All types of food purchased have a shelf life. The interval between food expiration date and when the food goes bad depends on the kind of food and its stored. Bread is a popular food worldwide; therefore, it is crucial to learn how to keep it safe.
Typically, along with water and flour, bread has several ingredients like fat, salt, leavening agents such as baking soda and yeast, which help in the bread-baking process. Other kinds of bread use common ingredients that include spices, icing sugar, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and herbs.
How to tell if bread goes bad
To tell if a loaf of bread has gone wrong or not, you have to deploy your senses, and they are very reliable.
- Expiration Date
All types of bread have an expiration date. However, you can still eat bread after the date. A loaf of old bread is terrible only if it has mold. The date doesn’t necessarily mean that you can through it away. It shows that the quality of the bread is at the peak. After which, it starts to degrade and become unsafe to eat after a while.
A bread becomes stale due to the starch ingredient used to make the product; if not well stored, it starts to degrade. For this reason, it’s advisable to pack the bread well in a paper bag before storage to increase its shelf life. You need not waste a sweet loaf of bread.
The bread may look dry and tough. This appearance is not a bad sign, but it will not be too delicious. The dry and tough bread will not make you sick when you consume it. It is okay to eat, but the taste may not be pleasant. However, you can either eat it, throw it in the trash can or make breadcrumbs—your choice.
More so, the bread may appear to have turned from its original color due to mold formation. This visible sign is unsafe for you. You should not even taste it; it is a sure mark that the bread is stale, and you have to discard it.
Does it smell sour? Then toss it out! If it smells yeasty, vinegar, or rather like alcohol, get rid of it. This means that the spoilage process has been going on for a long time to the extent of smelling it. Just count your loss and stay healthy. Discard the bread.
The bread might look tempting and very safe to eat. However, when you taste it even after applying butter on it, it doesn’t taste excellent but sour. Throw it away.
The shelf life of bread
The shelf life of bread varies from the type and storage way.
Types of bread
Opened store-bought bread
5 – 7 days
7 – 12 days
Unopened store-bought bread
3 - 5 days
5 – 8 days
3 - 5 days
5 – 8 days
How to store bread
We store bread to increase their shelf lives. Otherwise, bread can go stale within a short period if not stored properly.
- A loaf of homemade bread can be stored in a pantry for 3 to 4 days. Since it does not have preservatives, it gets stale faster than shop-bought bread. For this reason, it never lasts long. However, there are various ways to keep it safe for a few days instead of wasting it in a short period.
- Properly seal the homemade bread and ensure no air is left inside. This will prevent oxidization that can make the bread go bad. You can now store in your freezer
- Ensure to clean any moisture inside your bread packaging due to the freshly baked bread’s heat to prevent mold.
- After baking, covering or sealing freshly baked bread until it’s completely cool to avoid attracting bacteria that make it unsafe to eat.
- At room temperature
After making the bread, it’s best first to store it in the pantry at room temperature, this is the default style. An unopened loaf of bread should just be left in its initial packaging—no need for extra protection. As long as it’s unopened in its original packaging, it doesn’t require additional layers of protection.
However, once the bread is opened, ensure to keep it tightly sealed all the time. In case you want to use a different package from its initial one, you can use a plastic container.
On the other hand, freshly made bread is transferred into a brown bag, fold its top, and use paper clips to seal it securely. Ready to be kept in the pantry. It should not be exposed to direct sunlight. Keep in a cool, dry place to increase its shelf life.
Most people think it’s okay to store bread in the freezer, but others hold the opposite opinion. They believe bread shouldn’t be stored in the freezer due to starch in the bread. It is said that it increases the recrystallizes of the bread, thus making it stale very quickly. A refrigerator is another storage option.
You can keep loaves of bread in the refrigerator to extend its freshness for several days longer. You are required to transfer it into a plastic bag and seal it tightly to prevent air or moisture from getting inside.
- Frozen bread
You can put them in an additional freezer or plastic bags for pre-sliced bread or else use aluminum foil. This will extend its life. Unopened bread should be store with its original packages unless other foods will deform the bread. In this case, you can use a plastic container as an extra protecting package.
On the other hand, opened bread should be transferred into a freezer bag and sealed tightly, ensuring no air is inside. This will prevent any moisture or air from getting into the bread. You can store the bread for as long as you want. However, the recommended period is three months, after which the bread might go wrong. The freezer gradually deteriorates the bread quality.
Tips on How to Defrost Frozen Bread
- On the countertop
After you grab your slices of bread, put them on a plate for fast defrosting. This takes 10-15 minutes. However, it all depends on how thick the slices are.
- Use a toaster oven or a sandwich toaster
Warm the frozen slices of bread in either of the appliances. Allow the toaster to heat up a little bit, then turn it off, you can place your bread in there to defrost, and in a few minutes, it gets to room temperature.
Note: Consume the bread immediately after defrosting
In this article, bread has been portrayed as a vulnerable food to mold hence stays fresh for a short period. It’s evident that, before it begins to go bad, it starts to develop mold, thus becoming unsafe to eat. Therefore, follow the tips above to keep it safe.