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How do you keep bread fresh (lasting to/beyond the actual expiration date quoted on the packaging) as the bread I purchase always goes stale/moldy within a couple of days of opening.

I've heard that freezing the bread is a viable alternative, but I'd like to steer clear of, that as I don't want to have to take the bread out of the freezer the night before to make a sandwich the next day because it needs to defrost, not to mention the fact that the bread will be soggy the next morning anyway.

I do try to keep it in its original packaging (as suggested in this article), yet it seems to go stale/moldy regardless of where or how it is stored.

Clarification

This is packaged bread that you can buy from the supermarket. I always buy sliced bread and it varies from white/wholemeal. The bread would look like this:

Tip Top Bread

It could be the temperature, but I keep it in a bread bin and out of damp/moist places.

  • It stays fresh in our refrigerator (~2 C), but not frozen. Humidity can be a big factor even in the fridge: too low and it gets stale, too high and it gets moldy. – DrMoishe Pippik Feb 24 '15 at 3:31
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    Maybe clarify what kind of bread you're talking about and what package it comes in. When reading bread I purchase always goes stale/mouldy within a couple of days of opening I'd suppose you're talking about sliced, squashy bread in a plastic bag (e.g. toast). Maybe give some examples of typical bread (in your country) you're buying. Methods of keeping fresh may differ. – Alex Feb 24 '15 at 13:52
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    I believe this question falls outside of our scope. Food preservation is not something that needs a lifehack. There are common solutions people have used for preserving food for thousands of years. Remember, we're not EverydayLiving.SE, we're Lifehacks.SE – Wipqozn Apr 15 '15 at 10:30

13 Answers 13

22

It's all about location, location, location!

There are a couple of things that will aid the growth of mold and bacteria and it is best to try and prevent these conditions being met in order to prolong the freshness of the bread. The things that I can think of are:

  • Heat - Don't allow the bread to be in a warm / hot location, room temperature is fine.
  • Light - Try to keep bread in a dark place like in a bread bin or just in a cupboard away from both natural and artificial light.
  • Moisture - Keep the bread away from any moisture and try to prevent moisture getting onto the bread, again this can be done by using a bread bin or a cupboard with only dried goods such as pasta. Also always redo the packaging in order to keep any air and moisture out.

So if getting a bread bin is an option then I would suggest that, and suggest that it be kept away from windows to avoid any sunlight heating it up and turning it into a bread sauna. Do not store the bread in a fridge as this will only increase the speed at which it will go stale but it would prevent mold - not really a good compromise but that is down to you.

Refrigerating the bread speed up the crystallization of the starch molecules which is one of the main reasons for bread going stale and this happens much more quickly when just above freezing temperature as opposed to being at room temperature. See here for details. Also Sheldon in Big Bang Theory says it so it must be true.

As you've mentioned freezing helps a lot as it stops any mold full stop, you would have to thaw it but this can be done with a microwave in about 10 seconds or a toaster for a little bit longer (I'm not sure on the specific for that one but it isn't too long). You are correct in that the bread is slightly soggy once defrosted but if you are game for a toast sandwich then just leave it in the toaster to crisp up and it will give you a delicious crunchy sandwich!

If you fancy a change from white or 50/50 bread - try wholewheat bread, this takes a longer time to develop mold and bacteria (or at least it takes longer for you to notice it) and is also more healthy for you, but keep in mind you should still store the bread in a dark, dry place.

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    Now that is an excellent answer, covered everything I thought about the refrigerating/freezing of the breads! – Darren Feb 24 '15 at 12:51
  • We have been storing bread in the refrigerator for years, and while it appears to become stale, it tastes just fine after toasting. – haridsv Jul 6 at 11:19
15

Use the freezer. It works well. I know you said you don't like to do that, but that's what I do.

Whenever we buy bread, whatever kind it is, if it has been out a couple of days I put it in the freezer.

You don't have to thaw it out before using it. Sandwich goodies or your hands are usually enough to thaw. If not, let it sit a couple of minutes. It thaws very fast. You might microwave for 15-20 seconds, but even that may be too long.

I have never experienced sogginess doing it the way I've suggested. Do not apply water to the bread to moisten it.

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    If you only need a few slices at a time, freeze it with 2 slices in each bag. – RedSonja May 21 '15 at 10:18
  • You probably live in dry area. – Fennekin Feb 3 '16 at 17:42
  • I get soggyness on the corners if the bread has been frozen long. Nothing if I use it within a couple of weeks. And when freezing the day it is bought and getting out within the week, it is as fresh as it was when bought or even better. – Willeke Jan 21 '17 at 12:26
  • actually if you're going to freeze it - get it sliced and freeze it immediately - it will then be much fresher when you defrost it. – niico Jul 18 '18 at 12:53
  • You probably need to seal it better if it's going soggy (getting freezer burn perhaps) – niico Jul 18 '18 at 12:53
6

I don't eat much bread, but I always buy a large sliced loaf, and I do freeze it, usually splitting the bag and freezing half, double wrapped in plastic bags, keeping the other half in the fridge. Its surprising how quickly bread defrosts - if you only want a couple of slices, its possible to crack off a couple from a frozen loaf, pop them in a bag and they'll be defrosted within 5 minutes at room temperature, and they're not soggy either. If I want more, I just take out the half I've frozen and let it defrost naturally, probably takes about half an hour, and again, it's not soggy. Which means you don't actually have to leave it out all night, you can just take out what you need in the morning if you want a sandwich to take to work, for instance. Obviously, if you want toast, you can put it straight in the toaster from frozen anyway.

