Bread is undoubtedly a staple in many households; it is a go-to food that is versatile and easy to prepare. However, one of the most common problems when it comes to storing bread is its tendency to develop mold quickly.
Moldy bread isn’t just unpleasant to look at and to eat — it can also be harmful to your health. So, how can you keep the bread from molding and make it last longer?
Whether you’re a passionate bread maker or a simple bread consumer, this article will provide practical and effective tips on keeping your bread fresh for longer periods.
Now, to prolong the freshness of bread, you can wrap it in plastic wrap, store it in a zip-top plastic bag, or store it in a bread box.
Store your bread in a dry, airy location to keep it from molding. You can freeze your loaf if you aren’t going to eat it within two to three days.
What Creates Mold?
Identifying the causes of mold on bread is the first step in preventing it. We can extend shelf life by eliminating these initial factors. Different species of mold grow on bread, but they are all equally prevalent in other foods as well.
The atmosphere, i.e., oxygen, moisture, nutrients, temperature, and time all play an important role in mold growth.
Jennifer Hill Booker, an Atlanta chef, says bread stays fresh longer in an airtight environment because circulation speeds up the staling process, whether it’s store-bought, bakery-fresh or homemade.
It is best to keep your bread in a cool, dry place, as mold thrives in airy, warm places. The worst place to store bread is on top of the refrigerator, according to Booker. There is so much moisture up there that whatever is trapped in containers or bags for the bread will start to mold.”
Whenever you store food, it is important to consider the temperature. Different temperatures affect bacteria and mold differently.
40-140°F (4-60°C) constitutes the danger zone. You will risk mold growth if you store anything at these temperatures.
Room temperature is optimal for mold growth, between 20-22°C and 68-72°F. Here is where bread is most vulnerable to mold growth.
Most molds will die at freezing temperatures since cold temperatures slow their growth.
Mold also requires oxygen in order to grow. Living organisms like spores require oxygen to survive and thrive. Their growth will be significantly slowed down if you remove it!
With mold growth, time is also a factor to consider. Long-term exposure to unfavorable conditions will allow mold to grow on ingredients.
For mold to grow, it must find a food source that contains high levels of moisture. Moisture is present in all fresh ingredients, no matter how they are prepared.
Moisture brings nutrients along with it. Mold spores are more attracted to sweet ingredients, such as strawberries than dried pasta, which contains less nutrients and sugars.
Generally, banana bread that has a lot of sugar will mold faster than brown bread that does not have as much sugar.
Understanding Bread’s Shelf Life
In Booker’s opinion, fat is a natural preservative, so things with more fat tend to preserve, freeze, and last longer. Therefore, loaves with eggs (like challah) or butter (such as banana bread) will go stale slower than French bread, which is leaner.
Even the fat content and degree of moisture will vary depending on the type of flour. According to Booker, most bread flour is made from red wheat or Russian wheat.
“Using a different type of flour will add to the amount of moisture in the wheat or flour before bread can even be made.”
Due to the natural fat content in almonds, bread baked with almond flour will likely last longer than bread baked with all-purpose flour.
How To Keep Bread From Molding?
Here are the best ways to store bread, as well as a few tips on how to keep bread fresh for an extended period of time.
1. Freeze Your Loaf
The best way to prevent bread from molding or getting stale is to freeze it. The advantage of freezing bread in slices is that you don’t have to defrost a whole loaf of bread every time you want to eat it.
The shelf life of frozen loaves, whether store-bought or homemade, depends on the fat and protein content of that bread.
Because French bread is so lean, Booker says that croissants and brioche will bounce back fresher than French bread. French bread will keep for three months; croissants [denser breads] will keep for six months.”
2. Wrap Bread In Plastic
For those who go through loaves of bread quickly, wrapping it in plastic or sealing it in a zip-top bag is the best way to preserve freshness.
This is a good method for storing bread short-term since it won’t have to sit on the counter for long periods of time. Booker recommends storing bread in reusable plastic or glass-sealed containers in order to extend its shelf life.
A sealed container on the counter is perfectly fine if you’re eating the bread within three to four days.”
3. Invest In A Breadbox
Undoubtedly, the most classic method of storing bread – a breadbox – is one of the best ways to ensure that your loaves last as long as possible.
The bread box is more breathable than an airtight container and creates the perfect balance between airflow and humidity.
This means that you won’t get soggy bread if you leave it unwrapped, and it won’t get dry and stale as you would with sealed plastic,” says Booker. “Putting it in a clear bag may also keep out some of the light that will dry it out.”
