Bread lovers around the world are constantly trying to squeeze just a few more days of shelf life out of their favorite loaves, trying different wrapping and storage techniques with varying degrees of success.
Bread boxes and plastic wrap may help a bit, but what about the big and powerful refrigerator you have right there in your kitchen?
We store fruits, veggies, and proteins in the fridge, but bread is typically excluded. Is there any reason why you couldn’t store bread in there, and what would happen if you did?
Let’s discuss in detail the effects of refrigeration on bread, give you some tips on how to store your bread in the fridge, and explain why the healthiest bread in the world is best suited for refrigerator storage.
What Happens To Bread In The Fridge?
Anyone with a history of buying, storing, and enjoying bread knows that there never seems to be enough time before the loaf expires, whether it’s baked at home or bought fresh from the nearby cafe.
Even the plastic-bagged bread from the center aisle of the grocery store doesn’t last more than a week at most, and that’s including the sugars and preservatives designed to extend the shelf life of these commercial products.
That’s why so many of us keep dedicated bread boxes in our kitchens, use resealable plastic bread bags, and take other active measures to make our bread last longer and make sure not a single slice goes to waste.
While these on-the-counter storage methods can buy your bread a couple of extra days, nothing gives it that extra longevity like storing bread in the refrigerator.
By keeping your bread in the fridge, you can add anywhere between five days to two weeks to your bread’s lifespan, depending on the type of bread and the way you store it.
What happens to bread in the fridge requires a quick science lesson.
According to famous food scientist Nathan Myhrvold, bread placed in the refrigerator starts to undergo a chemical process known as starch retrogradation, which occurs due to the re-crystallization of the starch and water molecules in the crumb of the bread.
This process is why refrigerated bread takes on a tough, stale texture in the fridge and why many people seem to think that bread is better stored on the countertop or in a box.
In truth, the bread is actually protected from going stale when kept in the fridge, and that hardening is simply the bread’s natural reaction to the cold temperatures.
While you will lose a bit of the original texture and flavor by storing your bread in the refrigerator, it’s worth preventing mold and other forms of degradation that completely ruin the bread for further use.
If you want to make your bread last even longer and stop staling and mold in their tracks, freezing your bread is the way to go. Freezing causes rapid crystallization of the starch, which basically hits the pause button on the chemical processes of normal, room-temp bread.
Just remember that when you take the bread out of the freezer, let it thaw out in the fridge overnight and avoid leaving it out on the counter because it will get soggy.
Fridge Storage Tips To Make Bread Last
If you decide to try storing bread in the fridge, there are a few things you need to know upfront.
First of all, wrapping your bread is key, especially if it’s in a solid loaf form. You’ll want to use at least two layers of kitchen wrap (one plastic, one wax) and ensure that no air or moisture makes its way into the creases of the protective material.
Some folks like to use a resealable plastic bag as a final outer layer before storing their bread in the fridge, and this might add a bit of extra protection.
Next, find a part of your refrigerator where your bread will remain dry and undisturbed, ideally at a cooler temperature than the rest of the cabinet. If you plan on making bread storage a regular thing, dedicate a specific drawer to bread only, and give it a label, so nobody gets confused.
If you effectively wrap and store your bread in the fridge, you can add up to five full days to the longevity of your loaf, which makes a big difference if you’re trying to reduce waste and keep track of your budget and inventory.
Just remember that as soon as you revive your bread, you’ll have a worse chance of the bread returning to normal after more time in the fridge, so try to finish it off ASAP.
An easy way to address this problem is by individually wrapping and sealing bread slices and storing them in the fridge for quick and easy access. It’s a bit time consuming to slice and wrap slices one at a time, but the time and effort you save in the long run are worth it.
Plus, you won’t run the risk of letting bread go to waste if you wrap slices one by one, and you’ll have a clearer idea of your bread inventory at any given time.
Experiment with different ways of slicing, wrapping, and storing your bread in the fridge or freezer to see what combinations and methods work best for the bread of your choice.
Not every bread is going to react the same way to various conditions and surroundings, so it will take a bit of trial and error to figure out the best technique. Keep a mental note of the most effective methods and take the scientific method into your own hands!
Bring Your Bread Back To Life
You know why bread lasts longer in the refrigerator, and you have an idea about how to make it last, but what’s the best way to restore loaves and slices to room temperature and enjoy it as soon as possible?
It all starts by taking the bread out of the fridge and unwrapping it completely, allowing the room temperature to gradually thaw out those starch crystals and restore some of that softness.
You may be tempted to immediately toss the loaf into the microwave and hit the defrost button, but that is only going to sabotage your efforts. The water and starch will heat up too fast, causing your bread to become soggy from the inside out and virtually useless.
The on-the-counter thawing method is a way better course of action, even if you have to wait some extra time for the consistency to feel normal. From there, you can slice and enjoy the bread as you like, but we recommend giving it some time in the toaster oven to trade that slight staleness for a crispy crunch.
Even if you use your bread to make french toast or a grilled cheese sandwich, the heat and fat from cooking with those other ingredients will help bring the refrigerated bread back to life, and you’ll barely notice the minimal hardening that took place during storage.
Just like storage methods, embrace experimentation when it comes to restoring and reviving bread from the freezer or the fridge. You will find the best techniques for each type of bread and prevent your purchases from going to waste.
Healthy Bread That Lasts in the Fridge
The laws of nature suggest that homemade bread doesn’t last as long as bakery bread and that store-bought bread containing preservatives has the longest shelf life of them all.
But what if there was a truly healthy bread that not only lasted long in the fridge but also tasted just as good and maintained its optimal texture when mealtime rolls around?
Storage, longevity, and convenience were some of our main goals when we formulated our Superfood Bread, which is quickly becoming one of the most popular low-carb, gluten-free bread products on the market.
Not only is this bread packed with an amazing macronutrient profile and fits nearly all dietary needs, but it also has an exceptional lifespan on the countertop, in the fridge, and in the freezer.
At room temperature in a plastic bag, our famous Superfood Cubes last up to a week, maintaining their nutty, sourdough flavor and chewy texture. In the fridge, you can keep these loaves fresh for up to a month, and they last up to six whole months in the freezer!
You can chop and slice this bread any which way, then wrap and store the pieces however you want for maximum convenience and speed. Plus, with our delivery system, you’ll never run out of amazing bread.
The fridge is an underrated way to store bread and keep it fresh for a long time, even if it requires some extra labor to extend the shelf life.
Try storing your favorite store-bought bread or our Superfood Bread and make the most out of every slice!