What do people mean when they say "American bread is sweet"?

I’ve seen people both on this board and elsewhere comment that "American bread is sweet " but I’ve never known exactly what they mean. Are they talking about Wonder bread/other supermarket white breads - which in my opinion is terrible bread, but I wouldn’t call them sweet. Are they talking about things like banana nut bread or cornbread - which are fairly sweet, but they are more of a *Viennoiserie ** than bread. Does Tuscan bread in the US add sugar to replace the missing salt? Is it something else I haven’t thought of?

Please help- it’s been driving me crazy for years.

  • a baked good that is somewhere between bread and pastry - it contains ingredients like milk, eggs, butter and/or sugar. Examples are brioche, croissants ,danishes

They are talking about terrible mass market white bread like Wonder Bread. Mass market white bread has a fair bit of sugar added and does taste sweeter than a bread made from just yeast, flour, and salt. It tastes to me almost as sweet as a central European holiday bread, like the Czech Vánočka.

A while ago I inherited a copy of “Beard on Bread” by James Beard. I found it appalling how much sugar he added to every recipe. Maybe his influence on American breads and the perception thereof is greater than expected.

Two slices of Wonder Bread have more sugars than half a baguette.

They mean it is actually sweet. Like, yes, Wonderbread and those types of bread. Those taste sweet to me. Mind you, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but they absolutely are on the sweet side. Not dessert sweet, but sweet. Whole wheat breads, too. Basically, much of the standard “toast” breads are what I would call sweet. When I go for toast bread, I tend to buy the “Italian” style for this reason, as it is usually less sweet than the white variety.

Yeah, I want to like the Dave’s Breads, but they all taste too sweet to me.

If your cornbread is sweet, you’re doing it wrong.

Yeah, sugar in bread messes me up, bad. T1 diabetic and I love bread. Alas, I cannot really eat much of it, though. Diet bread is bad, bad. :frowning:

Russian supermarkets sell a brand of “American sandwich bread” which is not only very sweet but spongy as well. You might use it for making baloney and mayo sandwiches like you had as a kid, but not much else.

Thank you, everyone!
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In re toasting: When you toast bread, you’re actually browning the sugars it contains. Because of the refined sugar in spongy mass market brands, they brown too much for my taste. In some cases, I find I’m biting through a fairly thick crust into a chewy, sweet mass in the middle.

I don’t like mine sweet, but I’m not going to tell people they’re wrong if they prefer a different flavor than I do, particularly when it’s the norm for one region or another.

Sure — if you want sweet cornbread, have a buttered corn muffin with your morning coffee.

But if you’re making a pot of soup beans with bacon, or a mess of greens, or pan frying a chicken, sweet cornbread is NOT the thing.

Mr.Wrekker likes sweet corn bread. The recipe he prefers is nearly cake like and eggy. I don’t really care for it. But it’s how his Mom used to make it. To each his own.

  1. Corn bread is its own thing, separate from “normal” bread.

  2. One person’s corn bread is its own thing, separate from another person’s corn bread. :slight_smile:

Or baking a cake.

My favorite cornbread recipe has 6 ingredients - yellow cornmeal, baking soda, salt, buttermilk, egg and vegetable oil, baked in a cast iron skillet with butter melted in it before adding the batter.

No sugar and no flour either.

Part of the corn bread controversy is certainly regional, but I think part is also what other foods people normally eat their cornbread with. (Obviously, those two overlap.)

Both of those. On one hand, about any American version of a recipe is likely to have surprising amounts of sugar (either added as white sugar or in other forms) and to taste sweet to people less used to sugar; this includes making white bread which is sweeter than the white bread in other places (in some of which it’s also not what people think of if you just say “bread”). And then there are a lot of things which you call bread but which in other places would be called “cakes”, such as banana bread.

Cornmeal is a type of flour and, like every other type of flour, partially hydrolizes into smaller sugars when cooking.

I’ve tasted white bread that it sweet–usually a fancy kind or homemade–but I wouldn’t say all of it is.

While not restricted to the US and also an issue in the UK often a lot of “whole grain” breads have added sweeteners as many modern consumers do not like the more bitter taste.

While still the same parent company as “wonder bread”, You will see that Nature’s Own Whole Wheat has Maltitol as the third ingredient.


Oroweat has sugar as #3 too https://www.oroweat.com/products/sliced-breads/whole-grains/100-whole-wheat

The soft brown crust and flavor also require some sugars, but when I do my own wheat I only need to add 1 Tbl of sugar which is less than the added salt but it will be harder crust and inside.

Note that even the light “rye” from the above company has more yeast then Sugar but is also called “firm” and 1/3 of the total sugars.

I don’t remember corn bread being a big thing in Minnesota, but over the years I’ve come to pair it mainly with Southwestern dishes (especially chili) and Thanksgiving dinner, either as part of the turkey stuffing or on its own with butter and maybe some honey.

I suppose if I started doing a lot of Southern cooking I’d pair it with dishes there, too.