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Article updated on June 12, 2024 at 2:06 PM PDT

This Fresh Bread and Pasta Subscription Is a Carb-Lovers Dream

I tried Wildgrain, the French-inspired bread and baked goods subscription that wants to change the way we carb.

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Written by 
Pamela Vachon
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Pamela Vachon Contributor
Pamela is a freelance food and travel writer based in Astoria, Queens. While she writes about most things edible and potable (and accessories dedicated to those topics,) her real areas of expertise are cheese, chocolate, cooking and wine. She's a culinary school grad, certified sommelier, former bartender and fine dining captain with 10 years in the industry. When not sitting at the keys, she leads in-home cheese classes, wine tastings and cocktail demonstrations.
Expertise Wine | Cheese | Chocolate | Cooking
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Wildgrain

Pros

  • Simple subscription format
  • User-friendly interface
  • Good selection of loaves, rolls, pasta and pastries
  • Transparent, natural ingredients
  • Eco-conscious, recyclable shipping materials

Cons

  • Expensive for price of equivalent items
  • Plant-based subscription is disproportionately priced
  • No gluten-free options (yet)

Carb lovers, rejoice! Among the plethora of food goods you can subscribe to for monthly delivery straight to your door -- meal kits, wine, cheese, seafood, and so on -- you can now also get bread. Think frozen, par-baked sourdough loaves and other carbolicious fare you can bake to completion at home, offering bakery-quality goodness straight from your own oven. (With the added bonus of not having to tend to your own sourdough starter.) 

wildgrainbox of breads

My first Wildgrain delivery was a success.

Pamela Vachon/CNET

Wildgrain isn't the first monthly bread subscription on the market, but it has a specific point of view -- and quasi-Parisian pedigree -- with an interface that allows you to easily make your own monthly choices and stock up on the loaves, rolls, pastries and pasta you most crave.

What is Wildgrain?

wildgrain packaging

Wildgrain sends quality par-cooked baked goods ready for finishing at home.

Pamela Vachon/CNET

Wildgrain is a specifically sourdough bread (and bread-adjacent) subscription service founded by husband and wife team, and former Parisians, Ismail Salhi and Johanna Hartzheim. Boxes ship monthly and they include six or 12 items along four different themes, which you can either opt in to select yourself, or you can just let the platform curate a surprise selection from among the best-sellers. 

Wildgrain's various offerings are sorted into breads -- which include both loaves and sandwich rolls -- pasta, pastries and seasonal specials. Breads lean heavily into sourdough or "slow fermented" selections, and are par-baked, meaning they've been baked just enough to establish and maintain their structure and shape. The bake-at-home stage not only warms the bread (while aromatizing your kitchen) but finishes the crust.

Read moreBest Meat Delivery Services for 2024

Wildgrain is not necessarily a producer of breads, but a subscription platform (and test kitchen) that offers about 30 different bread and bread-adjacent items to its subscribers on a monthly basis. Wildgrain provides recipes to and partners with small bakeries and producers around the country to supply its artisanal loaves, rolls, pastries and pasta. The small business element here is a nice touch.

How does Wildgrain work?

wildgrain box

Wildgrain packaging is efficient and eco-friendly.

Pamela Vachon/CNET

Subscribers receive a notification four days prior to being billed each month, and can choose not only what selections to receive, but whether to opt out of that month's box altogether. Based on my experience with other subscription models, this prompt is handy, so you don't have to set yourself a reminder to skip a month when necessary, whether you're out of town or out of freezer space.

Items arrive fully frozen and packed with dry ice in eco-conscious, recyclable packaging, to be transferred directly to your freezer. I also appreciated some helpful and logical guidance included in the packed box about what to do if the dry ice is depleted upon arrival.

None of Wildgrain's products require thawing, and nothing takes longer than 25 minutes to bake (or boil, in the case of pasta.) With that timing, you could have bread fresh out of the oven for breakfast, even. Bread loaves and rolls are fully proofed and par-baked, and they're ready to put directly in the oven from the freezer. You can place them right on your oven rack, and you don't even need a baking sheet. 

The deal with sourdough

brad loaf

Wildgrain bread loaf ready to be finished.

Pamela Vachon/CNET

Sourdough is what happens when flour and water are left to ferment using ambient yeast in the air. Carbs are not the enemy, but highly processed foods such as industrial breads are definitely not your best source of energy-giving carbs. These sourdough options are a major point in Wildgrain's favor here, especially for people who may not live near an artisanal bakery or who lack the time or motivation to shop at one, given the relatively short shelf life of most artisan breads. 

finished sourdough loaf

The finished loaf.

