HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


only wonderbread will do? for tomato sandwich?

i went and made a fresh summer tomato sandwich with an arnold's country white, hoping it would approximate the unmistakable taste (non-) and texture that is perfect for slathered hellman's and juicy tomato slices with salt and pepper, namely: wonderbread. but, sadly, noooooooo.......

now, i know you all will try and convince me that plenty of better breads are out there for tomato sandwiches. yeah, yeah, but wonderbread's great ability to hold the juice/mayo without falling apart, and being a soft, pillowy morsel to melt in my mouth, is unsurpassed.

what bread out there will substitute?

ok, ok, tell me your best bread for tomato sandwiches?

and for what other sandwiches do you think wonderbread is essential?

(maybe it is simply a taste nostalgia thing....)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Merita Old Fashion bread and DUKES Mayo is the only way to go.

    2 Replies
    1. re: lutherben

      thanks, lutherben. i'll look for the merita. but duke's just does not make it for me......although i tried to like it! just seemed stiff and dull. maybe a bad batch, or maybe i just need a touch of sugar. (but i'm not gonna steal gina neely's sugah! ;-)

      1. re: lutherben

        I did not have Dukes until I was an adult. but wow, it is great. give me white bread dukes and a heirloom tomato S&P

      2. My favorite bread for a fresh-from-the-garden tomato is a couple of slices of Italian Scali. I buy it unsliced and cut it as needed. A small drizzle of EVOO, either red wine vinegar or Balsamic, Kosher salt & freshly milled Tellecherry pepper is all the dressing a thick slice of tomato needs.

        An alternative is a whole wheat bread I used to make. It had a nice crunchy crust and was a tasty change from the Scali.

        2 Replies
          1. re: Gio

            It was a recipe from the Tassajara Bread Book published in 1970. I loved that book! I still have it but no longer do the extensive baking I used to. In the 70's I made all the bread we ate, including starting my own sourdough, and making all the yogurt we used. I truly embraced all the 70's had to offer!!

            The recipe you cited looks fab though, but I would not have been able to use the sesame seeds....

          2. alkapal,
            I totally agree with you! There is no better bread for my favorite summer sandwich than Wonder and I eat them just as you do, wide swath of (Best Foods here) mayo, tomato sliced with salt and pepper....nothing else is needed. The other Wonder sandwich for me is the after Thanksgiving turkey with mayo, turkey meat and salt....that is it! So sad story, they stopped selling Wonder Bread here in Southern California.....pout.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bubbles4me

              There is a Wonder Bread bakery in Pomona, CA and six other IBC Bakeries (owner of Wonder Bread) in Southern California. They sell it here in Sacramento, so it is probably available somewhere in Southern California.


            2. alkapal: where was the bacon!?! (oops, different thread...)

              sadly, we don't get wonderbread any more in the pnw either....this after it was proclaimed to be the best bread ever by a young cousin who went home to his mom to inform her than great auntie made the best meals for him with the bread in the spotted bag.

              our wonderbread appears to have been replaced by sara lee, which must have a boatload of preservatives or something as it stays soft, and when frozen, mooshes together so that you can't pull a whole slice out without ripping it....

              1. Texas Toast is good for tomato sandwich.

                Wonder bread is perfect for PB&J.

                Wonder bread is also perfect for dipping and eating with BBQ sauce.

                1. For a white bread tomato sandwich, try the Pepperidge Farm sandwich loaf. Not as soft as Wonder but I think it does the trick. Then, with the remaining slices make Vidalia onion sandwiches: Mayo on one slice, butter on the other, onion slice between. Cut into quarters, lightly mayo the edges of the sandwich and roll in fresh chopped parsley. (if you really want to fuss you can remove the crusts before the parsley roll.)
                  Gosh, that does it, I'm making tomato sandwiches and onion ones for our supper tomorrow night.

                  1. Sourdough for tomatoe sandwhich. Love the sour with the sweet tomato. Wonderbread screams baloney sandwhich to me. And PB & J. I love Trader Joe's mayonnaise. It's my favorite.

