If you like getting bread from a local bakery, a supermarket, or you bake it yourself, all your bread will go moldy for the same reasons. It’s important that you put your bread in the right environment so it can last longer.
Homemade or organic bread will have the shortest life in your kitchen before it starts to go bad because it doesn’t have added preservatives, but that’s not to say that storebought bread can’t go bad just as fast.
If the conditions are right, all bread can get moldy in the same timeframe, so it’s a good idea for you to find out what causes bread to go moldy and what you can do about it.
The most common causes of bread going moldy too fast are moisture and heat. The best thing you can do to make your bread last longer is to store it in a cool, dry place like a bread bin or a cupboard. Leaving your bread in a humid or warm environment will increase the rate at which it molds.
There are certain ideal conditions you should aim to keep your bread in to ensure that it can last longer before going moldy or stale. As obvious as it sounds, you want to aim to avoid conditions that promote mold growth.
Although it’s obvious, some people will still store their bread in places like metal breadbins, which heats up easily, or plastic bags, which can hold moisture, so it’s a good idea to evaluate your situation and fix any bad bread-storing habits so you can make it last longer.
What You Can Do To Extend The Life Of Your Bread
To keep your bread fresh for longer, it’s important that you keep your it in the best conditions possible. People will often make the mistake of storing their bread in their fridge, a plastic bag, or in a warm bread bin, but these can all lead to your bread going bad faster.
What you’re aiming for is to create the ideal balanced environment so it’s not too warm, wet, or light. You want an environment that doesn’t help the production of yeast at all. This can be done easily, but people can make plenty of mistakes. Here’s what you should be doing to help your bread last longer.
The Environment Needs To Be Dark And Cool
Placing your bread somewhere that doesn’t have any light shining on it and it’s room temperature or slightly cooler will aid in protecting it from developing mold too quickly.
You can place your dough in an appropriate bread bin, cupboard, or drawer to keep it in the right conditions and help it last longer.
Make Sure Everything Is Dry
With bread, you need to avoid moisture and humidity as much as possible. Exposing your bread to too much moisture is just inviting bacteria to thrive on your bread and it’ll only be a matter of days before the mold starts to grow.
You’ll want to keep the air dry and store the bread somewhere with other dry products like pasta and rice. Avoid storing the loaf in any kind of airtight container if it shows obvious signs of moisture.
Avoid The Fridge
Some people like to store their bread in the fridge because they think it lasts longer. The issue with this is that keeping bread in the fridge can actually do the opposite and shorten its life.
When bread is kept in the fridge, it can either become moldy or stale depending on how dry or humid the fridge is. Either way, you can’t do much with your bread if it has gone bad in the fridge.
Keep It Airtight
Since moisture is in the air, bread can become moldy from just being left out. For this reason, it’s a good idea to keep your dough in some sort of airtight container or bag to make sure that there’s not too much humidity around it.
You need to be careful when using plastic bags and containers when storing these airtight as they can actually make the situation worse.
You need to be sure that your bread isn’t too moist when you store it in something airtight as this can actually accelerate the growth of mold by creating an ideal environment for it.
Try to avoid keeping your bread in metal containers too. Whether it’s a bread bin or a box, it can heat up quickly if left in the wrong area and can actually promote mold production by increasing the overall temperature.
Start Using A Fabric/Paper Bread Bag
Storing your bread in a cotton bag is far superior to anything plastic. This kind of bag will keep your bread from getting too warm and humid since it allows a good amount of airflow, but not too much.
Paper bags can also have the same effect on your bread. If you get some bread in a brown paper bag, keep it inside it and it will help absorb excess moisture and therefore keep your bread good for longer.
Don’t Pre-Slice It If You’re Not Eating It Right Away
Slicing all of your bread if you don’t intend to eat it on the same day isn’t a great idea. This creates more surface area and therefore increases the likelihood of the bread developing mold.
Instead, whenever you want some of the bread, you should slice it from the middle and push the two sides together whenever you’re done with it. This just leaves the crust exposed whilst keeping the interior relatively safe from mold growth.
Keep It In The Freezer For When You Need It
This is my personal favorite way to store bread if it’s not going to be eaten within a few days. Freezing bread is great, especially when it’s fresh. It preserves that fresh taste for a couple of months and isn’t too diffiuclt to defrost.
Bread is best frozen when it’s cut into slice, so cut it up into the thickness you want it. Once you’ve cut it, you can either lay the slices of bread in a flat layer in the freezer or stack them on top of each other with parchment paper between each slice. After 30-60 minutes of freezing, you should take it out the freezer and put it into an airtight freezable bag.
To defrost the bread, you can simply leave each slice out for 15-30 minutes until it’s at room temperature or you can put it in your toaster on the defrost setting.
If you’re defrosting something like a roll, you can take it out of the freezer and put it straight into a cold oven. Simply preheat your oven to the appropriate temperature and leave the bread in there until it’s completely preheated. This will give you a warm and lovely piece of bread.
How You Can Make Bread That Lasts Longer
If you’re making your own bread and it’s not lasting as long as you’d like it to, don’t worry. You can change up the recipe a little to allow your bread to last longer after you bake it.
There are certain ingredients you can add to your recipe that change the characteristics of the bread and help it to have a longer shelflife.
Add Some Form Of Fat
Adding some form of fat to your dough recipe can add some difference to the texture of the bread and can help it last a little longer.
Whether it’s oil or butter that you’re adding, it’s going to be able to make up for any moisture loss and keep your bread tasting fresh and soft for a few days after you bake it.
It may not protect your dough against mold growth, but it can make your bread tastier for longer so it gets eaten sooner.
Start Using Sourdough
Some bulk fermented traditional sourdough can actually last longer because it discourages bacteria.
The natural acidity that’s built up in the sourdough keeps bacteria away and therefore prevents mold from developing too soon.
It tastes great and it lasts longer, so what’s not to love?
Create A Denser Loaf With Wholegrains
Making a bread with a more dense crumb will have a longer life before it starts to mold.
You can make a denser loaf by either using less water or whole grain flours. Personally, I’d recommend you go the wholegrain bread route as they have plenty of nutrients and they’re still tasty even if they are denser.