I freeze it because I hate sandwiches made with bread that's more than two days old, by which time it's lost that nice softness.

  • I agree with this. I'd like to add that if you want to quickly defrost an entire loaf, you can put it in the microwave for a minute or two. Some microwaves even have a special "defrost" option for this! – Praxis Ashelin Apr 29 '15 at 11:14
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I keep the bread wrapped in a plastic bag and put it in the fridge (not in the freezer). This way it lasts 2 or 3 days more than if it stays in room temperature.

If you don't need it to be soft you can put it for some time in a toaster. It will become more dry and this will prevent mold development for another 2 days or even more.

  • It might work for you but I have heard bread going stale and moldy in fridges from several sources, including the accepted answer. Freezing does work well. – Willeke Jan 21 '17 at 12:28
2

How to Increase a Bread's Shelf Life

For those who live alone, you're probably familiar how often food can go to waste if not properly stored. However, it's also impractical to buy single portions of the most perishable foods, such as vegetables, fruits, breads, and dairy products. That's why we're going to discuss one of these perishable items, and teach you ways on how you can lengthen its shelf life.

Here's how to keep bread fresher for longer period of time.

Which Is Better: Room Temperature or the Fridge? Contrary to popular belief, throwing bread inside the fridge is a wrong move. Although the coolness of the fridge can keep certain food fresh, it's a different story for bread. Doing so will cause moisture, causing the bread to go stale sooner.

Furthermore, putting bread inside the fridge is similar to leaving it at room temperature for 3 days. So, the best move would be, store a loaf of bread in an airtight container. Although, some people do recommend the use of linen bags, because they can be tightly closed.

Consider the Type of Bread Keep in mind, not all breads have the same shelf life. For instance, French bread goes stale in just a matter of hours. Likewise, crusty bread is only good for a day, that's why it'll be a wrong move to buy one and keep it for days.

How to Handle Freshly-Baked Bread If you're planning to place a freshly-baked bread inside a plastic bag, you should wait for it to cool down first. The warmth of bread will make it soggy if you store it right away.

Freezing Breads You can store your bread even after its “best before” date by putting them inside the freezer. Believe it or not, it can last for up to 3 months, if stored properly. Here's how you should do it:

Step 1: Slice the Loaf of Bread

If you're going to store a loaf of bread, it's best to slice it first. That way, you don't need to slice it anymore during the reheating process-- this can be really difficult.

Step 2: Wrap the Bread

You can either use aluminum foil or plastic to wrap your bread. It'll trap the bread's moisture and prevent it from getting dry and hard. Likewise, using plastic bags can help in avoiding freezer burn.

Step 3: The Reheating Processing

When you're ready to use the bread, allow it to thaw at room temperature. Then, remove the freezer wrapping and place it inside a preheated oven.

Additional Reminders

  • For unsliced Artisanal bread, leave it unwrapped with the cut side face-down. This technique will help in keeping the crispiness of the bread's crust. On the other hand, if exposed to the air, it'll go stale in just a matter of hours.

  • Reheating should only be done once to restore its crisp. After that, you'll just reheating stale bread.

  • Wrapped bread should be stored in its original packaging, tightly sealed with a twist tie or knot. If stored this way, it can last for 3-5 days at room temperature.

There you have it. These are some of the most effective ways on how you can retain the freshness of the bread. Visit www.breadmakerbargains.com for additional practical tips on bread making that you can use.

  • If the above is your own website, please note that in your post. Thanks. – Mooseman Jun 21 '15 at 15:20
1

Don't freeze it!

Keep in in a closed plastic bag in a non-freezing compartment of the refrigerator from day one. When waterdroplets appear inside the bag, or when the bread feels too wet and heavy for your taste, leave the bag open for a day or more. This helps because cold air has a low humidity.

This treatment will keep your bread edible for at least a week. No more moulding, ever.

(I have been doing this for many many years now, with all kinds of bread, and don't even remember what stale or moulded bread looks like. Where these silly stories about cooling being bad come from, I honestly don't know.)