                    1. I don't use Wonder Bread, but I do use white bread for tomatoe sandwiches and I agree with ipsedixit about pb&j sandwhiches and dipping whitebread into bbq sauce. Also like it for the occassional bolagne sandwhich. The brand of white bread I buy is Buttercup.

                      1. although i can appreciate the more sophisticated and updated versions of the grilled cheese, the classic (and best) in my mind is the one i grew up with: wonderbread with kraft american cheese singles.

                        1. I have no fond wonderbread memories. In fact, I only know I hate it because it sticks to the roof of my mouth, and that memory is from when I ate it at a friends house about 20 years ago. When we were little and living in Sonoma County, Daddy would get day-old bread from Lombardi's bakery. I wonder if that place is still there? I'll have to ask my sister. It was always a funky square loaf, usually sourdough and quite deliciously memorable. I love a good tomato sandwich on crusty bread- Italian or sourdough. Now I just take tomato slices (if I can find a normal one in this state) and eat them with fresh mozzarella, a basil leaf and drizzle of balsamic, no bread, sometimes no fork!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Boccone Dolce

                            Yes, Lombardi's is still around. My mother would time her visit to the grocery store around the Lombardi's delivery.

                          2. Childhood memories.. pb&j on wonder bread, with chicken noodle soup and a glass of milk. When mom's not looking, dip the sandwich into the soup.

                            1. whenever we had tomato & hellman's sandwiches in our house, the bread was always toasted deli rye or sourdough - gotta have sturdy, toasty bread that can stand up to the tomato juices & the mayo without turning into a mushy, soggy mess.

                              1. Tomato sandwiches. Ah, I eat them all summer, every summer. I started eating them when I was a pre-teen reading Harriet the Spy. In Boston, I love these sandwiches on Nashoba Brook French slices. In high school, I dated Peter, who added an "exotic" country mustard to my culinary vocabulary. Many years later, I added leafy lettuce to my mix.

                                I have to admit, wonderbread isn't part of my vocabulary. But I would certainly try it with a tomato and decent mayo.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: smtucker

                                  Oh wow, smtucker, I did the same thing! I'd forgotten about Harriet and the tomato and mayo sandwiches Ole Golly made for her. I started eating them because of that book, too. Pretty sure my copy is still around here someplace, and I'm no kid.

                                  1. re: fern

                                    Yes, Harriet started me on the road of tomato sandwiches and I did use whatever squishy soft white bread was in the breadbox. Today I prefer them open faced on toasted sourdough baguette, but maybe I should try the original incarnation for old times sake..

                                2. thank you all. this has been a lovely thread, if i do say so myself!

                                  1. I love good bread, espically good sourdough bread but when it comes to Lox sandwiches with sour cream anything other than wonder bread just overwhelms the delicate flavor of the Lox.

                                    1. I use a good sourdough for my tomato sandwiches, but when I am feeling nostalgic I use Maiers Italian White. There is a nonna spinning in her grave that they call it Italian bread!
                                      I agree PB&J on wonder bread and also, Campbell's tomato soup, just float the piece of bread in it, eat it when it sinks. I think my brother and I ate entire loaves of bread in one sitting this way!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Bigley9

                                        As far as childhood memories it's all about the Maier's for me. With hellmans and fresh-from-the-garden-willyoukidspleaseeatsomeofthesebeforetheyrot tomatoes. (Mom always planted about 3 more tomato plants than we really needed and was pushing tomatoes on us all summer. Such a great problem to have.)

                                      2. What!!! No one has mentioned a fluffernutter?? Peanut butter and marshmellow - only on wonderbread - just not the same on anything else. When we moved to New Orleans from New England - people thought we were nuts, they only used marshmallow for baking, fudge, etc.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: lexpatti

                                          my childhood cat was named Fluffernutter! How could I have forgotten!

                                        2. I didn't grow up with tomato-mayo-white-bread-sandwiches, but this post inspired me. Not totaly authentic, but here's my lunch:

                                          white flour bap rolls, halved, one side spread wtih butter and sliced pink shallots, the other spread with homemade herb aioli (it was in the fridge!), with a homegrown black prince tomato, thickly sliced. Salt and sugar sprinkled on top.

                                          Thanks for lunch - it was delicious.

