Bread is such an integral part of our everyday lives—we use it to make toast, ham and cheese, or other sandwich varieties. Unlike their American counterparts though, Japanese bread has a distinct, slightly sweet undertone and thick, chewy texture that can be enjoyed by itself. However, with so many brands out there, it can be hard to pick what to buy.
Keeping this in mind, we've gone through various Japanese e-commerce sites and physical store locations (such as Amazon, Rakuten, supermarkets, and convenience stores) to find the best bread. We then tested all 17 varieties and chose our top recommendations according to how delicious each was.
Here's the ranking of the 17 different Japanese breads we tried, ordered by taste. Some of the prices have been converted to dollars from the original Japanese price for easier viewing.
4 slices, thick cut
|Japanese||セブン−イレブン・ジャパン セブンプレミアムゴールド もっちり食感金の食パン厚切り ４枚入|
|Carbohydrates per slice||45.6 g|
|Calories per slice||266|
6 slices, 3 pack
|Japanese||山崎製パン ふんわり食パン 6枚切|
|Carbohydrates per slice||28.2 g|
|Calories per slice||156|
|Carbohydrates per slice||29.9 g|
|Calories per slice||186|
6 slices, 4 pack
|Flour||Wheat, rice, rye|
|Carbohydrates per slice||29.9 g|
|Calories per slice||158|
|Japanese||イオントップバリュ トップバリュ やわらか仕込み 6枚|
|Carbohydrates per slice||28.8 g|
|Calories per slice||153|
|Carbohydrates per slice||30.6 g|
|Calories per slice||169|
|Japanese||山崎製パン ダブルソフト 6枚切|
|Carbohydrates per slice||29.7 g|
|Calories per slice||176|
|Japanese||敷島製パン パスコ 超熟|
|Carbohydrates per slice||30.3 g|
|Calories per slice||164|
|Japanese||ファミリーマート 小麦香るしっとりとした食パン 5枚|
|Main ingredient||Wheat, rice|
|Carbohydrates per slice||34.6 g|
|Calories per slice||192|
|Japanese||敷島製パン パスコ 麦のめぐみ 全粒粉入り食パン|
|Main ingredient||Whole wheat, rye|
|Carbohydrates per slice||28.9 g|
|Calories per slice||155|
Seven Eleven Japan
Aeon Top Valu
Seven Premium Gold Bread
Airy and Fluffy Sandwich Bread
Top Valu Soft Bread
Soft Bread With Wheat Aroma
Pasco Whole Wheat Bread
You Won't Be Able to Get Enough of the Chewy Texture and Profound Taste
Super Soft, Light, and Smooth Bread
Extremely Versatile—It's Delicious Any Way You Eat It
Buttery Taste That's Great Even Eaten Alone
The More You Bite Into it, the More Delicious it Gets
Delicious Toasted and Plain! Super Thickly Sliced Bread
Great Plain, but Best for Being Light and Mellow
Fluffy and Voluminous Bread That Took Top Marks
Even the Crust is Aromatic and Delicious
|Japanese||セブン−イレブン・ジャパン セブンプレミアムゴールド もっちり食感金の食パン厚切り ４枚入||山崎製パン ふんわり食パン 6枚切||山崎製パン 超芳醇||イオントップバリュ トップバリュ やわらか仕込み 6枚||山崎製パン ロイヤルブレッド||山崎製パン ダブルソフト 6枚切||敷島製パン パスコ 超熟||ファミリーマート 小麦香るしっとりとした食パン 5枚||敷島製パン パスコ 麦のめぐみ 全粒粉入り食パン|
|Flour||Wheat||Wheat||Wheat||Wheat||Wheat||Wheat||Wheat||Wheat, rice||Whole wheat, rye|
|Carbohydrates per slice||45.6 g||28.2 g||29.9 g||28.8 g||30.6 g||29.7 g||30.3 g||34.6 g||28.9 g|
|Calories per slice||266||156||186||153||169||176||164||192||155|
And why they didn't quite make it.
Though one whole wheat bread made its way into our top 10 list, some of our lower-ranked breads didn't quite make it in terms of their unique flavor. Pasco's Choujuku Japanese Wheat Bread was one such case; though it's made with wheat flour, it was a bit strong on the wheat flavor. Some thought it tasted too bitter.
Pasco Choujuku Rye Bread's lower ranking is a bit understandable since the taste of rye tends to be something you either like or don't. Since there are bits of rye scattered throughout each slice, it offers an interesting and alternating texture, but that could be its downfall for some.
Untoasted, Top Valu's Green Eye Pain de Mie is kind of dry and tasteless, with a slight bit of sourness that disappointed our staff. Even when toasted, it still remains hard and somewhat unappetizing. However, the crust does crisp up, so it can be used for sandwiches, combined with meat and veggies.
In contrast, Seven Eleven's Seven Premium Bread is soft, mellow, and slightly airy when plain. However, our staff had complaints about how hard the bread is to chew and how hard the crusts were. You have to prepare this bread in order for it to be palatable - we recommend using it for French toast.
Fuji Bread's Hon Shikomi Bread is very dry and rather tasteless before toasting it. After toasting, it becomes even drier, and the wheat flavor, less pronounced. The only thing our staff liked was that the crust had crunch. Though we didn't love the bread, it's such a simple bread that it's hard to tire of it, and it can still be eaten on a daily basis.
Seven Eleven's Smooth and Soft Bread is also a bit dry and tasteless and the smooth mouthfeel of the bread was virtually nonexistent—toasted or not. Out of all the bread we tried, this was one of the toughest to eat. However, the denseness of the bread is good, and it's quite substantial. We recommend using this bread for sandwiches.
