Everyone loves to have bread, but sometimes it’s hard to keep it in your house because it seems to go stale fast.
Have you ever bought a loaf of bread and had it go stale before you’ve had the chance to finish it all? This happens to a lot of people and it can actually be a pretty frustrating thing.
Why does bread go stale in the first place, and what can be done to prevent it from happening?
Keep reading to learn more.
The Science Behind Bread Going Stale
The science behind bread going stale isn’t too hard to wrap your head around. When bread is kept in a cooler environment, it’s going to go through retrogradation faster. Bread has a lot of starch in it and this means that more crystals are going to form in bread that will make it become stale fast.
Bread isn’t the same as many other foods where you will be able to keep it fresh for longer periods of time by refrigerating it. It will actually go stale faster if you choose to keep bread in a refrigerator or another part of your home that gets particularly cold. This can be a bit annoying, but it is what it is for the most part.
When these crystals start to form in your bread, it’s going to make the bread become harder and more difficult to eat. The edges of your bread might be a lot harder than usual and parts of it might even start to become crunchy.
Needless to say, eating stale bread is not all that pleasant and most people will just throw it out at this point.
Bread will also go stale when kept in a room-temperature environment or hot environment. When your bread has been exposed to the air, the process of it beginning to rot will begin.
It’s only going to be a matter of time before the bread will become stale even under the best conditions.
Ideally, you’re going to want to keep it away from hot places since that will make things worse. It’s also not a good idea to store it in very cold places since that doesn’t help the situation.
Room temperature is fine, but it’s still going to slowly go stale no matter what you do.
What Can Be Done to Keep Bread Fresh for Longer Periods of Time?
When you want to keep your bread fresh for longer periods of time, it’s going to be important to store it properly.
As mentioned earlier, bread is going to start the rotting process when it is exposed to air. If you keep your bread in an airtight container, that is going to help it to stay fresh for a good while longer.
This is why many people choose to buy bread boxes or special bread containers that lock bread up in an airtight environment. If you manage to do this, it will stay fresh for a good bit longer.
If you don’t do a good job of storing your bread somewhere safe, then it’s not going to stay fresh for very long at all.
If you’re trying to keep normal bread that you bought from the store fresh, you should at least try to put the slices back in the plastic baggie that it came in.
Try to wrap the bread up tightly without allowing too much air to get in. This will help to prevent it from going stale faster than it normally should.
Sometimes it might be beneficial to keep your bread away from other things and out of your way. You could store it inside of your microwave when it isn’t in use if that would be convenient for you.
Otherwise, having a shelf in your pantry that is dedicated to bread should be fine.
You really just want to try to keep it away from moisture to avoid any problems. It’s also important to keep it away from really hot or cold places.
Just try to make logical choices for storing your bread and you shouldn’t have too many problems getting it to last as long as it can without going stale.
Don’t Buy Too Much Bread
Remember that bread is going to go stale no matter what you decide to do. This is a food item with a finite lifespan and you don’t want to buy too much of it because of that.
If you want to avoid wasting bread, then it might be best to buy only one loaf at a time.
If you buy too much, the likelihood of a lot of that bread going to waste is going to be much higher. It’s annoying to have to waste things that you spent money on, and this is why you should be practical with your purchases.
If you’re someone who prefers to bake fresh bread, then only bake the amount that you think you can use or eat before it will go stale.
Making good choices as a consumer will help you to keep from wasting food. If you need bread for your lunches, just buy what you need to make sandwiches.
You might go through more loaves if everyone in your household regularly eats it but if you only eat it sparingly, it’s going to be better to buy very little.
Now you know a lot more about why bread goes stale and what you can do to try to get it to stay fresh for longer.
Even knowing all the little tricks won’t keep it preserved forever. You generally aren’t going to get it to last for weeks at a time, and it’s better to just accept that bread has a short lifespan so that you can plan accordingly.
Enjoy your bread while it is fresh and try to store it as well as you can. Beyond that, there really isn’t much that you can do. At least you know what to expect now and you will be able to make good decisions about bread purchases.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.