PDA

View Full Version : Preserving Bread Today


dolphinboy
01-16-2014, 01:12 PM
Perusing through amazon.com recently I noticed that there were quite a few bread boxes of varying types for sale (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_9?url=search-alias%3Dgarden&field-keywords=bread%20box&sprefix=bread+box%2Caps%2C241).

Growing up in the early 1960's my mom had a bread box on the kitchen counter where we would store our bread, and with my brother and I having sandwiches every day we would usually go through a loaf a bread a week.

Once I moved out on my own a loaf of bread would last me a couple of weeks, and finding a moldy piece of bread or two at the end of the loaf was not at all unusual. As a result I started storing my bread in the fridge and the problem by and large went away.

So why do people use a bread box and not just store their bread in the fridge? Tradition? Do they go through so much bread that it never has a chance to go bad? Are they trying to save space in their fridge for more perishable items?

The biggest problem for me having a bread box would be where to put it since it would take up a good chunk of my precious counter space.

Thoughts?

tullsterx
01-16-2014, 01:35 PM
"Preserving Bread Today" sound like most boring magazine I've ever heard of.

Yeah, I don't understand the bread box. But, do you mean you would store in the box without the bag? I've never used a bread box or stored in the fridge. The bag and a twist tie always work out pretty good for me.

Fear Itself
01-16-2014, 01:40 PM
Bread goes stale faster in the fridge. (http://lifehacker.com/5832516/store-bread-at-room-temperature-not-in-the-fridge-for-six-times-the-freshness) Water molecules detach themselves from the starch molecules and the starch molecules begin to take their original shape and harden again. The cool temperatures of the refrigerator make the dehydration process happen more quickly, specifically, about six times as fast via the process listed above.

dolphinboy
01-16-2014, 01:45 PM
"Preserving Bread Today" sound like most boring magazine I've ever heard of.

Yeah, I don't understand the bread box. But, do you mean you would store in the box without the bag? I've never used a bread box or stored in the fridge. The bag and a twist tie always work out pretty good for me.

Good question.

My memory isn't perfect, but I remember having to get the bread out of the bread box, unwrap it to remove a few slices, close it back up and put it back in the bread box. We wouldn't store a 'naked' bread in the bread box.

I think the idea then was that a loaf of wrapped bread sitting on the counter looked untidy for some reason, so we had to hide it in a bread box, or in a cupboard, or in the panty. Since we used bread almost every day we wanted it to be someplace handy, like on the counter. The bread box did nothing extra to preserve the bread except, perhaps, to keep it out of direct sunlight.

I thought the bread box was old fashioned and would be dead by now since we all have large fridges, but I was wrong.

dolphinboy
01-16-2014, 01:48 PM
Bread goes stale faster in the fridge. (http://lifehacker.com/5832516/store-bread-at-room-temperature-not-in-the-fridge-for-six-times-the-freshness)

So then which is better, stale bread or moldy bread?

I suppose you could freeze it, take out the few slices you need each day and either let them defrost or microwave them if you're in a hurry, but I don't see a lot of people doing that either.

buddha_david
01-16-2014, 02:01 PM
In my experience, bread stays fresh enough in a dark pantry. You may need a breadbox if you live in a humid area (my location is the desert S/West). Putting bread in the freezer can preserve it even longer but I never do that, despite family recommendations.

Never store bread products in the fridge, they will go stale very fast.

Geek Mecha
01-16-2014, 02:06 PM
I think the idea then was that a loaf of wrapped bread sitting on the counter looked untidy for some reason, so we had to hide it in a bread box, or in a cupboard, or in the panty.
Could that cause yeast infections?

dolphinboy
01-16-2014, 03:21 PM
In my experience, bread stays fresh enough in a dark pantry. You may need a breadbox if you live in a humid area (my location is the desert S/West). Putting bread in the freezer can preserve it even longer but I never do that, despite family recommendations.

Never store bread products in the fridge, they will go stale very fast.

So how does putting a wrapped loaf of bread in a bread box reduce its humidity? Does putting bread in a dark panty reduce humidity?

