I wonder whether it is possible to know if a bread is whole grain, without looking the label (since sometimes I don't have it, e.g., restaurant).

Color can give a hint:

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but is not always reliable.

  • I bake a lot and I wouldn't dare to declare something "whole grain" except for a few select types like pumpernickel. Everything looking more "generic bread-ish" is basically impossible to classify on taste or texture alone.
    – Stephie
    Feb 28, 2016 at 22:09
  • If you can't tell, what does it matter?
    – JDługosz
    Mar 31, 2016 at 12:40
  • @JDługosz I prefer whole grain. Mar 31, 2016 at 14:40
  • But you said you can't distinguish it! "How do I know if this is more flavorful and delicious?" Is a self-answering question if it's meaningful at all.
    – JDługosz
    Mar 31, 2016 at 17:22
  • @JDługosz I prefer whole grain from a nutritional standpoint. I cannot make a difference by taste. Mar 31, 2016 at 17:27

2 Answers 2


You can always ask the person selling the bread. It is best to look at the label as the colors can be misleading.

  • 1
    I agree; I can make bread that looks like whole grain but doesn't meet the FDA definitions (or, most likely, those of other countries). If the bread has no label, the seller can effectively tell you anything, so there's no way to be sure. Even pumpernickel can have 50% white flour, and color (especially for dark rye breads) is often added by adding coffee.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Mar 2, 2016 at 20:16
  • Sure, label or vendor is a good source, but what if I don't have access to it? Mar 20, 2016 at 20:38

In this case that bread is not whole grain, in general whole grain bread is darker. Also whole grain bread is not as soft as white bread.

  • 1
    While generally true, that is not the case for specialty flours which can be bleached and extremely finely ground. Mar 30, 2016 at 18:59

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