View Full Version : Are breadboxes purely cosmetic?
05-04-2000, 08:41 AM
My wife just bought a breadbox and thinks it will keep bread fresh. The salesclerk in the shop seemed to think it had no function other than decorative. I think its only function is to prevent a variety of breads being left laying around on the kitchen counter. Maybe it keeps rats and bugs off the bread? The breadboxes we looked at are not air tight so the bread probably should be in a bag even inside the breadbox. Does a breadbox have any other benefit other than being the official place to store bread?
05-04-2000, 09:06 AM
While not entirely useful, I'd venture to guess that they do serve some purpose, else people wouldn't have been using them all these years. While the box may not be hermatically sealed, having air creep in and moisture creep out through a crack or imperfect seal is still going to keep your baked goods fresh longer than if they were totally exposed to the air. Keep in mind though, that bread boxes were commonly in use back when you bought a fresh loaf of bread every day or every other day; I doubt they'd do much to keep a loaf of preservative free bread fresh for a week.
05-04-2000, 10:05 AM
Thanks jo, I think I'm focusing in on an exact definition of breadbox function. My wife's European, loves bakeries, and buys fresh unsliced bread, dark rye breads, sourdough, bagels, and these generally have to be eaten quickly. The sliced Wonder-type bread sits in the fridge or freezer as is customary in North America. I guess the breadbox is "a convenient place to keep fresh bread". It keeps the countertops neat, keeps flies, dogs, small children, off the bread. It probably doesn't do anything for freshness.
Oh, and it is also an informal unit of measure, as in the old saying "is it bigger than a breadbox?" When shopping we measured them and, while they were not consistent in size, a breadbox is something that is just big enough to take up enough room that a minimum of planning is required to decide where to put it.
05-04-2000, 12:34 PM
I would think it would be more useful if you buy bread which doesn't come in a plastic bag. Then, it would keep the bread from drying out as quickly.
05-04-2000, 12:49 PM
I recently got one of those "Bread Buddy" Tupperware-esque thingies they sell at the grocery store. It's great, keeps bread much longer than just in the bag.
05-04-2000, 05:59 PM
From Bernard Clayton's Complete Book of Breads
The most surprising finding was that bread stored in the refrigerator stales faster than bread at room temperature. Ideally, bread should be stored in a clean, dry place at room temperature. There is nothing better than than the traditional bread box or bread drawer. Bread in a plastic bag will be equally fresh but moist. Bread stored in the box (without a wrapping) will retain its crispness.
The modern American standard (the Wonder-Bread standard :p ) is soft crusts. Real bread has a crisp crust which is not only tasty, but also slows the staling of the interior of the loaf.
And here I was thinking that it was necessary to have holes in the breadbox so the bread wouldn't get moldy all the faster. What about when the bread does get moldy? Then that fungus is going to inhabit the box, right?
Remember it doesn't take much fungus? mold? in the air to raise bread - the favorite sour dough bread is raised (or is it proofed) by wild mold originally.
Getting a little green here, isn't it.
:P :rolleyes: :P
05-04-2000, 08:34 PM
A breadbox is not just cosmetic. It keeps the bread crumbs off your countertop. Take a look at a breadbox that hasn't been cleaned in 6 months and it's loaded with crumbs that you'd otherwise have been forced to clean up.
05-04-2000, 08:39 PM
As far as I know, sourdough is fermented by wild yeast, not mold. Both yeast and mold are fungi. San Francisco sourdough ferment is the wild yeast Saccharomyces exiguus, but it thrives only in climates similar to San Francisco’s. Elsewhere, other wild yeasts predominate. Ordinary bakers’ yeast is S. cerevisiae. Common bread mold is Rhizopus nigricans. If the bread box becomes infected with mold, it can be killed by bleach.
05-04-2000, 09:15 PM
If the bread box becomes infected with mold, it can be killed by bleach.
Which is why I stopped using the breadbox for bread, mine holds all the Atlanta telephone books. Of course, I have gotten some funny looks when someone asks where to get a phone book and the answer is 'In the bread box on top of the refrigerator.'
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