Pamela Vachon/CNET

Many of us only know sourdough as something worthwhile that helped pass the time during the pandemic. But, like many fermented foods, it also has nutritional benefits. According to information on Wildgrain's website, naturally fermented sourdough culture has the following benefits:

  • It digests the majority of the gluten in the bread.
  • It contains lactic acid, helping your body absorb more nutrients.
  • It also contains prebiotics, keeping your gut biome healthy.

Plenty to keep subscribers interested

toasted loaf on cutting board

There's nothing quite like a toasty loaf of freshly baked sourdough.

Pamela Vachon/CNET

As it deals only in high-quality bread, pasta and pastries, Wildgrain's selection isn't endless, but's still deep enough to provide a variety of items that you'd be slow to tire of, if novelty is part of what you look for in a monthly subscription. The currently available box offers 15 bread products to choose from, five pasta selections -- including stuffed pasta, gnocchi and even marinara sauce -- five pastries and six seasonal specials including macarons and strawberry rhubarb turnovers.

A word on quality: I appreciated the short ingredient lists of each of Wildgrain's products, which were helpfully printed on the front label, in a large font. That kind of transparency is hard to find in industrial food culture, and Wildgrain is clearly proud of what it's selling. 

When my package arrived I baked off the signature sourdough loaf. I was blown away by how perfectly crusty it was, even in my three-quarter sized apartment oven, which tends to run 50 degrees less than advertised. (I even managed to bake just one of the six-pack of jumbo chocolate chip cookies in my toaster oven with reasonable results.) Flavor and texture were both top-notch. Wildgrain's rigorous recipe-testing process yields tremendous results.

Wildgrain cost and pricing

Wildgrain offers four different themes for participation: 

  • a variety box, which includes both bread and pastries
  • a bread-only box
  • a pastry-only box 
  • a plant-based box, which includes only vegan selections

The plant-based box rules out most of the pasta and pastry options, but still offers about a dozen bread loaves and sandwich rolls to choose from. All boxes include free shipping, and the prices break down as follows:

Type6 selections12 selections

Variety Box

$99

$159

Bread Box

$69

$109

Pastry Box

$109

$169

Plant-Based Box

$99

$159

Wildgrain's prices are certainly more than you'd pay to buy these individual items outright from most local bakeries, but the price includes the cost of shipping and the convenience of not having to shop. If you're actively trying to eat better bread regularly, the service may be well worth the price, and its no-commitment model makes it easy to give it a try for a month or two to see if it's a fit. Wildgrain is also currently offering a "free croissants for life" promotion with both the Variety Box and Pastry Box for a little added value. 

finished cooking having been removed from toaster

It's not just about bread with a Wildgrain subscription.

Pamela Vachon/CNET

A little observational math: If you've got the freezer space, the selection of 12 items offers better value across the board. It's double the goods at only about 60% of the cost. 

If I were plant-based, to make the most of my money I'd probably opt for the bread-only box, and choose carefully from among those selections. (Only three selections drop from the menu between the Bread Box and the Plant-Based Box, as far as I could tell.) It's unclear to me why the plant-based box is $30 more per month, when the available options are mostly bread.

An added feel-good bonus, beyond the feel-goodness of eating good bread, Wildgrain donates four meals to the Greater Boston Food Bank for every new subscriber.

Who is Wildgrain good for?

Wildgrain is perfect for bread fanatics who love freshly-baked loaves and pastries but can't justify the time to shop for those items with the frequency their short shelf-life demands, or who don't have access to those kinds of local bakeries. If you ever spent any meaningful time in Europe and bemoan the lack of access to these high quality items, definitely give Wildgrain a try. Wildgrain is also great for those those who miss the sourdough days of the pandemic, but who also have PTSD from maintaining sourdough starter.

Who is Wildgrain not good for?

If your budget for bread is limited, Wildgrain might not be the best choice, as it is definitely priced higher than most local bakeries for similar items. The program demands a certain amount of freezer space when your box arrives, so consider whether that's something you can manage. While they are currently testing recipes and are committed to providing only those products that can handle being par-baked, frozen, and shipped, Wildgrain doesn't currently offer any gluten-free options.

Final verdict on Wildgrain

Wildgrain offers high-quality breads, pasta and pastries with short ingredient lists and a high convenience factor, in an interface that makes it easy to participate month by month as desired. If quality and convenience are worth paying a little extra for, Wildgrain is a great service for bread lovers. Now, who's got a monthly butter and jam subscription going?