How To Keep Your Bread Fresh
Posted on December 22 2023
Picture this. It’s Sunday afternoon, and you’re in the mood for toast. Now that it’s gone through your mind, you can’t stop thinking about it. The melty, buttery goodness has you salivating as you walk to the counter to toast your slice.
But alas. Mould.
How many times has this happened to you? Twice? Two hundred times?
You’re over it. And we get it! ‘How to keep bread fresh’ is right up there with ‘How to cut your own bangs’. That’s why we at Urban Ethos scoured every single article online to award the top three choices for keeping your bread nice and fresh throughout the week.
Sounds too good to be true? It might be. Of course, these hacks won’t make the loaf last for the rest of the millennium – but it sure will make sure you have toast to butter. Read on to see who makes it to the podium.
In Third Place: Keeping It In Fridge
Storing bread in the fridge is often thought to be a good way to extend its freshness, but it can actually have the opposite effect. Here's why:
Staling Process Acceleration
Bread stales more rapidly in the refrigerator than at room temperature. Why? Time for some bread science. This is due to a process called retrogradation, where the starch molecules in the bread crystallise faster in cold temperatures. This crystallisation makes the bread hard and stale.
Refrigerators tend to dehydrate items over time. Bread, being porous, can lose moisture and become dry and tough when stored in the fridge.
Cold temperatures can alter the flavour of the bread. The subtle flavours that make fresh bread so appealing can be diminished or altered when the bread is stored in a cold environment.
While refrigeration slows mould growth, it doesn't stop it. Bread can still develop mould in the fridge, especially if it's stored for more than a week.
Again, with the mould. Can’t we have anything nice? Yes, you can! Starting with number two.
In Second Place: Storing Bread in Containers
Placing bread in a food storage container is often considered the second-best method for keeping it mould-free and fresh. Here's how it works:
A good bread container, often referred to as a bread box or bin, is designed to maintain the right balance of moisture. It keeps the air inside just humid enough to prevent the bread from drying out, but not so humid that it encourages mold growth.
The best containers for bread storage allow for some air circulation, which helps to prevent condensation from building up inside the container. This is important because excess moisture can lead to mould growth. Containers with a small air vent or made of materials like wood or clay that naturally allow for air movement are ideal.
Light and Temperature Control
Bread containers also help protect the bread from light and excessive temperature changes. Exposure to light and fluctuating temperatures can accelerate the staling process and promote mould growth. A container keeps the bread in a consistent, dark environment, which helps prolong its freshness.
Different materials offer different benefits. For example, a wooden bread box can absorb excess moisture and then release it slowly, which helps maintain an optimal environment. Metal or sustainable plastic containers might not absorb moisture but can still provide a good seal against external factors.
Size and Capacity
It's important to choose a container that's the right size for the amount of bread you typically store. Too large a container for a small amount of bread can lead to more air circulation than needed, potentially drying out the bread.
Hygiene and Maintenance
Regular cleaning of the bread container is crucial. Bread crumbs and any residue should be removed frequently to prevent mould spores from developing.
So, is there a location where you can keep bread at home that would make it next to impossible for mould to get to? We think we have an answer to that.
In First Place: The Coldest Place on Earth
Did you guess it yet?
The humble freezer. Cold, fresh, and often crammed with forgotten frozen fruits, steak and vegetables. Time to add some carbs to the list and throw your loaf in there. But why is it the perfect place to store your bread long term?
Slows Down Staling
Freezing bread significantly slows down the staling process. Freezing halts crystallisation almost entirely, preserving the bread's texture and taste.
Maintains Freshness Upon Thawing
When you thaw frozen bread, it can often taste just as fresh as the day it was baked. The key is to freeze the bread while it's still fresh, ideally on the same day of purchase or baking.
Prevents Mould Growth
Mould requires certain environmental conditions to grow, including warmth and moisture. By freezing bread, you effectively halt growth, as mould cannot develop in such cold temperatures.
To get the best results when freezing bread, wrap it tightly in fresh paper or a food storage container to prevent freezer burn and to keep out any odours from the freezer.
Problem solved!If you’re keen to learn more about Urban Ethos’ eco-conscious kitchen items, explore our catalogue today.