If you’ve ever attempted to supplement your normal diet with protein powder, you know you’re not exactly doing your taste buds a huge service. At its best, whey protein powder from the likes of companies like Body Fortress is tolerable when combined with a hyper-sweet yogurt or rich chocolate pudding (Ok, a shelf-stable snack pack, but don’t be hatin’). At its worse, whey powder is an ungulpable powder that you might be able to leverage into a means of punishment should you ever decide to go, as they say, milk and spoon.
Besides. Getting protein from powder involves, you know, actually eating stuff that isn’t really food. For a dude like me, who considers the sandwich to literally be, in fact, the greatest thing since slice bread, protein powder can be a real downer.
Enter P28. A high-protein bread developed by bodybuilders that has recently made its way into Wegmans grocery stores, P28 offers truly unheard of amounts of protein in the convenience of the greatest food invention ever; sliced bread.
They also make bagels as well. Which is quite convenient, I should say, since a bagel usually makes up my breakfast on weekend mornings.
Being a bagelphile and breadphile but also a guy who supplements with protein powder, the idea of a high protein bagel intrigued me. So, after a little research, I contacted P28 and didn’t mince words. I wanted to see if these so-called ”deliciously filling” bagels tended more to the former, as opposed to just the latter. More than happy to furnish a sample pack of their products, they met my challenge.
That’s right. Get ready for a bagel throwdown.
I’m partial to a Pumpernickel bagel from Einstein Brothers on Saturday and Sunday mornings, but because P28 only makes one type of bagel (with 28 grams of protein) I grabbed what looked to be the closer Einstein’s equivalent in the aptly named “Good Grains bagel.” Calorically speaking, both bagels are about the same. The Good Grains bagel is 270 calories, while the P28 bagel is 260 (although, at over 10 grams a serving smaller, their nearly identical on a per gram basis). The biggest difference is what those calories consist of though. P28′s bagels have a whopping 28 grams of protein, while the Good Grains bagel has but 10 grams.
That’s all well and good, but any bread lover will tell you it’s all about taste, chew, and texture. When it comes to that account, P28′s bagel fell short.
As you can see, the P28 bagel is a bit taller and fatter than Einstein’s, which nevertheless is denser. The Good Grains bagel, covered with an assortment of seeds and nuts, has a light honey flavor and wonderfully hearty chew. It’s the kind of bagel that develops a malty sweetness as you eat it, giving you a fulfilling bite with hints of whole grains. It’s one of my favorite bagels the chain offers.
P28′s bagel pales in comparison. After biting into it I’m surprised by how the bread springs back into place, unlike the the gluten-dense Einstein bagel, which literally holds the “bite” in place. The flavor is almost singularly whole wheat, with an off and bitter sweetness to it that can’t cover up a woodsy aftertaste. It has that classic low-carb bread chew, reminding me of a similar and failed Einstein bagel flavor of years ago.
You know the kind of chew I’m talking about. It’s rubbery and gummy, demanding the kind of steel-jawed discipline that Mr. Wilson must have drawn upon after he inadvertently eats paint in Dennis the Menace. The oats on top, while adding a nice look, are chalky and untoasted.
Compared to a freshly baked Einstein Brothers bagel ($1.20) the P28 Bagel can’t compare in taste. Be that as it may, I realize most people aren’t the kind of bread fanatics I am, and probably toast and top their bagels with any assortment of spreads or jellies. The good news is the bagels are slightly better toasted. This being the case, they do burn slightly on the edges even with a moderate toast, although the flavor gets covered with with a more than generous application of cream cheese and jelly.
A great bagel, P28 does not make. But it’s not a completely lost cause. With outstanding nutrition and a price point at about $1 per bagel, they’re an affordable and savory option that beats a protein bar. For some one like me, who’d rather indulge in a little culinary imagination while taking advantage of the summer bounty, P28 offers that option to get your protein and without having the rely on the monotony and oppression of whey supplements.
What’s more, the P28 bread is not half bad. But that’s another post for another day. As for the bagels, use your discretion on these, guys and girls. Worth a try if you’ve got to get your protein and your sick of bars and powder, but definitely not suggested if you’re looking for a good bagel. In that case, I’d advise just putting a heckuva lot more meat between your bagel sandwich. Might be a little more expensive, but sometimes, it’s worth it.
For more information, check them out at HighProteinBread.com