Unfortunately, when our staff tried Aeon's Top Valu Best Price Everyday Bread, they had concerns about being unable to eat the bread by itself. There was basically no flavor or aroma, even though the bread had a nice fluffy and chewy texture. Since the bread doesn't have a lot of flavor, it can work with soups or with jam or margarine, though.
We gathered all 17 popular breads from Amazon, Rakuten, Yahoo! Shopping, convenience stores, and supermarkets and tested them for which was the most delicious.
The most important thing to consider when choosing a bread is, of course, how delicious it is. We tried them both before and after toasting them, allowing us to take into account how delicious they were either way. We then graded them on a scale of 1.0 to 5.0.
In order to prevent bias towards any one brand, we conducted a blind-taste test. We also used a Balmuda toaster, which is known as one of the best oven toasters in Japan, to perfectly toast the bread.
When we tested the breads, we were certain that brand names like Choujuku or Double Soft would win. However, we were surprised when we found Seven Eleven's Premium Gold Bread to be the most delicious!
The Premium Gold Bread is airy, light, fluffy, and chewy—it's even comparable to high-end breads that incorporate cream into the batter. Furthermore, when toasted, the outer crust becomes beautifully crisp, while the interior remains pillow-soft, creating a top-notch bread experience. We also liked how you could taste notes of butter in it.
Here, we'd like to introduce you to three points that you should make sure to check before you buy a Japanese bread.
The flour used in bread can include wheat, rye, whole wheat, or rice flour, with each having their own nutritional value and impacting the overall texture of the final product. We'd first like to go over these differences in the section below.
Plain sandwich bread that say that they use wheat flour often use bread flour, which is high in protein. There is a lot of gluten in protein-rich bread flour, which lends its elasticity to make a chewier, flexible bread. Breads made of wheat flour thus have an enjoyable glutinous and springy texture.
This type of bread is very familiar and long-loved in Japan, so if you're worried about what to pick, then the safest choice is to pick a bread made of wheat flour.
If you're on a diet but still want to eat bread, then whole wheat or rye-based breads are your best choice. Regular sandwich breads have a high glycemic index, meaning that it increases blood glucose levels quickly.
On the other hand, bread made of rye flour is lower on the index, so it's a great option for people on a low-carb diet. And whole wheat bread has a lower glycemic index compared to rye bread, so it's even better suited for dieters.
Rye breads and whole wheat breads are also very different in flavor. Rye is slightly sour in taste, while whole wheat has a strong wheat flavor. People worried about carbs and who love the nutty taste of wheat should try out rye or whole wheat breads.
People with allergies to wheat or on a gluten-free diet can eat rice flour-based breads. They're distinctly different from their wheat-based cousins, with a lovely, springy chewiness and, when bitten into, you can enjoy the subtle sweetness characteristic of rice.
However, there are products that use a mix of both wheat and rice flours to create a better texture or to add in additional nutritional benefits, so those with wheat allergies should make sure to check the ingredients and allergens list on the package to see if they can consume the product or not.
Japanese breads have two types based on their shape: round-topped bread and square bread. Each is made in a different way. Square bread is made when a lid is placed on top of the bread pan while it's baking, while round-topped bread is baked without a lid.
Without a lid covering it, round-topped bread forms bigger air bubbles, contributing not only to its fluffy texture, but also allowing it to bake into a crisp crust when toasted. It creates a better crust than square bread, so we recommend it for people who like eating toast.
On the other hand, square bread bakes more compactly, creating a denser, smoother body that still retains its chewy texture. Try it out if you want to eat bread as is.
Besides the sugar content in wheat flour, the oil and fat content of butter, margerine, or cream also have a big impact on creating a fluffy and soft bread.
The use of cream, especially, has the biggest impact on creating a springier bread, allowing the consumer to enjoy a chewy, moist slice of bread. If you want a bread that has a more elastic texture, then make sure to check over the ingredients list!
No matter how delicious a bread is, eating it every day as breakfast or as a snack can get tiring. Here, we're going to introduce some simple recipes to spice up your bread.
We recommend using bread loaves that have been cut into six or eight pieces to make the perfect ham and cheese. Also use a toaster or frypan for the cooking part!
Ham and cheese is extremely easy to make—just put a slice of store-bought ham and thinly cut cheese between two slices of bread and toast it on both sides. Cut it in half and you'll see the melty, drippy cheese oozing out. It's so delicious that it'll be hard to put down.
When making butter honey toast, it's best to use bread that's cut into thick, 3-inch slices. Lightly cut lines into one side of a slice of bread and then toast it. Once it's done, and while it's still warm, drizzle honey onto it and dallop a healthy dose of butter onto the side with score lines on it.
The bread will soak up all the sweet goodness of the honey, while the bread itself remains crisp and slightly crunchy. With the salty butter adding yet another dimension of flavor, this combination of ingredients is perfectly matched to create a devilishly good concoction. It tastes even better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!
Some people don't like eating the crusts off bread and meticulously cut or pick it off before making their daily sandwich. However, you can actually use these leftovers to make a delicious treat called rusk!
Just cut the crusts into any size you wish, coat them with a mixture of sugar and melted butter, then toast them! It'll create crisp and crunchy pieces of rusk. We recommend eating them with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar or cocoa powder.
Snacks and condiments may be plentiful in the US, but buying Japanese varieties allows you to discover new flavors and develop new, inspired dishes. We've tested out a couple of other products, such as soy sauces, potato chips, and rice crackers, so take a look if you're looking to try something new!
Bread is such a familiar staple of breakfasts and lunches, and, because you eat them everyday, you naturally want to eat only the best. We hope that our test and top 17 list are helpful for you to pick out your new favorite Japanese bread!
Author: Ryuichi Odaira/Translation: Kristina Tan/Photos: Kazuya Ota
Date of ranking: September 30, 2019
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