Bread is a staple in many societies, so it isn’t surprising that more and more establishments need to store tons of it for their customers. From fast food to high-end restaurants and cafes, bread plays a vital role in the culinary world. Aside from being served as is, bread can also be made into several other things, including sandwiches, toast, and side dishes, pudding and eggs and bacon.
Considering this, it is imperative that you make sure that the batches of bread you buy (or bake) stays fresh for as long as possible. While every batch of bread is bound to go stale at some point, this doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t try to prolong its freshness.
Whether it is bought from the supermarket or picked up from your favorite bakery, proper storage is the key to ensuring that your bread supply can last. Although there’s no single rule that applies to all, you can learn from the following three bread storage techniques to avoid serving stale bread to your customers.
For bakeries, cafes, and similar establishments, displaying bread and cakes in counters or shelves is crucial for sales. When done properly, shelving bread can make the products last longer. Consider the following tips to ensure that you can make the most out of this food product:
When displaying baked goods, the use of the correct containers is crucial.
For most bread, wrapping it in a foil or tucking it in an airtight bag is the best way to go. This is because these types of containers protect the bread from moisture. Keep in mind that even the slightest moisture can lead to the growth of mold.
When planning your restaurant or bakeshop layout, make sure to consider which parts of the space get sunlight at different times of the day. Remember that bread to be put on display should be placed in a dry, cool area where sunlight cannot reach it.
Hot bread that has just been brought out fresh from the oven can last longer if you let it cool before packing. Wrapping them while still warm can lead to excess moisture and might even end up making the bread soft or even moldy.
Most food products should be stored in a cool place to keep them fresh, but bread is a bit trickier. Essentially, you can keep bread that won’t be consumed immediately in the freezer, but never in the fridge. Read below to know why:
As mentioned earlier, bread should be kept in a cool place. However, keeping bread in the fridge can cause it to stale up to six times faster than it normally would when placed on a shelf or counter. This is because refrigeration can hasten the degradation of the starch and moisture loss that could lead to stale bread.
That is, of course, unless the bread is made commercially, which essentially means it contains preservatives that keep it in a “fresh” state longer.
The refrigerator top is also a bad place to keep bread in as it usually emits high temperatures that could cause the bread to dry out rapidly. It is also believed to cause condensation in the bread that can trigger degradation.
Although refrigeration can expedite the recrystallization of starches contained in bread, freezing doesn’t. This is because the temperature in the fridge allows water within the bread to move, but the freezer does not.
So, like frozen cakes, bread can also do better in the freezer than in the fridge. In fact, freezing is considered the best way to preserve its freshness (or at least, in the exact same state it was when you placed it inside the freezer). This is because icy environments inhibit starch degradation and keep the bread in a stable state. The best part is, it can last for as long as two to three months in the freezer.
Frozen bread can be reheated in a toaster or oven for ten to 15 minutes at about 350 degrees Fahrenheit to re-gelatinize the starches, bringing it back to its springy and chewy state. Just remember to keep it in a sealed zip-lock bag with as little air as possible before freezing.
If you’re fond of toast, remember to slice the bread before keeping it in the freezer. Slicing bread in several pieces is also a good practice even if you don’t like toast as it can help avoid defrosting the entire loaf, only to re-freeze what remains.
One more thing you must remember is to freeze bread while it is still fresh. Never do so when it’s starting to go stale.
While they aren’t as good as freezers, good quality and big-sized bread boxes can be a cheaper alternative for storing bread. This is because such containers can help create an environment with a more balanced humidity while permitting air circulation. Just remember to avoid overfilling it and remove any paper bag wrapper that can trap moisture which, in turn, destroys the crust.
Generally, different types of bread have varying shelf lives. Aside from following the three storage techniques listed in this article, you should also consider the kind of bread you’re preserving as some contain ingredients that can help them keep for longer.