Taste Test Thursday: Pumpkin Bread

Which gourd-infused bread is the best?

A handful of D Magazine staffers tasted a variety of pumpkin bread. Here’s what happened.

The bread:
A. Whole Foods
B. Empire Baking Company
C. Starbucks
D. eatZi’s
E. Central Market

Tasting notes:

IMG_6873 copyWhole Foods

  • Kind of bland but I like the texture.
  • Love the look of the pumpkin seeds. Love the crunch but I wish it was a little sweeter.
  • A little ginger, a little sugar. Tastes like October.
  • Subtle pumpkin flavor and not enough spice. But I like the crunch on top.
  • Gingerbread-y, not much flavor. Blah. Dry.
  • Mild flavor, but good.
  • A little dry, but the pumpkin seeds on top are a nice touch.
  • I love the crunchiness of the pumpkin seeds on top and that streusel. It’s gently spicy and not too sweet. I wish it were just a touch less dry.
  • Light on flavor but in a good way. Not too much pumpkin, a little dry though.
  • Not overwhelmingly pumpkin-y. It’s actually not even that pumpkin-y. But it’s moist and good and I’d eat the whole thing if no one judged me.
  • The seeds are a nice touch, giving it a good texture.

IMG_6884 copyEmpire Baking Company

  • Not sweet enough.
  • There’s a little something in this one that takes away from the pumpkin flavor. Not sure what I’m tasting.
  • The most dense of the bunch. Instant images of the gingerbread man and grandma’s house.
  • Too dry and not flavorful enough.
  • OK, not great.
  • Soft texture. Can feel the spice in my nose. Pretty dry.
  • OK, perfectly average.
  • The texture is odd, almost gummy. Not a fan.
  • Tastes almost a little smoky. Which doesn’t fit.
  • It’s so dense, but again, not a lot of pumpkin. More pumpkin!
  • Sturdy and simple. The hardly humble work horse of a pumpkin bread.

IMG_6912Starbucks

  • Extremely soft. Kind of too mushy. Tastes like fake pumpkin.
  • This one is super pumpkin-y! The taste lingers and I don’t hate it.
  • Like ooey-gooey cake, but pumpkin flavored. Super moist and pumpkin-y.
  • Moist, soft with a good seedy topping. But almost too sweet.
  • Like the pumpkin seeds on crust, nice fall flavor.
  • Very moist. Almost mushy.
  • Nice and moist. A little mushy.
  • It has that squishy, super-moist consistency that some people love. It reminds me of batter.
  • Very good flavor. Uber-moist, but in a stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth kind of way. A little heavy, too.
  • I love how moist it is. It’s so moist and awesome, in fact, that I almost forgot that it doesn’t taste that pumpkin-y. Give me the pumpkin!
  • Moist and also rocking the seeds. A good combo.

IMG_6903 copyeatZi’s

  • I like the addition of the cream cheese. Not so much the cinnamon sugar on the crust.
  • I saw the cream cheese filling and was pumped, it really added something extra to the bread.
  • Cream cheese is a nice touch, sugary crust is even better.
  • Whoa, I love the cream cheese filling. Interesting remix.
  • Cream cheese filling is so delish. I could eat this all day.
  • Love the cheese in this one!
  • I hate crunchy sugar in my teeth.
  • The cream cheese in the center is fun and the cake is moist.
  • Sugar and crumb topping makes this one stand out. Tastes like dessert. Very gummy, but maybe a little too sweet.
  • I mean, I like the cream cheese filling but is that all I like? Is this filling just a tasty distraction from the mediocre surroundings?
  • The cream cheese feels a little like cheating, but all is fair in love and pumpkin bread.

IMG_6908Central Market

  • I don’t really like nuts in general, but this is good.
  • So nutty! Too nutty, but blend is good. The nuts just overpower.
  • Meh.
  • Good amount of spice and pumpkin flavor. Walnuts are a great topping.
  • Walnuts are a great addition, yum.
  • The nuttiest one. Gives it a totally different texture than the others.
  • Best balance of any of them. Moist, nice texture from the nuts.
  • It falls apart but with those walnuts and great balance of spices it’s so cozy and comforting.
  • Bonus points for the nuts. Adds the perfect amount of flavor. My favorite!
  • I like this one. It’s got texture. It’s got a mild amount of pumpkin. Maybe my over consumption of pumpkin spice lattes has made me jaded. Maybe nothing will every be pumpkin-y enough for me!
  • I would eat this three times a day even if it turned me orange and made my hair fall out. I have no reason to believe it does that. Delicious.

Tally up:

Whole Foods 0
Empire Baking Company 0
Starbucks 0
eatZi’s 5
Central Market 6

The winner is:

Central Market’s overly nutty rendition of pumpkin bread was the winner of this week’s taste test challenge. So how do you feel about pumpkin bread? Do you have a favorite? Let’s talk about it.

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