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: Gooseberry

                                            very interesting, and it does sound delicious. the sugar was a surprise, though! the black prince tomato, quite the looker!
                                            how would you describe its flavor?

                                            1. re: alkapal

                                              Gooseberry's post reminded me that my sister used to make them for us with potato rolls. Another Wonder bread alternative for you to try!
                                              Gooseberry's sandwich sounds great. Sugar surprised me, too, but now I must try it.

                                              I love this thread. Maybe I'll go make a t sandwich for my breakfast.

                                              1. re: fern

                                                I love toasted sourbread with freshly cracked, multi-coloured peppercorns, freshly cracked sea salt and a few slices of extra old Empire Cheddar. Empire Cheese are out of Campbelford, Ontario and make cheese the old fashioned way. Cheddar with a bite. Of course the tomatoes taste best fresh from the garden.

                                                1. re: Dflip

                                                  Yes, IMO, the most critical part is a tomato that is still warm from the sun. It will then meld magically with the DUKE'S mayo and whatever bread you put it on.

                                                  1. re: danna

                                                    maybe gooseberry's hit of sugar is to compensate for a no-sugar mayo like duke's (or an herb aioli).

                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                      I did put a pinch of sugar in the home made herb aioli, while balancing the flavours (a bit too much lemon juice!), but it's not a particularly sweet mayo substitute, no.

                                                      I add the sugar with the salt based on a recommendation I got on this board. Someone (sorry, don't remember who) was reminiscing how her father kept a small salt shaker filled with 2/3 salt, 1/3 sugar, especially for sliced tomatoes, picked from his garden. While a good tomato is often already mildly sweet, I add the sugar for the same reason I add salt - it just brightens the flavour a bit, makes it pop more.

                                                      It works very well with the black tomatoes like black prince, which tend to be fruity-spicy more than sweet (compared to a cherry tomato, for example).

                                                      Alkapal, I grew both paul robeson and black prince last year, and had a marvellous crop. Everyone told me I'd love the paul robeson, and while they were good, the black prince were superb - very meaty, juicy but not seedy, with a fruity, deep flavour. I'd never really heard of them before, so it was a very pleasant surprise.

                                                      Most impressive of all was I grew one paul robeson and one black prince together in a tiny pot (maybe 3 gallon?), they were unhappy over the summer, but as soon as fall hit, they set fourteen big fruit, which I harvested well into the winter (I'm a zone 11 or 12, so mild mediterranean climate), and tasted as good as summer tomatoes.

                                                      This black prince was the last of those fourteen winter 'maters (I'm in South Africa, so we're going into spring now), so a simple sandwich was a good way to celebrate. I planted new seeds last week, for my summer 2008 crop, and I can't wait the 100-odd days it will take to harvest them.

                                          2. gooseberry, your post makes me eager to give growing tomatoes another try. i'm going to see if we get that black prince variety here in the u.s., and will ask at the farmer's market, too. i'll definitely try the trick with the sugar. happy spring, gooseberry; i always enjoy your posts! cheers!

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: alkapal

                                              Hey Alkapal,

                                              I got the black prince seeds in the States, from rareseeds.com. Heirloom tomatoes aren't really available here yet, though hopefully that's going to change. If you've struggled to grow tomatoes inthe past, maybe try a cherry variety. in my experience, they grow much more easily. I'm going to try black cherry and black plum this summer.

                                              I enjoy your posts, too :) Good luck going into fall!

                                              1. re: Gooseberry

                                                gooseberry, i find that the squirrels in the backyard "harvest" the tomatoes before i get to them! ;-) but... i shall venture forth. thanks for the seeds tip.

                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                  gooseberry, i got a black prince at the farmer's market; it was sort of sweeter than my regular toms. mr. alka says the same without prompting. i did a presentation with fresh slices, dotted with balsamic vinegar and artisinal extra virgin olive oil (and a small sliver of fresh, crunchy red onion, and tiny sliver of fresh, fresh, crisp small red bell pepper) on a bed of tender lettuce. i told him that would cost him $7.50 (at least) as an appetizer. haha. i'm thinking it is a terroir issue on the flavors.
                                                  once the chow system is good, i'm going to do a tomato post....

