A fresh slice of homemade bread is one of the best things in the world, but it never lasts long. During the summer months and warmer climates, mold often devours our baked goods before we will be able to finish them!
I can’t believe how quickly those hours of dough-making, kneading, folding, and baking have been gone.
So, how do you keep bread from molding? Mold can grow on bread if it is not stored correctly. Store your bread in a bread bin, cloth bread bag, or even a paper bag. By storing it in an airtight container, you will reduce the chances of the bread being damaged by excessive heat, sunlight, and oxygen.
To help you prevent bread mold growth, we have made this ultimate guide.
Mold requires certain elements to grow and multiply, and various methods to remove them. Following that, we will examine the best methods of storing data and another trick that can help slow the growth rate.
What Creates Mold?
Understanding the causes of mold on bread is the first step in preventing it from growing. This will avoid the initial factors, extending the shelf life.
On bread, there are many kinds of mold that grow, but they can all be found on other foods.
By consuming organic compounds on a food item’s surface, mold spores form in the absence of oxygen. By consuming organic compounds on a food item’s surface, mold eventually forms.
Penicillium, Cladosporium, and black bread mold are the most common types of bread mold. Each of them forms and grows in the same way.
An oxygen supply, water, nutrients, temperature, and time are four factors that greatly influence the growth of mold.
As mold grows, it must first find a food source that is moist. Moist ingredients can be found in both raw and cooked foods.
Which would you most likely see mold on, if compared to a strawberry, or dried pasta? Strawberries, obviously! That is because the spores can grow and multiply in the moist environment there.
Nutrients are also found in moisture. The spores are more likely to grow on sweet ingredients, like strawberries, compared to dried pasta.
Different types of bread are susceptible to this principle; banana bread laden with sugar will grow mold faster than brown bread.
In addition to water, mold requires oxygen. In order to thrive and survive, spores require oxygen. By eliminating it, they will grow significantly slower!
Food is stored at a particular temperature, which is essential. Microbial growth differs depending on the temperature.
Between 40 and 140°F (4-60°C) there is a danger zone. Almost anything stored in this range will become moldy.
In order for mold to grow best, room temperature should be between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit (20-22 degrees Celsius). Mold will grow the fastest here and make bread more susceptible to spoiling.
At freezing temperature, most molds will die; the colder it gets, the slower the mold will grow.
In the case of mold growth, time is also a factor to consider. In unfavorable conditions, ingredients can grow mold if left out for too long.
How to Prevent Mold from Growing on Bread
It is possible to prevent or at least delay the growth of mold on bread by removing even one of the above-mentioned factors.
Bread can be stored in an airtight container or in an oxygen-restricted area to remove oxygen. Keep your bread in cooler areas and outside of the temperature danger zone to control temperature.
Furthermore, your bread should be eaten as soon as possible to prevent the spores from multiplying and growing.
We’ll share some of the best strategies you can use to extend the shelf life of your bread and prevent mold from growing!
Did you ever wonder what a breadbox was for? In addition to looking more aesthetically pleasing, they are actually more effective at eliminating some mold-growth factors than plastic bags.
Bread is protected from the light by these boxes. Temperature is raised inside the bread bags by light, and moisture is also added.
This is a very important factor in the growth of mold. Mold can also be inhibited from growing by reducing oxygen.
In these bread boxes, you can place a loaf of bread (without the bag, of course) that creates the ideal amount of air circulation to prevent mold from growing, while also maintaining enough humidity to prevent it from drying out fully.
We recommend buying a bread box made of enamel or ceramic (this is one of our favorites) because they can be sterilized whereas wood boxes can trap mold between their grains.
The method artisanal shops use for storing and selling their products may be helpful if you ever need to determine the right way to store ingredients. Many people use cloth bread bags and brown paper bags for their effectiveness.
Plastic bags should not be used since they are airtight and build up moisture inside them.
Both brown paper bags and parchment wrapping paper make it possible to ventilate the loaf while simultaneously preventing it from drying out.
Cloth bags work well for white French bread (semi-hard bread), while paper bags work best for bread with a hard crust or crispy crust.
Keep your bread inside a fridge
This method of storing goods is controversial, especially when it comes to baking goods such as breads.
However, slicing the bread causes it to get stale, since it causes the bread to dry out and bacteria cannot grow.
However, it also decreases the oxygen levels and light that mold needs for growth.
Whenever you are planning to use your bread soon (within a few days), utilize a bag or plastic bag. Using this method is not the best or most appropriate solution for long-term problems.
Storing your bread in a freezer
A loaf of bread should be frozen as soon as possible to prevent mold growth. By freezing, the bread will also stay fresh for months.
It cuts off all light, reduces oxygen flow, and has virtually no liquid moisture inside.
To facilitate removing slices as needed, one must pre-slice their loaf before freezing.
Place your loaf in a freezer-safe bag or wrap it in plastic or saran wrap. You can store your bread for 2-3 months in the freezer if there are no fluctuations in the temperature.
Additional Tips & Tricks
Regardless of how you decide to store your bread, try not to use plastic bags. It provides a ton of moisture at a temperature that supports mold growth in plastic bags.
It is best to keep a plastic bag open to prevent moisture from building up, and keep it away from direct sunlight.
Bread should be stored at room temperature inside a drawer or food cupboard, away from direct sunlight.
Temperature cannot be controlled, so store it where it is cooler. Furthermore, cabinets prevent direct sunlight from heating up the packet and causing condensation inside.
Mold will grow faster on softer and more moist bread than on harder and darker bread. Sourdough and ciabatta will grow mold faster than white bread (like the typical white loaf or baguette).
Sweeter ingredients provide more energy than saltier or acidic ones, so high sugar bread will also grow mold faster.
Bread should not be pre-sliced unless it is being frozen. Instead, slice it as needed. The more surface area on the loaf you create, the more chance of mold growing.
Toasting the slices or making croutons are good methods to use if you have bread that has sat out too long. Stuffing is also a great option. Read our article on bread stuffing for some interesting ideas.
When it comes to the shelf life of bread, the storage method directly affects it. A fresh loaf of bread (without preservatives) stored at room temperature goes stale after 2-3 days.
The shelf life of bread made commercially is 5-7 days at room temperature.
You can extend the shelf life of bread by storing it in the fridge for up to 10 days, but it will dry out on its own before it becomes a moldy food.
Bread can be frozen for up to 3 months, but it can also be defrosted and re-heated easily.