Fresh Bread vs. Good Bread

Mike Industries Poll

Which is a tastier bread, in general?


Mike Industries Poll

Which sub sandwich joint is tastier?


Today in the office, we had one of our recurring disagreements about what the most important element of bread is: freshness or “goodness”. In other words, would you rather eat bread that would be judged of Grade C based on ingredients and preparation but came out of the oven within the last hour or two, or bread that would be judged of Grade A based on ingredients and preparation but came out of the oven more like 24 hours ago?

The fresh vs. quality debate arose from another recurring office disagreement about Quiznos vs. Subway. Some have argued that Subway is better because its bread is fresher, while others have argued that Quiznos is better because its bread is of higher quality (both statements, you may of course disagree with).

To help settle these two arguments, please vote in the polls to the right, and leave any brilliant additional insights in the comments below.

34 comments on “Fresh Bread vs. Good Bread”. Leave your own?
  1. Nic Barajas says:

    Jimmy John’s is superior to them both. Fresh bread and higher quality. (God I wish there was one in New York City.)

  2. Mike D. says:

    Nic: I agree. I had Jimmy John’s for the first time while at Northwestern last winter. Really good stuff, but kind of doughy bread. I don’t think they have them in Seattle either unfortunately. Although I keep seeing commercials for them.

  3. Aaron Egaas says:

    Mike, There’s a Jimmy John’s in the U District, and downtown on something near 3rd and Union.

  4. David says:

    Y’know, since my Quizno’s sub always gets run through the toaster oven, bread freshness isn’t too much of an issue there. Of the two, I prefer Quizno’s because of what’s between the bread. I actually have Subway more often though, because it’s ubiquitous. And I don’t mind a Subway sammy by any means.

    But yeah, Jimmy John’s beats both. I work in downtown Seattle, so I’ll have to scour the 3rd & Union area for Aaron’s spot…

  5. Calichef says:

    I don’t understand how anyone could prefer Subway. I mean, chopped formed “meat” substances and processed cheese “food?” If you have to tell people it’s food, they probably shouldn’t eat it.

  6. Brad says:

    Quizno’s is not in the same league as Subway. First, the toasting method at Quizno’s never fully warms the sandwich. It’s always cold in the middle. Second, when you order a sandwich they ask you if you want what comes on the sandwich. In other words, they ask you if you want what you just ordered. If you don’t realize that food other than meat and bread comes with a sandwich, you deserve to learn the hard way. And lastly, almost everything has bacon on it. Not everyone wants bacon on their sandwiches and in their soup.

  7. Evan M says:

    Subway is absolutely terrible. Period. And while their bread may be fresh, it’s not good at all — and their quality of meat and condiments are beyond inedible.

    I’d rather pay $7.50 or whatever verses Subway’s $5 (for a footlong) any day. Can’t force that crap in my mouth if you paid me.

  8. David says:

    Quizno’s not in the same league as Subway?! Remind me never to eat at your house, Brad.

    And believe me, I get asked about what I want on my sandwich every single visit to Subway. Mayonnaise and mustard? Just Mayo. Lettuce? Yes. Tomato? Yes. Etc.

  9. Mike D. says:

    Aaron: Good tip on the JimmyJohns in Seattle. The GF IM’d me right after I posted this saying the same thing. Will have to check it out.

    David and Calichef: I agree. Unless a sub sandwich company decides to use delicious baguette bread like they do in France, toasting is an absolute must for me, and that is one of the reasons I prefer Quiznos.

    Evan: I agree. What you said is exactly the crux of my argument against Subway. I don’t *care* if what you serve me just came out of the oven if it was crap before it even went into the oven. Also, in our last Subway vs. Quiznos intraoffice experiment performed about a year ago, we actually produced only one finding that everyone agreed on: Subway and Quiznos are actually the same price, all things considered. We all thought Quiznos was more expensive going into it, but the results proved out that on average, the prices are actually more or less equivalent. Some sandwiches are cheaper at Subway and some are cheaper at Quiznos.

  10. Emily says:

    I don’t know what Quizno’s Brad is going to, but I have never had those experiences. They always ask me if I want the extra stuff (lettuce, onions, tomato) that come on a sandwich (or they used to before the guy figured out that I order the same thing every time), the sandwich is always toasted through, and I don’t have bacon on my sandwich.

    One presumes that when they ask Brad if he wants bacon on the sandwich he just ordered, he could say no.

    Subway’s bread has never impressed me, and the rest of what they do is atrocious. Has anyone ever gotten a vegetarian there? Yeah. They put cheese and then all the vegetables, and they seem to not be clear on the idea that if that’s ALL that is on the sandwich, there should probably be more than if there is also meat on it.

