Picture this – you’re just about to make yourself a sandwich that you’ve been craving all morning, only to find out that the bread has gone moldy.
There’s nothing quite as disappointing as this realization, especially if you’ve not got any bread left in the house.
Bread is one of those necessities that you need to keep stocked up in your kitchen, but it unfortunately has a surprisingly short shelf life.
The expiration date of store-bought bread can range anywhere from 3-7 days, leaving little time to eat the entire loaf before you spot small patches of green mold.
So, rather than wasting time, money, and food on buying a new loaf of bread, here is our guide on how to stop bread from going moldy.
Store Bread In The Freezer
Storing bread in the freezer is probably the most common method to stop it from going moldy.
Virtually any food can be stored in the freezer and temporarily frozen until you’re ready to consume it before it goes bad, which is why so many households will have a loaf of bread somewhere in the freezer.
The key to storing bread in the freezer is to make sure that it is sliced beforehand.
Without doing this, you’ll struggle to cut off a slice from the frozen loaf.
It’s also not recommended to defrost the entire loaf and freeze it again, and it’s far quicker to defrost singular slices than the entire loaf.
You won’t have to worry about taking the bread out of the freezer overnight for your morning toast.
Instead, simply take out the number of slices you need and allow it to thaw at room temperature for about 20-30 minutes.
Alternatively, you can speed up the defrosting process by putting the slices in the toaster on the “defrost” option.
When storing bread in the freezer, make sure to wrap the bread in plastic wrap or its original packaging.
This will help to prevent freezer burn, which is where the moisture from frozen food becomes lost in the freezer, resulting in dry bread.
When the loaf of bread is stored correctly in the freezer, it should last up to 3 months, which is the longest extension of its shelf life.
Don’t Store Bread In The Refrigerator
So, if you can store bread in the freezer, does that mean you can store it in the refrigerator? The answer is a resounding no.
Keeping your bread in the fridge isn’t going to keep your bread fresh.
If anything, storing bread in the refrigerator will dramatically increase the speed of dehydration and will result in the bread going off within 1-2 days, thus shortening the shelf life.
While storing bread in the fridge won’t immediately turn it moldy, this is a surefire way to turn the bread stale within a day.
The moisture from the bread is sucked out from the cold temperature, resulting in a hardened exterior thanks to the crystallization of starch.
Store In A Bread Box
Turns out, people don’t just buy a bread box for the aesthetics.
Bread boxes are designed to store bread in a cool and shaded place that will prevent the bread from going stale or moldy before and even after its expiration date.
This is achieved through adequate air circulation inside the bread box.
These boxes provide enough air for the bread to breathe, and enough of a closed space to provide adequate humidity to keep the bread moist and fluffy.
This also helps to prevent the growth of mold.
However, it’s important to not overcrowd the bread box with more than one loaf of bread, as this will increase the humidity too much and create a breeding ground for mold growth.
If you know that you’ll need to store multiple loaves of bread, make sure to buy a big bread box.
Store In The Kitchen Cupboard
If you don’t have a bread box, you can also store bread in the kitchen cupboard.
Most cupboards or cabinets provide enough room for adequate air circulation and humidity to keep the bread fresh without creating mold.
Make sure to choose the kitchen cupboard wisely, because the location of the cupboard will impact how well the bread manages to stay fresh.
Avoid putting bread in cupboards above appliances that produce heat, such as the oven, stove top, microwave, or refrigerator.
Store In Brown Paper Bag
Did you know that the reason most bakeries will sell their freshly baked loaves of bread in a brown paper bag is because the bag actually works to keep the bread fresh?
That’s right, keeping your bread in a brown paper bag works to prevent mold and stop the bread from going stale within days.
Of course, it also matters where you store the bread inside the bag, but the bag is particularly useful for rustic breads that tend to go stale within 1-2 days.
All you need to do with a loaf of bread in a brown paper bag is to wrap the bag up tightly to prevent air from drying out the bread, and store it in a dark space away from direct sunlight.
Store In Original Packaging
In the same vein as the previous method, you can also store bread in its original plastic packaging.
Most breads bought from a grocery store come in this plastic packaging, and for good reason.
The plastic is lightweight and often comes with holes designed to allow for adequate airflow, which is useful for circulating the air without causing the bread to dry out.
It also helps to keep the humidity at a good level.
When you keep bread in its original plastic packaging, it’s important to close the opening of the bag properly.
When you leave the bag open on the counter or in a cabinet, you’re allowing too much air to harden the bread, encouraging it to go stale.
