A good loaf of bread is the basis to so many classic British snacks and lunches, from beans on toast to the humble sandwich, but which of our many supermarkets does it best?
I went to three of the favourites, Aldi, Tesco, and Asda to see what freshly baked loaves they had to offer.
In order to create a fairly balanced test I went for the iconic white tinned loaf for all three, and made sure that each had the same sell by date so that differing levels of freshness would play no issues.
In my infinite wisdom I’ve also come up with five cutting edge and ruthlessly efficient criteria that I will be evaluating each loaf by.
They are as follows:
Crust / Appearance
For the taste test, rather than eating plain dry bread because that would just be mental, I will be adding a thin sheen of butter to each slice and folding it in half for what I believe the French call ‘Bréd et Bûtter’.
Similarly for the toast round I will be adding butter to each slice because the alternative is deranged.
My butter of choice is Bertolli, so technically an olive spread. I look forward to the abuse that this almost certainly will bring raining down upon me and apologise for nothing.
So let me introduce the contenders today:
From Aldi weighing in at 400g we have the ‘Traditional White Bloomer’, a sliced number which I’m reliably informed technically isn’t a bloomer because it’s actually been baked in a tin, so make of that what you will.
From Tesco also weighing in at precisely 400g we have the ‘Crusty White Farmhouse Sliced’, a reliable classic.
Finally from Asda weighing in at an incredible three way tying 400g, we have the simply named ‘White Tin’ a no nonsense loaf that doesn’t even come sliced.
So without further waffle let’s get into it.
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Aldi’s Traditional White Bloomer
Priced at 89p the Aldi bloomer is surprisingly the priciest of the bunch. Maybe because it’s the largest of the three loaves and needs more packaging? Either way my expectations were raised in anticipation.
The crust and appearance was solid here, a fairly dark but not burnt crust, although it is also easily the softest crust of the three which is always a bit of a disappointment – 5/10.
The Aldi bloomer was a soft bite, maybe a bit more brittle than I expected. My immediate instinct is that this would be a lot better as toast – 5/10.
Taste wise the crust was as disappointing as it had felt to the touch, and the bread itself was just okay – 6/10.
As I suspected in toast form the weaknesses became strengths and it made a lovely crispy slice – 8/10.
I did feel disappointed with this one, although it definitely restored respectability in toasted form. Overall: 6/10.
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Tesco’s Crusty White Farmhouse
In at 80p the Tesco Farmhouse is the budget option here, although only 9p less than the Aldi option.
There are several immediate problems I can see with this loaf. The crust itself looks somewhat undercooked and a ghostly pale shade of beige.
What may explain this though is the actual tonne of flour that appears to be caking the crust. Personally I cannot stand the texture of flour on bread, even thinking about it makes me shiver.
So for me this was a massive red flag, letting down what is actually otherwise an excellent crust, fully delivering on the promise of crispness – 7/10.
Texture-wise this loaf was dreamy, the aforementioned hard exterior hiding an inner softness that would be Oscar winning if it was an acting performance – 8/10.
Unfortunately the rollercoaster ride that is the Tesco Farmhouse loaf continued though as the actual taste test proved a crushing disappointment, lacking in flavour and verging on stodge. Bonus minus point for making me actually cringe after a mouthful of flour – 5/10.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the toast, some of the stodge remained despite some base crispiness. All in all not great – 6/10.
After the promise this was showed I was even more crestfallen than after the Aldi loaf, although I’d still say it was stronger overall – 6/10.
Asda’s Tinned White
The no nonsense tinned white comes in at 85p, the option for the discerning shopper not wanting to break the bank at 89p but wanting to treat themselves to more than 80 pence worth of bread.
It definitely felt like I may have inadvertently saved the best until last here, great colour, a very firm and crisp crust with no flour in sight – 9/10.
The tinned white had all the softness of the Tesco farmhouse too texture-wise, I had my fingers crossed it wouldn’t also match it in terms of disappointment when I tasted it – 8/10.
My low-stakes prayers were answered when I tried it and was pleasantly surprised to find it offered an enjoyable mouthful and plenty of flavour, although by this point I may have been suffering from bread-blindness – 8/10.
To complete the set, the Asda toast was also the best of the bunch, providing a nice crunch, no stodge and not too dry either – 8/10.
Overall, the Asda loaf blew the others out the water: 8/10.
So to recap quickly:
Asda’s straightforward ‘White Tin’ towered above the other loaves. A bonafide titan of the freshly baked supermarket bread industry.
The other two showed promise but ultimately left me bitterly disappointed, like a bakers bride jilted at a doughy alter.
And that’s where I have to end this review because the butter really didn’t add much and I definitely still feel like I just ate six slices of plain bread.
Take me back to canned pies.
Which bread is your favourite? Let us know in the comments here.