Does Bread Go Bad? How Long Does Bread Last?

Bread is a very versatile and popular food to enjoy. You might be wondering how long your bread is going to last; read on to find out!

Quick Answer

No matter how you keep your bread, it will eventually go bad.

  • As with most foods, putting your bread in the freezer will give it the longest shelf-life. Frozen bread will last for around three months.
  • Store-bought bread will generally last longer than homemade bread; refrigerated store-bought bread will last for seven to twelve days, while refrigerated home-made bread will last for five to eight days.
  • It is very important that you keep your bread wrapped up to enjoy its maximum shelf life.

The way that you store your bread, along with whether it is home-made or store-bought, will affect its shelf life. Let’s explore some of the different ways that bread is stored to demonstrate this.

Does Bread Go Bad? How Long Does Bread Last?

Bread will last for only a week or two when kept unfrozen, while frozen bread can last for a few months. Depending on your circumstances, you might choose to keep your bread in one of the following ways.

How Long Does Bread Last Outside?

You can keep your bread outside, but it’s very important that you keep it in a cool, dry place that never is exposed to direct sunlight. This will help ensure your bread doesn’t spoil prematurely.

It doesn’t really matter too much how warm or cold out it is, since bread can be kept at room temperature, refrigerated, or frozen. Just make sure that it isn’t exposed to a lot of heat; if you’re expecting a particularly warm day, bring your bread inside.

If kept away from direct sunlight, out of the heat, and dry, bread can last for anywhere from a few days to up to three months outside, depending on temperature levels. Higher temperatures will mean a shorter shelf life, while lower temperatures will extend your bread’s shelf life.

How Long Does Bread Last in the Fridge?

You may have been told by someone or seen somewhere online that you shouldn’t put bread in the fridge, since it makes it go stale faster. This is really only true if you don’t store your bread properly; if done correctly, refrigerating bread can actually extend its shelf life.

Because of the preservatives present in it, store-bought bread will last longer in the fridge than home-made bread. When kept this way, store-bought bread will typically last for around seven to twelve days.

Home-made bread will still last for a decent amount of time when kept in the fridge, even if it isn’t as long as its store-bought counterpart. Home-made bread will last for five to eight days in the fridge.

How Long Does Bread Last in the Freezer?

Regardless of if your bread is store-bought or home-made, freezing it will extend its shelf-life by quite a bit. It’s a great method to go to if you have a lot of bread on your hands, or are looking to make it last for longer than just a week or so.

Bread that is frozen will last for around three months. You can throw bread that is heading towards staleness in the freezer to “freeze” the process, saving you time and money and avoiding any waste. It should last for the same amount of time as fresh frozen bread, but keep an eye on it just in case.

As with any other method of storing bread, improperly wrapping it will negate any positive outcome from freezing it. If your bread isn’t wrapped properly before you put it in the freezer, don’t expect nearly as good of a shelf life.

Now you know all about how long bread will last outside, in the fridge, and in the freezer. Let’s move on to talking about how to tell if your bread has gone sour.

How to Tell if Your Bread Has Gone Bad?

Even though your bread can last for a decent amount of time when stored properly, it will eventually turn sour if not consumed. Here are some ways that you can tell if your bread has gone bad and needs to be thrown out. As always, when in doubt, throw it out.

Quality: Bread that is dry and tough to chew hasn’t necessarily gone sour, but is certainly stale. It’s safe to eat stale bread, but probably not pleasant. It’s entirely up to you whether you throw out your stale bread or not; it depends on if you can find a use for it or not.

Mold: This is probably the most obvious sign that your bread has gone sour. Mold on bread can be all sorts of colors, from white to green to black to blue. If you notice any odd growths or colors on your bread, throw it out. Even if the mold is concentrated on just one or a few slices, throw the whole loaf out. Mold can still be present on other parts of the bread without being visible.

Smell: Bread will usually start smelling foul pretty far into the spoiling process; it’s pretty likely that you’ll notice other signs that it’s gone bad long before the smell. Still, if your bread has an odd odor to it, especially if it smells like vinegar or alcohol, it’s gone bad.

Taste: It’s pretty unlikely that your bread will look and smell fine and still end up being sour, but if you’re still suspicious, do a taste test. If your bread tastes odd, then chances are it’s gone bad.

How to Store Bread?

You know that you can keep your bread in the fridge, outside, or in the freezer for so long, and how to tell if it has gone bad. Now, let’s talk about how to make sure you’re storing it in the correct way.

Keep it wrapped: This is probably the most important part of keeping bread from expiring prematurely. Unwrapped or improperly-wrapped bread will expose the loaf to open air, allowing the starches within to degrade at a faster rate. Even if you’re keeping your bread cold, keep it wrapped.

Keep it separate: If you’re going to be putting your bread in the fridge, keep it isolated from other foods and drinks. This can be achieved pretty easily by just putting it in a freezer bag or a plastic container. Don’t let it mix up with other foods!

Use a breadbox: If you have one available to you, a breadbox is a great thing to store your bread in. It will keep it sealed from air and moisture, both things that contribute to shortening your bread’s shelf life.

How to Freeze Bread?

We established above that you can in fact freeze bread, so how do you do it? Let’s talk about it so that you know exactly how to keep your bread in perfect condition for months.

Make sure it’s sliced: Freezing a whole loaf of bread won’t work, and you’ll only end up disappointing yourself. If your bread isn’t already sliced, you’ll have to do that before freezing it.

Transfer opened bread: If you haven’t opened your bread up yet, you can just throw it in the freezer. If you have opened or home-made bread on your hands, then stick the slices in freezer bags before putting them in the freezer. Make sure each freezer bag is free of extra air before storing.

Be careful it doesn’t get smushed: If you store a lot of other things in your freezer, it might be a good idea to put your bread in a solid plastic container before freezing it. This will protect it from getting smushed by other objects.

Label it: Before you put your bread in the freezer, put the date you’re freezing it on the bag or container, or in a place where you’ll remember it. This way, when you go to take it out again in two months, you’ll actually remember that it’s been two months.

How to Thaw Bread?

Now that you know how to freeze your bread, it’s time to learn how to thaw it back out again when you’re ready to consume it.

The first way is to just thaw them out on a countertop or table. Just take your frozen slices out of the freezer and spread them out on a plate. Come back in ten to twenty minutes, and your slices of bread should be thawed and ready to eat.

The second way is to use a toaster or toaster oven. If you’re using this method and don’t want to actually toast your bread, make sure to turn off the appliance before putting your frozen bread in, once the appliance has warmed up. This should thaw your bread in just a few minutes. If you do want to toast it, obviously don’t worry about turning off the toaster oven or toaster until after you’ve finished.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bread’s Shelf Life

Even after reading all of this information, you might still have questions about your bread and its shelf life. We’ll answer a couple of common questions here.

Does it matter what kind of bread I have? White? Wheat? Rye? Nope; all that matters is whether your bread is home-made or store-bought. You can choose any variation of bread, and the storage methods and shelf-lives outlined in this article will be the same.

Is there anything I can do to freshen up stale bread? Yes, there is. You can warm up your bread in a toaster or microwave to soften it up. This will only work for a little while after the bread goes stale; eventually, it will just get too hard to be enjoyable. If you find that warming your bread up doesn’t work, you can always make breadcrumbs!

Wrap Up

It’s safe to say that you’ll probably have bread in your house at some point in your life, so now you know exactly how to store it. Remember to keep it wrapped, and to use a breadbox if you have one. If your bread goes stale, then the microwave or a toaster is your friend! Have fun enjoying your bread for multiple weeks or even months!

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