A simple sandwich? Or are we hoping it gets delightfully stale enough for bread pudding, homemade croutons for a panzanella salad, or even French toast? You can see that such a decision can make you dizzy.
I opted for the straight-down-the-middle path for determining the best bread. Don’t get me wrong — I live for the grocer’s buttery, fluffy loaves of brioche and eggy challah. The challah is my first stop for French toast-making success, and those brioche rolls are the only rolls to use for grilled burgers and hot dogs, as far as I’m concerned.
But for the purposes of a really can-do-it-all loaf of bread, I narrowed my findings down to something I can rely on for a variety of preparations: toasted with jam and butter, pressed in a panini, stacked as a sandwich, and yes, converted into homemade croutons. For these purposes and so many more, it really doesn’t get any better than the Tuscan Pane bread.
Trader Joe’s Tuscan Pane, $2.69 for 26 ounces
A delightfully crusty-yet-chewy texture is what makes the Tuscan Pane bread a true stand-out for me. It even looks like you just picked it up from your neighborhood baker, with a slight dusting of flour to bring out the subtle nuttiness. If you’re a sourdough fan, the Tuscan Pane has the chew and airiness you’ll be familiar with.
Traditionally made without salt by Tuscans who would use it to accompany spicy and salty dishes, Tuscan Pane is ideal for dredging up any remaining bits of pasta sauce, or eaten with cured meats and pungent or hard cheeses. This bread also toasts perfectly, making it part of one of my favorite appetizers: garlic-rubbed bruschetta toasts.
Ready to stock up? Because I used to work at Trader Joe’s, I have a great tip for you. It’s the secret to storing pretty much all of the bread at Trader Joe’s. Ready? You absolutely must store it in the fridge or freezer. See, Trader Joe’s doesn’t stock bread with the artificial preservatives, which makes storing it in a cool place important for keeping your loaves fresh and ready for toasting. A quick toast in the toaster gives a slice new life in no time and (bonus!) you’re halfway to bruschetta already.
What’s your favorite bread to pick up at Trader Joe’s? Tell us in the comments below.