Friday, July 2, 2010

A Brutally Honest Review: Dempster’s Oven Fresh Bread

Hola Bloggies:

I’ve missed all of you!!!!! Seriously, it’s been a crazy busy week and I’ve had so much to tell you peeps but no time to do it in. But no worries – I’m back! smile_regular

This week you can look forward to some clean eats and workout recaps, my epic Ironman CDA re-cap (life altering – seriously), some product reviews, a giveaway, and the start of my half marathon training. That’s right – this Toronto Girl out West is going to run herself a Half-Mary in Long Beach this October, 17th!!!

Am I excited!?!? UH HUH! I’m looking forward to pushing myself and seeing just how I handle that bad boy. Who knows, maybe it will be the beginning of a long distance running love affair. Toronto Girl Runs Far. Has a ring to it, doesn’t it!? Ha! Loves.


A Brutally Honest Review

A seriously long time ago Some time ago the friendly people at Dempster’s were good enough to send me a package loaded full of bread. I took one look at the very generous package sent by the company and knew I just had to share! So I took half of what was sent to me (2 multigrain baguettes and 2 white baguettes) and passed them on to a co-worker to review. But more on that later.

OvenFresh Multigrain BaguettesOvenFresh White Baguettes

Dempster's is a totally familiar brand to most Canadians. It’s basically the Wonder Bread equivalent for Canadians. Recently, they decided to launch a line of partially baked breads (OvenFresh). I know I’ve bought similar products in the past but they always had to be refrigerated. Not so with the OvenFresh variety – they come vacuum packed and are sold in the bread aisle. No refrigeration needed. I consider that a definite bonus as it makes it easier to transport the bread.

Whole Wheat Baguette Slices White Baguette Slices

Cooking the product is pretty easy. You pop it in the oven for eight minutes and it’s done. Easy peasy.

Now as a healthy living blogger you know I checked the nutritional stats. Half a multigrain baguette has 160 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 340 grams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, and 7 grams of protein. The ingredient list for the multigrain baguettes includes enriched wheat flour, whole wheat flour, sunflower seeds, millet, and sodium steardyl-2-lactylate.

By contrast, half a white baguette has 180 calories, 2 grams of fat, 390 grams of sodium, 34 grams of carbohydrates, and 6 grams of protein. The ingredient list for the white baguette includes enriched wheat flour (no whole wheat flour this time), malted barley flour, natural and artificial flavours, and modified wheat starch.

To test the white baguette I made one of the recipes that came with my media package. Specifically, the Garlic Bread with Asiago Cheese.

Garlic Bread with Asiago Cheese

1 Clove garlic, minced

2 tbsp soft butter

1 tbsp chopped chives

1 tbsp chopped oil packed sun-dried tomatoes

1 Dempster’s OvenFresh White or Multigrain Baguette

1/4 cup crumbled asiago cheese



If you’re paying attention you’ll notice that I substituted the butter with Earth Balance and managed to forget the chives. Ooops! I added some dried herbs at the end instead.

While the oven preheated to 400F I combined the garlic, Earth Balance, herbs, and sundried tomatoes in a bowl.


I then cut vertical slits in the baguette almost to the bottom. After placing the baguette on the baking sheet I spooned the “butter” mixture over the top of the bread making sure to get the mixture in between each of the cuts.


Afterwards I topped the baguette with Asiago cheese. Yum! I then popped the bread in the oven for eight minutes until the cheese looked all melty and happy happy happy!




I cooked up this recipe while the fiancé's parents and nephew were visiting and they declared it an absolute hit. The “butter” and cheese made the bread soft and delicious. And the Asiago lent it a sophisticated flavour. It would have been even better had I used fresh herbs. Next time.

To test the multigrain bread I made sandwiches. They were good and went over really well with everyone that ate them. I liked how the bread was warm after being in the oven. It made if feel “fresh.” Unfortunately, it also seemed to cool down fairly quickly. This was likely due to a combination of the fillings and the fact that you weren’t actually baking the bread.

As for my co-worker, she packed her baguettes and took them to feed her nieces and nephews during a family ski trip. The bread was a hit with that group as well! Mostly because it allowed them to have oven fresh bread without having to worry about baking it or buying a new baguette everyday.

Now for the bottom line . . .

Would I recommend this product? I have mixed feelings.

Hear me out. I love how the bread is long lasting without needing refrigeration. I love how you can bake it up for that oven fresh taste. I love how it is much more convenient than baking your own or heading to the store. I love how it’s definitely a step-up in flavour and texture from your average grocery store product. And the garlic bread recipe was delicious but I don’t think you can really go wrong adding cheese, “butter”, and garlic to bread. It’s basically a guaranteed win – so I can’t let that be the deciding factor.

Truth be told it was the ingredient list that caused me the greatest concern. Sure the nutritional stats were good but that means nothing if I can’t pronounce some of the stuff they put in the bread. I would still be willing to overlook that if only both products hadn’t chosen to use enriched wheat flour. The problem lies in the fact that enriched flour is basically flour stripped of it’s nutritional goodness and reduced to an extremely simple carbohydrate form. They then add some of the good stuff they took out back in, thereby making it “enriched.” You may as well be eating plain white flour which is okay if that’s what you’re looking for but if you’re trying to eat complex carbohydrates it’s not the greatest of choices.

I guess what I’m saying is you have to take the product for what it is. A quick and easy way to have oven fresh bread at home. Your kids will love it and if you make the garlic bread recipe you’ll love it too. Just please, don’t think it’s uber healthy. A nutritional powerhouse it is not.

I frankly won’t be buying this product again. But at least if you consider buying it, you now have my brutally honest review.


Anonymous said...

Great review! Those loaves sound like they would be perfect for a party or get together but I wouldn't buy them for every day usage.

Cant wait to hear about your half marathon training, sounds awesome!

A Toronto girl out West said...


That's a really good way of putting it! In a pinch and for a really specific purpose they would be brilliant. But you're right - it won't be my go-to bread either.

But then again I try to avoid having a go-to bread at all. Mostly 'cause I wouldn't stop going to it! lol

Kelsey said...

i always appreciate a real honest review! wow yea i get what u mean. i havent tried these baguetter but i can appreciate them for looking real good. its a hard seel for some people. i think its also bread in general.. people have that one brand they really like and they have a hard time with a lot of the regulars.. especially if ur really into rustic or super grainy and seedy health breads.. then dempsters wouldnt compete to them. i grew up on dempsters tho :P

xoxo <3

MirandaJayne said...

Great review. I love your honesty. Also love your garlic bread and asiago recipe. That no doubt will be a hit at lots of parties when I need to bring something with me.

Anonymous said...

Great review. I will stay away from that bread when I go to Canada :)

A Toronto girl out West said...


You're right! Everyone looks for something different in a bread. I personally love crusty breads cooked in a French style. Although I'm not one to turn down a beautiful focaccia either! :oP

A Toronto girl out West said...


It is a yummy recipe! I highly recommend it!!! You could even add little pieces of ham if you wanted to make it more meal like.

A Toronto girl out West said...


Glad you enjoyed the review!

Anonymous said...

I love that your review is SO honest! I'm from Toronto (although I'm in L.A. now) and I remember Dempster!

Oh, and I just have to say that my dad's office is in the ICB Bank building in Long crazy that you are going to be doing that run!

A Toronto girl out West said...


Yeah I tried to be honest. I don't expect the Dempster's people will be sending me any more products after this but people trust reviews from bloggers. It wouldn't be right to be anything but 100% honest.