                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                    I'd definitely enjoy a tomato post. While clearly the best thing to do with a great tomato is eat it as simply as possible, with an embarrassment of summer riches, it's great to read other people's ideas, and which tomatoes they like best for which dishes, or outright.

                                                    My go-to tomato dish is also fresh slices, with olive oil and salt, and perhaps also your slivers of red onion. Fresh mozzarella too when available! For dinner tonight, I chopped a kumato (the only brown-black tom variety I can buy here) a lot finer, sort of salsa like, did the same dressing, and ate them tossed with basmati rice, in a chapati. Strange, but really simple and good.

                                                    One thing that occured to me looking at the photo links you posted for black prince tomatoes - a lot of them looked very different, almost like different varietals. So a black prince from your local market and one from my driveway pots might taste and look significantly different (Terroir, as you said! And season, and even seeds, given the small variations increase exponentially with each generation grown).

                                                    I look foward to the tomato post and discussion.

                                            2. I would use a white Pullman loaf, aka pain de mie in French, or shokupan in Japanese. It's the standard white bread you'll find in many Asian countries that adopted the French tradition of bread baking. Much more moist and with a toothier crumb than American sponge dough breads like Wonder.

                                              Near me in So Cal, we have lots of Chinese and Japanese bakeries that make them fresh every day. Way better than Wonder bread.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Professor Salt

                                                The King Arthur Flour site just posted a good pain de mie recipe. I haven't used their recipe, but I've made pain de mie in both yeasted and sourdough versions. It makes very nice sandwich bread. Not only for heirloom tomatoes, but also for fried onion and egg sandwiches. Also, try making your own mayo. When I first saw the real stuff in Italy I thought something was wrong. It was yellow. But made with good organic eggs and olive oil--mmm. Add that to my fried egg sandwiches, too.

                                              2. I like Pepperidgefarm very thin bread for cucumber, onion, or tomato sandwiches. The bread has to be old or a little dried out for best results. I also like whole grain pita with mayo and as much veggies as you can cram in.

                                                1. I made yesterday's tomato sandwich on 2 pieces of leftover garlic rubbed bruscetta. Because they were leftover, they were slightly soft. It was GOOD!

                                                  1. Grilled cheese sandwich. Lightly buttered. Cast iron pan over LOW heat. Crispy and crackly and light.

                                                    I tend to prefer my croque monsieur et madame avec la Wonderbread as well.

                                                    1. Good whole wheat bread with some nice, tangy Spin Blend, a slice of American cheese, and a nice, thick slab of juicy tomato.

                                                      When I'm in the mood nothing else compares.

                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                          Jfood has never seen Dukes.

                                                          He agrees 100% on the Wonder Bread, tomato and hellman's. Jfood will tell you that he also likes Pepperidge Farm Big slice for his PB fix every night as well. He bought a loaf of some PF whole grain white and can;t wait to get home and feed the birds with it.

                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                            it is a southern regional brand http://www.dukesmayo.com/about.asp , but you can order online. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/620025 (thread on my conversion experience, and other converts discussing their adoration).

                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                              I've seen Duke's in Harris Teeter. I'll have to give it a try.

                                                              1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                Do - it's wonderful. My sister is shipping me 3 jars from Virginia!

                                                                1. re: MMRuth

                                                                  I'm going to a Harris Teeter in VA on Saturday and will pick some up. Thanks for the tip. But I doubt it can be anywhere near as good as the home-made stuff. And making mayonaise is really not that hard. In fact, I learned from Joy of Cooking, but John Thorne has a wonderful description in one of his books of making it on a plate with just a fork. It's fun watching oil emulsify from the lecithin in the yoke. And so good. (Use free range eggs, though!)

                                                                  1. re: Father Kitchen

                                                                    It isn't as good as home made. But it is pretty darn good. John Thorne is on my growing list of food writers to read. I like the idea of trying to make it on the plate that way. I made mayonnaise by hand using an E. David recipe the other day. In the past, my husband has been the mayonnaise expert in our house, but I'm learning that it just takes a lot of patience.

