Although homemade bread and organic bakery products are delicious, the plain truth is that most store-bought breads will last longer. But, there are some tricks you can use to keep any bread fresher longer.
Commercially prepared loaves of store-bought bread typically contain a preservative to keep the molding process from starting too early. These preservatives are often unnatural sounding things like calcium propionate (an antimycotic). Antimycotics inhibit the growth of fungi. Sounds scary, but if your bread machine in the corner is collecting dust, store-bought is often the easy go-to choice.
Scientists who exist solely to research bread (yes, really!) say the denser the bread, the slower the molding process. So the more common brands of white bread might start to mold a little faster than some dense whole-grain breads—but maybe not. It’s really the preservatives that count most.
Whether you’re a fan of store-bought white, whole wheat, or bakery-fresh whole grain, there are ways to keep bread from molding.
Help for Mold
Mold is ugly fungi — something no one wants to eat. No matter how many preservatives are in it, all bread will eventually mold. If you keep it on your kitchen counter, bread will mold at exactly the same pace—whether or not it is in a bread box. Of course if you make your own and skip the preservatives, the bread will mold even faster.
So what’s the trick to keep bread from molding? That big thing in your kitchen that holds your milk, butter and eggs. Yep -- your fridge.
By keeping the bread in a cool and dark place, it will last longer and stay fresh. Heat, humidity and light are all bad for bread but great for fungi or mold, so consider your fridge your best bet to keep your bread fresh and yummy.
Tightly sealing the bread also helps slow the molding process. Gently push along the outside of the plastic bag to rid the bag of air and tie it back up with that little wire thing you punctured your finger on when you first opened it. Place homemade or bakery-purchased loaves in sealable bags. Your bread will stay fresh longer, no matter what type it is.
Of course you can always freeze your bread, too. To thaw, you will need to remove the amount you plan to use., separate the slices, cover them loosely with a napkin, and let them come to room temperature on the counter. Bread generally thaws quickly – and goes stale quickly too — so keep an eye on it.
Note that if you keep it sealed and try to thaw bread in the fridge, the bread often absorbs too much moisture, and wet bread does not make for pleasant eating. A good alternative is to purchase a fancy toaster with a defrost or frozen setting.
Whether making your own or running out to the store, remember these tips to keep bread fresh for many days of happy sandwich-making.
Homemade Bread Recipes
Hungry for homemade bread? Try these recipes!
Want even more info on baking bread? Read this Bread 101
article by Stephanie, Tablespoon's bread blogger (a.k.a. smwise