Buy A Cloth Bread Bag
If you buy bread regularly and you don’t have enough room for a bread box, now’s the time to invest in a cloth bread bag.
These cloth bags are inexpensive and work to keep your bread in an airtight casing, without restricting it from any airflow.
They provide just the right amount of airflow and humidity to keep the bread from going stale, and thus extending its shelf life.
If you don’t know where to find a cloth bread bag, you can easily make your own with one or two clean tea towels.
Just make sure there’s enough room for the air to breathe without too many holes!
Don’t Buy Pre-Sliced Bread
Pre-sliced bread might be good for convenience, but if you’re worried about extending the shelf life of your bread, it’s best to buy an entire loaf and cut your own slices.
This is because pre-sliced bread provides more space for air within the loaf, which not only works to make the bread go stale faster, but also creates a breeding ground for mold growth.
Plus, if you cut the loaf by yourself, you get to determine the thickness of each slice.
This is especially useful for bread lovers who enjoy thick sandwiches!
Slice Bread In The Middle
When you buy a loaf of bread that isn’t pre-sliced, the most effective way to slice the bread to stop it from going moldy or stale is to actually cut it from the middle.
While it might seem strange to cut bread from the middle rather than the edges, the hardened edges are actually great for maintaining the moisture inside the loaf.
So, when you cut from the middle and squish the ends together, you help to keep the bread moist and fluffy.
Store In Kitchen Drawer
Another good place to store bread to stop it from going moldy is in a kitchen drawer.
If you have a drawer that is deep enough to hold the bread without squashing it, this will do well to keep the bread suitably humid without overheating.
The key is to make sure that the drawer isn’t too cramped.
Not only will a cramped drawer provide insufficient airflow and humidity to keep the bread free from mold growth, but it’ll also affect the shape of the bread.
Also, you need to wrap the bread in either a brown paper bag, plastic wrap, or cloth bag (or tea towels) before putting it in the drawer.
Toast Stale Bread
Bread will always go stale before it goes moldy. If you don’t like to waste bread, a good way to use stale bread is to put it in the toaster!
Toasting stale bread isn’t exactly going to revive it into its original fluffy state, but stale bread is still safe to eat, so you might as well make the most of it.
Putting stale bread in the toaster not only provides a nice breakfast, but the heat from the toaster helps to make the insides slightly moist once again.
Put Stale Bread In The Oven
If the majority of the loaf has gone stale and you don’t want to waste your food or money, you can try to revive the bread by putting it in the oven.
This method is similar to the toasting method above, except it’s better for loaves rather than slices.
If you heat the oven to a low, warm temperature, you can heat up the loaf for several minutes to revive its texture once again.
This is because stale bread is a result of too much air, so putting it in the oven helps to provide enough humidity to soften it.
Make sure to put the loaf of bread on a baking tray and parchment paper before putting it in the oven to prevent it from sticking.
RELATED: 10 Delicious Spanish Bread Recipes
Consider The Type Of Bread
Unfortunately, some breads have a shorter shelf life than others.
The most common types of bread that turn moldy are white loaves and French bread.
It’s also more common for homemade and bakery bread to go moldy or stale faster than store-bought bread because they contain fewer preservatives.
You’ll find that darker breads take longer to turn moldy, such as rye bread, sourdough, granary bread, and regular whole wheat bread.
This is because wheat breads contain less moisture than white breads, so they typically have a longer shelf life.
Regardless of the type of bread you buy, it’s important to store the loaf in the correct way to stop it from going moldy.
Of course, mold is inevitable if the bread is left untouched for long enough, but storing it properly will add at least a couple of days to its non-moldy shelf life.
So, there you have it! While it’s inevitable for bread to turn stale and then moldy eventually, there are ways to prevent this from happening for at least 1-3 more days.
If you find that your bread goes moldy too quickly, hopefully these methods will help to extend the shelf life of the loaf.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Okay To Eat Slightly Moldy Bread?
Avoiding eating food that has gone bad is recommended, as it could make you sick. However, certain foods, such as bread, are okay to eat if they have been slightly moldy. Bread that has gone moldy is not a health risk.
Can Bread Mold In 1 Day?
Yes, bread can quickly go bad in a day, especially if it is not stored correctly. Bread mold is a fungus that grows on the surface of the bread, and if the bread is not consumed within a day, the mold will consume the bread.
How Long Should Bread Last Before It Gets Moldy?
Most bread will last for about a week if it is kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Bread will also last for about a month if it is kept in a paper bag.
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