Bakery and packaged bread have an average shelf life of four to seven days. Their specified shelf life can be prolonged when you follow the right techniques for storing these store-bought baked goods.
Properly storing bread will also ensure you avoid food wastage due to molds. This fungus eventually grows on all types of baked goods, whether homemade or purchased from the bakery.
Once the bread has molds, you can’t eat them. If you eat even a small piece with fungi, you may develop food poisoning or dangerous food-borne disease. Some of the less complicated health issues you can acquire are salmonella, allergic reactions, and respiratory problems.
One of the most dangerous illnesses you can get from eating moldy bread is Stachybotrys chartarum. It is a sickness that will irritate your mouth, nose, and throat. When not treated quickly and adequately, it can cause shock, hemorrhage, dermal necrosis, and even death.
Best Storage Practices for Bread
To keep your store-bought baked goods fresh longer and avoid early onset spoilage and wastage, follow these tips from established bread suppliers for proper storage:
1. Avoid sealing and storing bread straight from the oven
If you bought a loaf or buns that were taken out of the oven a minute or so ago, do not put them in a sealed container immediately.
This is because placing hot bread in a container and sealing it will trap the steam inside, which will cause dampness. This, in turn, will cause molds to grow faster.
As such, before storing bread in an airtight container, make sure it is not hot. If you bought something that just came out from the oven, let it cool for several minutes before sealing and transferring it to a bread box.
2. Seal packaged bread tightly
To slow down the molding process, always seal packaged bread tightly.
If the product comes in a plastic bag, remove the air first. Push along the outside of the package gently. Once the air is gone, tie it back up with the small or plastic clip it came with.
For loaves and other types of bread that are not packaged in plastic, transfer them in sealable bags. This will help keep them fresher longer and prevent the start of molds.
3. Keep bread in a cool and dark place
Light, heat, and humidity are all bad for bread but excellent for fungi or mold growth. Because of this, always place baked products in a cool, dark place.
Below are the three best places for storing bread:
- Kitchen or pantry cabinet
In case there is space in your cupboard for your loaf and other types of bread, use it as your storage area. However, make sure they are tightly sealed. Additionally, place them in a bread box or airtight container to protect them from pests.
Make sure to clean the shelf regularly as well to reduce the risk of attracting pests.
Many new homes have modern kitchens with cupboards that have deep bread drawers. These kitchen fixtures have lids that tightly seal the unit.
Because of this, these drawers are the best storage options for bread. They protect stored goods from light, heat, and humidity, thus preventing the growth of molds.
- Bread box
Bread boxes are must-haves for any kitchen. These containers are specially made to keep bread protected from light and other elements that cause early-onset spoilage and molds.
When buying a bread box, select a size that can hold not only a loaf but the other types of baked goods you regularly purchase. Think about where you will place it and how much space it will require. Lastly, check the item’s construction for durability since the door or lid will get a lot of traffic.
4. Store bread in the freezer
Your fridge or chest freezer, if you have one, is the best place for storing bread. When you freeze bread, you prevent starch retrogradation allowing the product to stay in a stable state longer and avoid fungi.
However, wrap the bread in plastic before storing it in the freezer. Additionally, avoid freezing large stocks of bread since they tend to get freezer burn and develop frost. Store slices or portions you are sure you won’t consume in the next three or four days in the freezer.
When you’re ready to use or eat frozen bread, put it in a toaster or oven to heat it. Make sure the reheated item is consumed immediately.
To prolong the freshness of your bread and other baked goods, and ensure they are ready and safe to eat anytime, follow the tips listed above.