When it comes to bread, most people think of it as a simple snack or side dish. But bread is so much more! In fact, it is an important part of many different meals. And if you want your bread to taste its best, you need to know how to store it properly. Here are some tips from experienced bakers on how to keep your bread fresh and delicious.
Factors affecting the shelf life.
Mold is the main cause of spoilage in bread. In fact, every bread contains dormant germs that are only waiting to emerge if the conditions are right. The resulting fungus, or bread mold, can be toxic. In fact, yeast—the main ingredient in many bread recipes—is a form of fungus. When hot water, sugar, and flour come into contact with yeast, they feed and multiply. Then the yeast produces a waste: carbon dioxide. This in turn makes the bread rise and gives it a chewy texture and more volume.
The good news is that yeast is harmless when it comes to spoilage. All day long, spores float in the air in our kitchens and pantries; It only takes one spore to come into contact with a slice of bread for mold to start growing. This is one reason why it is important to store bread in a plastic bag or at least wrapped in paper. If bread is carelessly placed in a bread drawer, box, or pantry without properly sealing it, germs have free access to it.
But even when sealed in an airtight bag, other factors affect the shelf life of bread:
- Ingredients like eggs, milk, and sugar create a petri dish-like environment to accelerate mold growth. Any bread made with these types of ingredients should be eaten as soon as possible or stored in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Storage space can also affect the rapid growth of mold. This is why bread boxes and bread drawers are usually hermetically sealed to limit exposure to germs in the surrounding air.
- The method of preparation can also affect the shelf life of the bread. The more bread dough is mixed and kneaded, the more oxygen is incorporated into the bread. Oxygen is another factor that promotes rapid mold growth. This does not mean that the loaf should not be mixed or kneaded, but only to the extent necessary. Mixing or excessive kneading only adds oxygen.
- Moisture can lead to mold growth at a sudden rate. Areas with high humidity can be severely affected by bread spoilage. The location of the bread can also increase its exposure to moisture. This is another reason why they should be sealed and kept in a suitable storage space.
Techniques to extend life.
These techniques to extend the shelf life of bread do not include the use of artificial preservatives often found in store-bought bread.
Temperature has a significant effect on mold growth. Spores, mold and fungi prefer a warm temperature to thrive and grow. Room temperature is not ideal if you want to extend the shelf life of your bread. However, refrigeration can prevent mold growth for up to an additional two weeks.
Ingredients like salt, water, and vinegar, unlike milk, sugar, and butter, can prevent mold growth, but again, this is a matter of days at room temperature.
Some people have reported that letting dough swell in the refrigerator overnight after rolling it carefully can prevent mold growth. Again, this only adds a few days to the validity.
Bread shelf life information panel.
Here we give you a quick overview of the shelf life of the bread. These are estimates drawn from a variety of sources, and some of the factors that influence bread spoilage may vary, as noted above.
- Store – 3 days.
- Refrigerator – a week.
- Freezer – a month.
Homemade white or wheat bread.
- Stored – from 3 to 7 days.
- Refrigerator – a week.
- Freezer – up to 2 months.
Store-bought bread (with preservatives).
- Store – from 5 to 7 days.
- Refrigerator – from one to two weeks.
- Freezer – 3 months.
- Store – from 7 to 10 days.
- Refrigerator – from 2 to 3 weeks.
- Freezer – from 3 to 4 months.
- In storage, if stored properly, up to 2.5 years.
- In a closed container, from 5 to 10 years.
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