Bread is likely the most common food in homes, villages and cities around the world. Every culture has developed their own bread recipes, and some have developed recipes specifically to extend shelf-life. In this article, we’ll cover a range of factors that affect shelf life. We’ll also share some recipes.
Factors That Impact Shelf Life
The primary cause of bread spoilage is mold. Every loaf contains dormant spores, waiting for the right conditions to grow. This resulting fungus or bread mold can actually be toxic. In fact, yeast — a primary ingredient in many bread recipes — is a form of fungus. As warm water, sugar and flour come in contact with the yeast, it feeds and reproduces. This causes the yeast to give off a waste product: carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide is what causes a bread to rise and give it a soft texture and larger size.
The good news is that yeast is somewhat benign when it comes to spoilage. Throughout the day spores are drifting through the air in our kitchens and pantries; all it takes is one spore to come in contact with a slice or a loaf, and the mold begins to grow. That’s one reason why it’s so important to keep bread sealed in a plastic bag or at least wrapped in paper. If bread is carelessly put into the bread drawer, bin or pantry without being properly sealed, the spores have free access to the loaf.
But even when properly sealed in an airtight bag, there are other factors affecting bread shelf life:
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