As a Bay Area native, I know all about the best sourdough bread. It’s made by a local artisan from a decades-old sourdough starter fed with native yeasts. Duh. Oh, you wanted to know about the best store bought sourdough bread? Because you don’t live in Noe Valley and you can just stroll to your local bakery that specializes in San Francisco sourdough? I can help you out, too. Because I tasted 12 different sourdough bread brands and found five that I can recommend as the best sourdough breads you can buy at the grocery store, no matter where you live.
Here’s what I look for in an ideal sourdough bread: Tart, tangy crust. Ideally it’s actually crunchy, but that’s not always possible with store bought sourdough. So, I settled for crust that’s a little tough and chewy, in a good way. I also want a nice, open texture in the bread itself. Sourdough bread gets its distinctive flavor from fermentation, which also produces big air bubbles that result in those classic holes in the bread. I want to see some holes! The bread itself should also have some tang and chew. Often, store bought sourdough is very dry and mealy. I don’t want that.
The best sourdough bread is perfect for toast and great for a sandwich and perfect for cubing up to use in stuffing. And while, yes, the best sourdough bread comes from a bakery, you can get some pretty great stuff at the grocery store. Here’s the best store bought sour bread we tried.
- Izzio San Francisco Style Sourdough
While this extremely long loaf of sourdough bread (it’s as long as my forearm) is a bit crumbly straight out of the bag, it makes a great piece of toast. There are nice air pockets in the bread and it has a good, doughy chew with a slightly sour flavor. If you’re serving breakfast to a crowd, this is the best sourdough bread for the job.
Credit: Merc / Instacart
- Trader Joe’s Sourdough
Though it’s not the best Trader Joe’s bread, this sourdough is way up there. It’s actually tangy and yeasty. The air pockets are present. The crust is thin but tart. To me, this is the best sourdough bread to toast up for avocado toast. The bread is sliced thin, so it toasts up crispy and crunchy. And the slices are large and wide, so you can really slather on the avo. Plus, it’s TJ’s so it’s cheap!
Credit: Liv Averett
- Sprouts San Francisco Style Sourdough
Sprouts’ bakery sourdough has a crisp crust (it’s not quite as crunchy as fresh-baked sourdough, but it’s great for a store bought loaf) and delightfully chewy, doughy innards. If you popped this loaf in the oven to add a bit more crunch and warmth, you might be able to convince people you went to a bakery to buy it.
Credit: Merc / Instacart
- San Luis Sourdough
This bread is the best sliced sourdough we tried. It has such a great, tasty tang! The crust is chewy and slick and extra sour. The bread itself is a little dry, but that’s nothing a swipe of mustard and mayo can’t solve. Use this to make sandwiches. It will actually add flavor to your sandwich.
Credit: Merc / Target
- La Brea Bakery Country White Sourdough
Okay, here’s the deal, La Brea Bakery started in Los Angeles (where Sporked is based) and it isn’t super available nationwide (although there is a La Brea Bakery in JFK and in the Reno airport, so it does have a presence outside of the Southlands). But it was the best store bought sourdough bread we tried, hands down. It’s worth seeking out, even if that means detouring through JFK just to pick up a loaf. It has the perfect stretchy, bubbly crust with a lovely tang and really nice slickness. The insides are doughy and squishy and still tangy. And at $5.99, it’s pretty cheap for a bakery-style sourdough loaf. If you’re in SoCal, you can find it at the grocery store. If you’re not in L.A., you can sometimes find it on Amazon. (Check out the where to buy function on La Brea’s website.) Happy hunting—or happy opting for one of the other picks on this list.
Credit: Merc / Ralphs
Best for a Crowd
Best for Avocado Toast
Best Store Bakery
Best for Sandwiches
Best of the Best
Other sourdough bread brands we tried: Essential Baking Company Take and Bake Sourdough Loaf, Sprouts Take and Bake, Francisco International Extra Sourdough Sliced Bread, Great Value Sourdough Bread, The Rustik Oven Sourdough Bread, Nature’s Own Perfectly Crafted Thick Sliced Sourdough, Backerhaus Signature Sourdough Loaf