  11. neil says:

    I think the whole point here is to actually *watch* how Subway and Quizno’s prepares your food. Almost every time I’ve been to Subway they’ve completely manhandled my food with what seems to be a complete disregard for the fact that, hey, I’m going to be putting that INTO MY MOUTH in a few minutes.

    Quizno’s seems to have a least a little more deference, but if I could choose I’d rather eat at home.

  12. Almost every time I’ve been to Subway they’ve completely manhandled my food with what seems to be a complete disregard for the fact that, hey, I’m going to be putting that INTO MY MOUTH in a few minutes.

    You know there was always something unsettling about going to Subway, and that is exactly it.

    Although I don’t really like Quizno’s, but for different reasons.

  13. Dave F says:

    In Illinois Jimmy John’s was a main staple in college. When I moved to Raleigh, NC late in 02 the only Jimmy John’s was in Durham… so I really had to be jonesin’ to make the trip spontaneously… which did occur surprisingly often. Now there are like 3 in Raleigh all with 5-10 min away… so it’s easy to get a quick fix.

    And just to weigh in… Jersey Mike’s, Jimmy John’s, Quizno’s and Penn Station are all on my list before Subway… and there are a couple mom and pop shops around too that kick all their arses…

    I like to support the non-chains whenever possible… especially when they’re doing it right.

  14. Benjy says:

    I’m one of those who’d take average freshness, good bread over fresh, average bread any day. While there are few things better than fresh bread, I’d rather have the crustier, chewier texture than a warm sponge–which is what things like Subway remind me of.

    I’m not at all a fan of Subway. Used to like Quizno’s but I’ve soured a bit on them, as well — quality seems to decline as they’ve expanded in recent years. I’ve detested Jimmy Johns since we used to get them for our weekly dept. meetings at my previous job, and they were always slimey and soggy — but maybe that’s just delivery? The one sub chain I liked was Blimpie, but while I had one across the street back in my Atlanta days, I’ve yet to come across any in Chicago (I think there are a few hidden in office food courts or something).

  15. Harrison says:

    ever since i started eating quiznos, i cannot eat subway anymore, the freshness of bread doesn’t make up for the shit quality of the contents they put inside the bread.

  16. David Robarts says:

    As far as Subway’s Veggie Delight, they are supposed to double the cheese used as compared to a sandwich with meat. Subway is not very consistent, so it depends on how good the one near you is. I haven’t noticed as much inconsistency at Quiznos, but it sounds like others have experienced it. I agree that the freshness of toasted bread is not as important; however, Subway’s bread is rarely fresh enough to make up for quality. The sourdough at Subway is horrible, but the other breads are okay. When I’m looking for a cheap lunch, a Subway that I’ve tried before is always an option I’ll consider, but Quizno’s is worth a little more if it is also available.

  17. Patrick Shaw says:

    Funny – there is a subway and a Quiznos in walking distance from my office – and my team has voted with their feet, and it is NEITHER!

    Consequently – no real opinion here about those two vendors. I would say, though – that for the price – I can find better/speedier/tastier/fresher at almost any local non chain related store – and that’s where I go.

  18. Andrew says:

    Well I get my sandwiches from a local bakery, thus getting fresh bread, a freshly made sandwich, local rather than chain store service (they know me and my order), and I also support the local economy.

    With that on offer it would seem to be madness to go near a Subway.

  19. Jason says:

    One thing I’ve noticed between the two is hit or miss days. Same is true with one I like more than Subway or Quiznos – Big Town Hero. With all three, I’ve had days where the bread was super fresh and good, and other days where it seemed almost stale.

  20. Brian Ford says:

    First and foremost, I can’t go to Quiznos and order a…

    Footlong Roasted Chicken Breast on Wheat with Lettuce, Cucumbers and Green Peppers, Spicy Mustard, Mayonnaise, Salt & Pepper and Oil & Vinegar

    …?

    Hrm. No? Therefore, it can’t compete with Subway.

    Second, and less importantly, doesn’t Quiznos send all their bread through that crisper oven, which makes it all dry?

    Plus, Quiznos takes *forever* if there’s a line of any size at all. And their selection of condiments / ordering strategy is confusing, which is probably why their lines run so slowly.

  21. Brian Ford says:

    Oh.

    FWIW, I’ll take Jimmy John’s over either of them as well. I always get their wheat bread instead of their French Bread though, and I always order the #12, which has avocado on it, which isn’t available on any sandwich at Subway *or* Quiznos, which is a sin.

    Mr. Goodcents is pretty good, as well.

    For those complaining about how your food is handled at Subway – you should probably just accept that what happens to the food *at any fast food restaurant staffed by high school kids* while you’re not watching is going to make your stomach turn. Just pretend otherwise, and enjoy.

