CAPSULE REVIEW: Even before the USDA organic certification standards were finalized, Rudi’s Organic Bakery in Boulder, Colorado was baking organic breads for the community. Today, a large line of breads, both organic and certified kosher, is available at supermarkets nationwide. It’s easy to get more whole grain into your diet (the USDA recommends 3 to 5 servings a day), just by switching to these delicious breads, hamburger and hot dog buns, English muffins and tortillas.
A couple of months ago, we were wandering through the fall show of the largest natural products exposition, surrounded by foods of every description. Seafood, meat, pastas, cheeses, teas, coffees, chocolates all were at our disposal. Yet, one of the things we remember most endearingly was a piece of buttered toast from Rudi’s. It made us think that people should pay more attention to their daily bread. While not every loaf will be an artisan sourdough from La Brea Bakery, a good commercial baker like Rudi’s is delivering whole grain, organic bread to supermarkets nationwide.
In 1976, Rudi’s began selling breads and other baked goods in a tiny shop in Boulder, Colorado. In 1991, the bakery began using organic ingredients and in 1998, decided to participate in the national organic certification program; in 2001, the company changed its name to Rudi’s Organic Bakery. All products contain between 95% to 100% organic ingredients and carry the USDA certified organic seal (read more about levels of organic certification). Aside from no artificial ingredients, preservatives, trans fats, or high-fructose corn syrup, the breads are made without peanuts, peanut oil or tree nuts, and are dairy-free and egg-free. The fat used is an organic, high-oleic, expeller-pressed sunflower oil which is cold-pressed without the use of chemical solvents.
A Large Basketful Of Breads
Rudi’s bakes breads a wide variety of buns, rolls and tortillas—so much that you need a scorecard to keep track of the product line. There is something for everyone, and all of it is good. Whole grain seekers will find lots of choices, as will spelt-seekers. Some people eat spelt because they tolerate it better than wheat. But in addition to being a whole grain, it is a delicious grain in of itself: We encourage you to try it. (See our list of whole grains below.)
8 Sandwich Breads: 100% Whole Wheat, Cinnamon Raisin, Colorado Cracked Wheat, Country Morning White (potato and wheat flours), Honey Sweet Whole Wheat, Jewish Light Rye, Multigrain Oat and Rocky Mountain Sourdough
4 Whole Grain & Fiber Breads: 14 Grain, 7 Grain With Flax, Apple ‘N’ Spice, Wheat and Oat
2 Spelt Breads: Spelt and Spelt Ancient Grain (with sesame, sunflower and flaxseed)
4 Artisan Breads: Country French, European Multigrain, Rosemary Olive Oil, Tuscan Roasted Garlic
We enjoyed smoked salmon on the regular
Sandwich, Whole Grain and Spelt breads as
well as on the Artisan Breads.
1 Low Carb Bread: Right Choice
3 English Muffin Varieties: Multigrain With Flax, Spelt, Whole Grain Wheat
7 Hot Dog Bun and Hamburger Bun Varieties: Organic Wheat, White, Whole Wheat, Spelt
Rosemary Olive Oil Bread from the Artisan Bread series.
At the same time the Rudi’s breads arrived, we received a gift of Jarlsberg® cheese. It reminded us how much we enjoy Jarlsberg, the most famous cheese of Norway. A “Baby Swiss” (it’s not made in enormous wheels like Swiss mountain cheeses), it is an Emmental-style cheese with large “eyes.” We like that it is a sweeter, rounder cheese, without Emmental’s sharper bite—from sweeter Norwegian milk, perhaps? It paired deliciously with Rudi’s breads:
We enjoyed many a Jarlsberg sandwich on Rudi’s: ham and cheese, grilled cheese with tomato, and an adaptation of Croque Monsieur and Croque Madame*, using standard whole grain varieties as well as the sweeter breads, like Cinnamon Raisin and Apple ‘N’ Spice.
In keeping with our health theme, there’s also a low-fat Jarlsberg that comes in sandwich slices and is a convenience for people who want the calcium with less fat.
*Generally served on a baguette, Croque Monsieur is a grilled ham and gruyère sandwich, Croque Madame is chicken and cheese; although some Croques Madame are simply the addition of a fried egg to the Croque Monsieur. James Beard is credited to adding Dijon mustard to the sandwich. Daniel Boulud makes his with poached salmon. An inexpensive and fast food in France, the sandwiches were long the equivalent meal for students that the burger is in the U.S.
We also enjoyed Rudi’s with these daily basics:
Peanut Butter. Trying to get more whole grain and fiber into our diet, we tried Apple ‘N’ Spice with peanut butter sandwiches. Not only was it delicious: The sweetness baked into the bread meant we didn’t need to add jelly. Calories saved—and without jelly, there was more enjoyment of the flavor of the delicious P.B. Loco peanut butters and the bread.
French Toast. Apple ‘N’ Spice French Toast is different from what we were used to, but different good. We won’t give up challah French toast, but we really like this as an alternative. The flavors are much more complex, and the sweetness in the bread meant that much less maple syrup was needed to sweeten the dish.
Whole Wheat English Muffins and Hamburger Buns. Yum!
There are additional recipes and serving suggestions on the company website.
It’s really easy to add whole grains to your diet, just by switching breads. And, as we found, we loved the taste of these whole grain breads even more than the refined, higher-end breads we had been eating.
Whole Grains: Good For You
Whole grain foods are not refined: The bran, endosperm and the germ are intact. They retain beneficial nutrients that can help lower risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines, released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2005, recommend that Americans consume at least half of their grain servings as whole grains. That means 3 to 5 servings of whole grains per day, with one serving equating to:
1 slice of whole grain bread
½ whole grain English muffin
½ cup cooked oatmeal
½ cup cooked whole wheat pasta
½ cup cooked brown rice, bulgur, barley, or other cooked whole grain
2 cups cooked popcorn
Whole grains include amaranth, barley, bulgur, corn, millet, oats, rice, spelt, quinoa, wheat and others. Look for products that list whole wheat flour as the first ingredient or have “whole grain” attached to the first ingredient listed on the package label, for example, “whole oats.” Or, look for the Whole Grain Stamp developed by the Whole Grains Council.
The stamp is on each bag of Rudi’s bread—an easy reminder to get your three servings a day.
RUDI’s ORGANIC BAKERY
Artisan Breads, Buns, Fiber Breads, Low Carb Bread, Sandwich Breads, Spelt Breads and Tortillas
Certified organic by USDA & QAI
Certified kosher (parve) by Star K