Food Talk And Fabulous Finds - Keep Bread Fresh?

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05-06-2006, 01:46 AM
What is the best way to keep bread from spoiling? I'd be using a loaf of whole wheat for sandwiches in a place without a dependable refrigerator or freezer.

05-08-2006, 01:32 PM
This has been an issue with me, since I've chosen to manage my dietary changes through portion control instead for choice limitation. The upside is that I still get to eat bread, milk, pasta, cheese what have you... the downside is that I'm dealing with more spoilage issues.

Here are some hints I've "discovered":

1: If possible, bake your own bread (actually very easy and doesn't take that long) or at the very least, buy un-sliced loaves. The part of the loaf that has not been exposed with slicing will stay fresh longer. I have been baking my own bread and using 1/2 recipies so that I have smaller slices for sandwiches (I can always have 2 if I feel the need).

2: Consider trying some of the "crustier" breads. Their hard outer coating keeps them fresh longer, and they have a very satisfying "toothiness" that helps me when I feel snacky.

3: Store bread in plastic wrapped as tighly to the bread as possible. The less air around the bread, the longer it will remain fresh. Then, consider buying a bread box to keep the wrapped bread in, so that it is protected from air movement as much as possible. (Just make sure to clean out your bread box regularly.)

Don't: try to make bread with sugar substitutes and expect it to stay fresh for very long at all. Sugar is the main moisture retention force in bread. I have tried quite a few times with making a sugar-free (or nearly so) bread, and have not been very happy with the results.

If after this (and any other advice people offer), you do come across bread that is stale, you can reheat it gently to "relax" the glutens and make the bread softer (just use it right away for best result) or go ahead and toast it before use. (Makes a great sandwich!)

05-08-2006, 07:21 PM
This comes directly from my "Professional Baking" textbook. It's the 4th edition by Wayne Gisslen page 14-15 (if you are interested.)

"Staling begins almost as soon as the baked items are taken from the oven. There are, apparently, two factors in staling. The first is loss of moisture, or drying. This is apparent, for example, when a slice of fresh bread is left exposed to air. It soon becomes dry to the touch.

The second factor is a chemical change in the structure of the starch. This process, called starch retrogradation, occurs even when little or no moisture is lost. This means that even a well-wrapped loaf of bread will eventually stale.

Chemical staling is rapid at refrigerator temperatures, but it nearly stops at freezer temperatures. Thus, bread should not be stored in the refrigerator. It should be left at room temperature for short-term storage or frozen for long-term storage."

There are 4 main techniques to slow staling... protect the bread from air... warming in oven right before serving... adding moisture retainers to the recipe (fats and sugars)... freezing. Adding more fats and/or sugars shouldn't really be an option if you are trying to be healthier, and explains why some breads have alot of added sugar. Heating the bread in the oven only really helps if it's a chemical stale, but this should only be done before eating since it will pull more moisture out of the bread.

(Did I mention I want to be a pastry chef? :D)

Hope this helps!

05-08-2006, 07:29 PM
My mother freezes bread, but as I don't have access to a freezer, it's impossible!

But your suggestions were all very helpful. If anyone else has more, please tell! Thank you very much!