  22. Pete says:

    There used (still is I guess) to be a chain in MN called Cousin’s (http://www.cousinssubs.com/menu/) which I recall having very good Italian hoagies, much superior to Subway. They used to have a store convenient to me, but it closed up, so maybe I’m just experiencing fond memories. I do have a Jimmy Johns close by, they are tasty and good for a quick lunch fix, but I always seem to get hungry again about an hour after finishing one of their sandwiches (Chinese food syndrome?).

    The thing I’ve always disliked about Subway, other than the sub-par ingredients, is that if you don’t give specific instructions to your ‘sandwich artist’, they will slather everything with Mayo from top to bottom. Not spread it on the bread, but poop it out from one of their ubiquitous condiment bottles. I suspect they may be a subsidiary of Hellman’s.

    But I agree with others who’ve said, if I can find a local mom-n-pop type place, I much prefer that option.

  23. Pete says:

    Oh yeah, these days if I have to choose a fast-food type option I’m a big fan of Culver’s (http://www.culvers.com/)

  24. sc8tty says:

    Quiznos has the best condiment bar in the history of condiment bars, and their sammies are much tastier. It’s not even close.

    Subway is pretty fresh but the ingredients are not high quality.

  25. Jeff says:

    Subway and Quiznos both make lousy sandwiches.

    $5 for that Subway sandwich seems like a ripoff. For forty-nine cents more, I can go to a real deli across the street from them, get better service and a better sandwich.

    When I was a kid, we used to go to a little italian deli that made subs with the fresh baked italian bread from the bakery right next door. Haven’t had a sandwich like that since. Finest deli meat and super quality FRESH baked bread.

    We still go out of our way to get fresh baked breadand italian cookies from one of the finest bakeries in town: http://www.savoiapastry.com/ – They have been in business since 1929!

  26. Mikey P says:

    I submit that we all aspire to desire a higher quality bread with average freshness. However, I’m willing to lay down some cash to say that most of us would take hot, average quality bread slathered in butter or oil over room temperature, high quality bread. Not always, but most of the time.

    We don’t have Jimmy John’s here in central Florida, but you guys are making me hungry!

  27. Cousin Subs is still around is better than both Subway and Quiznos in quality.

  28. Brade says:

    Quizno’s is violently superior to Subway and for my money is always great, especially the chicken carbonara sub.

    As for Jimmy John’s, I tried it once, but it was pretty submarginal. Maybe I’ll try it again since everyone here’s got their panties in a wad about how glorious it is, but I think it’s inevitable that any internet argument will result in people choosing the “dark horse” candidate that’s not even part of the discussion.

    That being said, Jason’s Deli is superior to all.

  29. Steve L says:

    I’m both surprised and saddened that NOBODY has mentioned Firehouse Subs. I’m not sure if it’s their bread that makes the taste or what, but they are by far my favorite subs on the planet followed by Jimmy John’s then Quizno’s then Subway.

    I dunno if they have them in Seattle, but if you’re ever in Florida or Georgia Mike, you need to try Firehouse Subs.

  30. Brade says:

    Good call with Firehouse. The New York Steamer is the best pastrami sub in existence, and those are hard to come by.

  31. phototristan says:

    I’ve never liked Quizno’s. It’s something about the fact that the sandwich comes out hot on the outside but cold inside (as someone above mentioned) that seems strange.

    I like Subway but not any of their fancy breads, just their standard white or wheat. I agree that their sourdough bread tastes bad, sorta off or chemically or something.

    BTW, thanks for your recommendation of Trader Joe’s pizza. I agree, as frozen pizzas go and for the price, they cannot be beat!

    I used to buy the smaller ones and heard about 15 years ago that they were actually re-branded Wolfang Puck pizzas. But, I like the larger ‘made in Italy’ ones better.

  32. Chris Hester says:

    I’ve never heard of Quizno’s living in the UK so I can’t vote there. How do I see the results of other people’s votes though Mike? It’s inaccessible unless I vote! (I can see why, to stop people voting for the clear favourite.)

  33. Mike D. says:

    Benjy: Yes, “warm sponge” is the perfect description for Subway bread. My thoughts exactly.

    Chris: Yep, I was just thinking about that actually. I need to add a “View Results” button to the Mike Industries polling system.

  34. Sally says:

    Just had the 2nd half of a Subway Grilled Chicken Breast sandwich. Ate the first half yesterday. Bread was good yesterday, kinda ‘gooey’ or pasty today, but perhaps due to having gotten too much moisture from the lettuce, tomato, and olives.

    Much more of a problem is the ‘chicken breast’. It’s not real chicken breast, but instead is a chopped and formed piece made with some kind of filler. Does anyone know what’s really in it? The hot grill marks are ok, but what happens to the filler when too much heat is applied is odd – turns a shade of beige to deep caramel or even brownish.

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