The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Review: Whole Foods Market Ciabatta

ArtisanGeek's picture

Review: Whole Foods Market Ciabatta

Like many of you, I don't always have time to bake my own bread and I buy artisan bread where I can find it; sometimes from chain deli-bakeries and sometimes from independents. This is the first in a series of  retail bakery artisan bread reviews I will be publishing. I'm most interested in hearing your comments and learning where folks who appreciate good bread buy there loaves. First up is Whole Foods Market Ciabatta. The bread you get from Whole Foods will vary according to your region. Each region has a bakehouse that supports several stores. The stores I visit are in the Raleigh/Durham area of  North Carolina. I have found that most of the breads here are excellent and the Ciabatta is one of my favorites.

Whole Foods Ciabatta

The crust on this bread is nice and crispy. The crumb is semi-chewy, almost creamy. I can tell the dough is a proper 100% hydration by the awesome open whole structure. This is a lean Ciabatta (no olive oil) and I actually prefer mine this way. I buy this bread about once a week and will continue to do so. Usually, I will bring it home, cut it into thick slices, and freeze it. I take out a few slices at a time, thaw them, and pop them in the oven at 425 for about 12 minutes. I have found that I can keep it for weeks using this method and it tastes as fresh as day one out of the oven. The Whole Foods Ciabatta is one of those retail loaves that I find not only edible, but downright excellent!

Ciabatta Crumb


LindyD's picture

Admittedly, I've looked at breads offered in our local markets (there is no Whole Foods store within 250 miles of my town), but I've only looked.   This November it will be two years since I've purchased a loaf of bread from any source.  Lots of flour since then, but no bread.

For me personally, no matter what my schedule is, there is always time to bake bread.  It's that important to me.


xaipete's picture

I agree.


ArtisanGeek's picture

I guess it just depends on where you live. To find good bread you either need to be in a big city or an area with a demographic that would be inclined to buy such products...I've found really good bakeries and breads in my area and I will be reviewing more of them soon. Of course, nothing can match the satisfaction of success with making your own breads  at home!

LindyD's picture

To find good bread you either need to be in a big city or an area with a demographic that would be inclined to buy such products.

Happily, to find good bread I don't have to look past my own kitchen.

suave's picture

I am pretty sure that WF breads are not made on site, they're just finishing parbaked loaves.  At least in our nearest WF, bread section is located right by the door, may be couple of hundred feet away from the back of the store and any possible work area and is manned by a single high school-aged person.

ArtisanGeek's picture

Yes, I'm aware of I stated in my post, there is a local "bakehouse" that supports several stores every day. It is either completely baked there or parbaked and finished at the store. They also sell bread from a local bakery called "La Farm"....excellent bread by an award winning French baker.

ehanner's picture

I like the premise of your project ArtisanGeek. Those who look down thier nose at bread from a bakery outside thier own are missing opportunities. Last week I decided to take my daughter to the botanical garden in Milwaukee at the last minute. We stopped at a local Italian Bakery and picked up a loaf and some ham and cheese and headed out for a picknic. The bread was great and we had a wonderful afternoon. Knowing where to find a good loaf on the quick would be a good thing.

Good luck with your project!


pattycakes's picture

ciabatta until I started making Jason's Coccodrillo ciabatta from TFL. Then I made others from scratch, and I don't really want it any more...