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    Refrigerating the bread speeds up the crystallization of the starch molecules which is one of the main reasons for the bread going stale. See here for details – MrPhooky Feb 24 '15 at 10:08
  • @MrPhooky Aha, that does explain it. So cooling has a reversible effect, not at all harmfull. The test mentioned in that article was done with white bread, the only type of bread I never buy, and the test doesn't cover longer periods. Possible damage to cellstructure by freezing is not addressed in the article. All in all, I stick to my story. No hassle with freezing and heating. By the way, I love bread! – Zaaikort Feb 24 '15 at 11:01
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    This answer is just contrary to the chemistry and physics of why bread goes stale. Also, Freezing bread is a great way to keep bread fresh, if done right. Here's another article on the subject — cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/28444/… – Robert Cartaino Feb 24 '15 at 14:11
  • Well, it's just my experience. And the question was explicitely about an alternative to freezing. That means: NO freezing. And cooling is not harmfull in any way, so my answer is not a wrong answer, whatever the anonymous downvoters may think. – Zaaikort Feb 24 '15 at 18:39
1

I keep my bread in the plastic it came in, and lay it in a 2 1/4 inch deep aluminum baking pan (the regular kind found at any local grocery store). Our microwave is on the kitchen counter, underneath a wall cabinet. There's about 13 inches of space between the top of the microwave, and bottom of the cabinet, and the microwave is wide enough to store the pan & our toaster. The area stays relatively dark, and cool. Since I began keeping our bread there, I've noticed that none of it ever molds, or goes stale. My boyfriend and I, went on vacation for 2 weeks, and came back to bread that was purchased about 2 weeks prior to leaving (1 month old) that had no mold! ^_^ Now, because of this, I keep close track of the dates the bread is purchased so that we're not eating old bread lol.

1

Here is one of the hack that we practice to feel the bread as new, every time when we have it. If you buy more bread than what you want, have your 3-4 slice and keep the rest in deep fridge. Whenever you want them, have them after keeping them in oven. It will be fresh as new.

  • Although the person asking indicated they didn't want to freeze it, this seems like a reasonable answer. – L.B. Dec 8 '16 at 13:58
1

I don't put the bread in the freezer - but I store it in clean, dry ziplock freezer bags in a cool to cold place. However, I also use traditionally fermented sourdough-based breads and it makes a BIG difference. The money spent on bread like the one I described is of the same value considering the fact that I never need to throw it away because it lasts longer than the bread of lower quality. These types of breads are less likely to mold or go stale in such a short amount of time - it usually takes more than a week to start drying out or show any signs of deterioration.

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    Yes, sourdough bread keeps for ages. I haven't had any go mouldy yet, even after a week. Though it needs toasting or microwaving to freshen it up. – RedSonja Jan 9 '18 at 14:31
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I putchased La Brea Organic Wheat loaf Non Gmo and it has a hint of sour dough taste and it is a bread that is not only extra pleasing to the eyes but the taste is tantalizing to the point my PB&J sandwich tasted like a food I was trying for the first time. I freeze the bread in its orginal packaging or zip lock freezer bags and add my fixings and let it set a few seconds and it taste as fresh as the day it was made. It is not freezer burned nor is the taste, texture or apperance altered in any way shape or form. La Brea is found at Harris Teeters. Mine was sliced. I am a regular citizen who was looking for organic and La Brea is extraordinary. Fixings are put on once I remove it from the bag and start to fix sandwich. It only takes a few seconds for bread to thaw. I find in relation to breads made large batches such as found in grocery stores freezing yields the exact same results.

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I like French bread, but usually only eat it about once a week, so a loaf of French bread goes stale between meals. What I do, which works beautifully for me, is this: when I am ready to have some more French bread, I cut off the piece I intend to eat, lightly dampen a paper towel (or you could use a hand towel or facecloth or Handiwipe), not dripping wet at all, just lightly dampened (wring it out good), then I wrap the bread in it, put it in the microwave for 30 seconds, and unwrap it. The microwave forces the bread to absorb the small amount of moisture in the towel, which makes the bread bouncy and fresh again. I have done this with sliced bread, too, with success. The key is to only slightly moisten the towel or cloth. Good luck!

0

I always buy a large packet of bread but I don't consume it daily. So, what I do is that I keep my bread in the fridge(not freezer) but I make sure that it is not tightly packed. The packet should be folded in a manner that some air can flow through it. Also, make sure that you take the bread you want to eat and keep the remaining immediately into the fridge. If the bread is kept in varying conditions(cold inside fridge, hot outside) repeatedly, it won't last longer.

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Freeze the bread, and use a toaster to defrost it!

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    This answer was flagged as a Low Quality Post due to its lack of detail. Please edit your answer to improve it with any hints, tips, tricks you can think of. Do you freeze the whole loaf, one slice at a time, on a tray in the freezer, in original bags or something you've found to be better? Do you use a toaster oven or a vertical toaster? Do you set the toaster to any setting to compensate for being frozen, etc., etc. – Stan Sep 4 '17 at 2:26

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