4. Ditch The Bread Bags And Use The Original Wrapper
Even though canvas bread bags are attractive and eco-friendly, they often fail to prevent the bread from going stale. When you don’t eat bread frequently, leaving a 24-slice loaf in a canvas bag for a week may actually accelerate its degradation.
When you put homemade bread in a canvas bag that isn’t in a plastic wrapper, it will probably get hard on the outside because it isn’t as protected.
Booker recommends tightly sealing it in a cool environment to preserve store-bought bread and keeping it in the original plastic wrapper.
5. Don’t Be Afraid To Refrigerate
Although this is a hotly contested topic, Booker suggests refrigeration can actually increase bread’s longevity.
She says since the refrigerator maintains a constant temperature, she doesn’t have to worry about temperature fluctuations during the day.
The cooler temperature may, however, cause starches to crystallize, making the bread less soft and more coarse. So, it’s best to use this method for short-term solutions.
6. Toast Bread
If you have stale bread that you’re afraid will mold soon, toasting it is a great way to keep it fresh! An open-faced sandwich with butter and toasted bread is a great breakfast, lunch, or dinner snack.
7. Avoid Pre-Sliced
Whenever possible, buy whole bread instead of pre-sliced bread. Make a sandwich or toast by cutting off the pieces you need.
Pre-sliced bread gets moldy much faster than unsliced bread due to its increased exposure to air. In addition, unsliced loaves allow you to determine how thick you want your slices to be!
8. Kitchen Drawer
Keeping bread in a deep drawer in the kitchen is a good idea if you have one. Keeping rustic artisan bread fresh for up to two days is easy with this method.
Wrapping it in a tea towel with the sliced end downward is all I need to do.
9. Store in Kitchen Cabinet
Bread can also be stored in a kitchen cabinet to prevent mold growth. A paper bag or an open plastic bag should be used to store the loaf of bread.
The cabinet has just the right amount of air circulation to prevent mold from growing but not too much to prevent the bread from drying out.
It’s best to use this method in a cabinet that’s not over the fridge, where heat and humidity may accumulate.
10. Brown Paper Bag
Keeping bread from molding is as simple as putting it in a brown paper bag. For this reason, many bakeries sell their bread in brown paper.
It keeps bread fresh for up to two days and works really well for hard-crusted, rustic breads. Store the bag out of direct sunlight and keep it tightly closed.
11. Cloth Bread Bags
The cloth bread bag may be a good alternative to your bread box if you do not have one or do not have enough space in your kitchen. Despite being airtight, these bags still allow just enough airflow to allow the bread to breathe.
Need a cloth bread bag but don’t have one? You can achieve the same results by wrapping bread in a large clean tea towel. A cloth bag keeps white French bread fresh for two days, in my experience.
How To Store Fresh Bread To Prevent Mold?
In order to store bread effectively, keep an eye on how often you eat it, so it doesn’t sit out too long. As an example of how Booker reduces waste, here’s what he does:
Divide the loaf. It’s best to cut the bread into thirds (or whatever portion you can normally eat before it goes bad). You can also divide them up into slices. It is important to let freshly-baked bread completely cool before storing it.
Leave a section out at room temperature. You should eat the bread within three to four days of storing it in a bread box or airtight container.
Prep the remaining portions for long-term storage. Plastic wrap the remainder of the sections tightly. You can preserve bread by wrapping it in plastic wrap, storing it in a bread box, or reusing zip-top bags.
Freeze until ready to eat. Putting them in a zip-top bag and freezing them is a good idea. Keeping the loaf frozen is the best option if you’re not going to eat it within two to three days.
Thaw and enjoy. You can defrost another slice or section when you are ready to make another batch.
A quick tip: At room temperature, homemade bread lasts about three to five days, whereas store-bought bread lasts five to seven days. Also, mold can grow quickly on bread stored in damp, airy areas.
By following the tips and tricks mentioned in this article, you can now keep your bread fresh and mold-free for much longer.
Whether it’s storing your bread in the proper container, using natural preservatives such as salt, vinegar or lemon juice or freezing your bread to extend its life.
These tried-and-tested methods will ensure that you can enjoy delicious and fresh bread without the worry of mold.
Not only will this save you money, but it will also reduce wastage and help you maintain a healthy diet by avoiding the risks associated with moldy bread.
So, go ahead and use these helpful tips to keep your bread fresh, tasty, and mold-free for as long as possible.