Fresh whole grain breads are one of the healthiest components of a normal diet. Bread, however, will grow stale through time and when it is kept exposed to air. This means that bread cannot be stocked in large quantities, since it will spoil. Bread products that do not use preservatives are especially at risk of molds and quickly growing stale. These, however, are also the healthiest bread products. Here are some steps to make your bread last longer and stay fresh after days.
- Air tight containers. Bread is a very fragile food product. When left exposed to the open air, it will grow stale and dry. Bread naturally has a spongy structure which permits plenty of air to penetrate the bread. This causes the bread to dry out. If the air in your house is humid, it can also cause the bread to become foggy. The airborne dirt particles can also come into contact with bread and cause it to become tasteless and stale. Because of this, one of the first steps to ensuring a longer shelf life for your bread is to store it in air tight containers.
- Food wraps. Another way to keep your bread fresh is by using food wraps. Food wraps are either paper with one part covered in a thin layer of wax to keep the air out, or plastic. These food wraps will hug your bread tightly and push out any air pockets. This will keep your food fresh and tasty. Food wraps are also ideal if you have little space for clunky air tight tins and plastic containers. Make sure, however, that you take the bread out of the paper bags used by most bakeries and bread shops. These paper bags are not enough to keep the air out and the bread fresh.
- Refrigerate. Cooling down your bread through refrigeration will keep molds from forming. Bread is prone to molds since bacteria and other healthy germs are actually used in bread making. Yeast, for instance, is a microorganism that is added to bread to make it rise. Cooking will kill off the yeast, but residues will remain. Under very low temperatures, however, the molds will not grow. Keep in mind, however, that you should still keep the bread in air tight containers or food wraps before storing in the freezer, especially since the refrigerator can quickly make the bread stale.
- Let fresh bread cool down. Before storing the bread in wraps, air tight containers, or in the refrigerator, make sure that it is cools down naturally in room temperature. During the cooling process, excess moisture will escape from the bread. If you refrigerate or store the bread immediately after baking, the moisture can become droplets of water that will seep back into the bread, leading to soggy slices.
These are some of the basic steps that you can take to ensure that your bread remains as fresh as long as possible. Keep in mind, however, that different types of bread products have different shelf lives. For certain types of pastries and breads, immediate consumption is the only way to keep them fresh.