                                                        2. The Julia Child Tomato Sandwich.

                                                          I don't know if any of you ever saw this but Julia Child was interviewed by Larry King in 2002, coming up on a major birthday -- I think her 90th. Here's what she said:

                                                          KING: Well, what are we - we have to have a Julia Child dish.
                                                          CHILD: Well, we have a tomato named after me, which is just getting ripe now up in the Carmel Valley.
                                                          KING: What about a dish? Would it be appropriate to have, you know, a Julia Child salad, or Julia Child ...
                                                          CHILD: I just love a fresh ripe - red, ripe tomato. I think there couldn't be ...
                                                          KING: That's good enough.
                                                          CHILD: ... anything better. That's good enough.
                                                          KING: But when you want it sliced, you want it served in a Julia Child salad? Or do you just want it served ...
                                                          CHILD: I'd like it on a nice big piece of white bread slathered with Hellman's mayonnaise, and then slices of that ripe tomato on top of it. And just ...
                                                          KING: And what should we call it?
                                                          CHILD: ... eat it with a knife and fork. You can call it the Julia Child Tomato Sandwich.
                                                          KING: A Julia Child Tomato Sandwich is hereby ordained ...

                                                          I never forgot the simplicity of Julia's tomato sandwich. And though she didn't indicate Wonderbread, it was one of the few times I ever heard Julia utter a brand name -- Hellman's. (Known as Best Mayonnaise on the West Coast.) Loved the moment.

                                                          Transcript found here:

                                                          5 Replies
                                                          1. re: maria lorraine

                                                            I think a shaved-sweet-onion sandwich with mayonaise is just about as good. But there is a Catalan food whose name escapes me--I think David and Patience Gray both write about it--which is simply a good slab of bread with dripping ripe tomatoes on it. I can't remember if it included onions or garlic or olive oil.

                                                            1. re: Father Kitchen

                                                              That sounds just wonderful - both options. I just bought two Patience Gray books in the past month or so. The bread and tomato sounds like a dish I've had at Casa Mono here in NYC - grilled bread with wonderful ripe tomatoes smeared on it. I think it's called pan con tomate. When my sister-in-law visits from the Dominican Republic, she usually insists on getting three orders of it! I'm not sure about the other ingredients - and will look in my books.

                                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                                I found it. On page 50 of "Honey from a Weed," Patience Gray mentions Pa amb Tomaquet which is a slab of bread, ripe tomoatoes, fresh garlic, sea salt, and olive oil. Wonderbread most assuredly will not do for this treat. You want a slab of rustic bread that will really soak up the flavors--the kind you might use in panzanella or papa al pomodoro. And that brought John and Matt Lewis Thorne to mind. Check out "Cuisine of the Crust" in their book "Pot on the Fire." They have a discussion of Pa amb Tomaquet which suggests that the tomato pulp us rubbed into both sides of the slab of bread. Anyway you slice it, however, bread and tomatoes is a winner.

                                                              2. re: Father Kitchen

                                                                This comes from decades ago in Argentina or thereabouts, and you eat it with the freshest white bread - French or homemade loaf or whatever - that you can find:

                                                                Slop del Tomate:
                                                                Break and macerate large chunks of overripe tomatoes (bite- rather than salsa-sized)
                                                                Add dollops of a light vegetable oil (would avoid most olive oils here)
                                                                healthy amount of lemon juice to taste

                                                                One of the best things ever.

                                                            2. This is not going to be helpful, probably. But if you happen to be in Miami or Havana, try it with their bona fide Cuban bread. (Not the awful stuff we have in Cali that passes for Cuban bread.) It's made with lard and beautifully cradles and melds ingredients.

                                                              1. I grew up on tomato sandwiches made on 'Ontario' bread - a kind of small round wonderbread with sesame seeds. My favorite tomato sandwiches are on bread like that.

                                                                1. Ah!!! I knew there were other tomato sandwich lovers out there. I use whatever bread I have available, but almost always use Helmann's mayonnaise. Though my husband bought Kraft a while back and I liked it better than Duke's. And once in a great while I have been known to eat a half a sandwich with Miracle Whip. And I really don't like Miracle Whip, but I have to do it once in a while to see if I still don't like it. And I have found that the Pepperridge Farm white breads are all good with a tomato sandwich.