JKilez
01-16-2014, 03:38 PM
Bread in fridge = stale bread. As to why breadboxes were/are used when bread comes in a plastic bag nowadays, it could simply be tradition--a throwback to when bread came from the bakery and did not have its own packaging. Or, it could be convenience--a place to store bread so that it is handy, but also out of the way. For many people, having food products just sitting out in the kitchen is considered untidy. Things should be stored in their proper places.

ThelmaLou
01-16-2014, 03:46 PM
"Preserving Bread Today" sound like most boring magazine I've ever heard of.


Hmmm... I think I slept through that college course.

Sherrerd
01-16-2014, 04:00 PM
I've always thought that breadboxes were about keeping out light (and nothing else; don't think they'd keep out humidity unless they were airtight, and traditional ones certainly weren't).

I assume that every loaf of bread has at least a few mold spores in it to begin with, and that light accelerates the growth of the spores. But my assumption could be wrong. ^_^

SCAdian
01-16-2014, 04:14 PM
We leave it in its bag, on top of the fridge.

teela brown
01-16-2014, 04:16 PM
I put the second half of a new loaf into the freezer as soon as I get home from the market, with the slices sort of "fanned" so that they'll pop apart easier. The first half gets used up before it goes moldy, and the frozen slices that I start to pull out in clumps of four or six thaw very quickly. Popping the frozen slices into the toaster for a minute thaws them even faster.

Bread freezes very very well. I've stopped wasting the second halves of ciabattas or baguettes since I started freezing them.

I've tried refrigerating bread, and Fear Itself is correct. It just goes kind of stiff and waxy and never regains its original spongy fresh feel.

Aquadementia
01-16-2014, 04:29 PM
Like teela brown, I freeze bread I'm not going to eat soon.

A side benefit is you can spread refrigerated butter on frozen bread without destroying it.

dolphinboy
01-16-2014, 05:32 PM
I put the second half of a new loaf into the freezer as soon as I get home from the market, with the slices sort of "fanned" so that they'll pop apart easier. The first half gets used up before it goes moldy, and the frozen slices that I start to pull out in clumps of four or six thaw very quickly. Popping the frozen slices into the toaster for a minute thaws them even faster.

Bread freezes very very well. I've stopped wasting the second halves of ciabattas or baguettes since I started freezing them.

I've tried refrigerating bread, and Fear Itself is correct. It just goes kind of stiff and waxy and never regains its original spongy fresh feel.

Makes sense to me. Thanks everyone!

LouLou7
01-16-2014, 05:36 PM
So how does putting a wrapped loaf of bread in a bread box reduce its humidity? Does putting bread in a dark panty reduce humidity?


I've tried keeping my bread in a dark panty, and it does NOT reduce humidity. If anything, my dark panty gets more humid and smelly within just a few days.

:p

ThelmaLou
01-16-2014, 06:38 PM
I've tried keeping my bread in a dark panty, and it does NOT reduce humidity. If anything, my dark panty gets more humid and smelly within just a few days.

:p

Dark pantys are best with pumpernickle.

Fear Itself
01-16-2014, 06:47 PM
Dark pantys are best with pumpernickle.Pumpernickle? I hardly touched 'er!

DummyGladHands
01-16-2014, 09:15 PM
I despise bread that's been refrigerated. Why can't I buy a loaf of like 8 pieces?

AuntiePam
01-16-2014, 10:05 PM
You guys don't have cats? We had one who loved bread. At the house before this one, the kitchen cabinets included a "garage". It was part of the cabinets but sat on the counter. It opened with a light push. I used it for bread, cookies, etc. Rick the cat would open the door, tear through the plastic wrap, and eat bread.

So I got a bread box, metal, with a curved lid that lifted from the bottom. Rick could open it but he couldn't keep it open long enough to get to the bread.

Never did like bread from the fridge.

carnut
01-16-2014, 10:15 PM
The bread box did nothing extra to preserve the bread except, perhaps, to keep it out of direct sunlight.



The history of the bread box goes back pretty far. Using it would keep it away from vermin such as mice. Also, the wooden box would keep the bread fresher than a tin because air would move around it. Keeping the moisture locked in with the bread, actually just increases the chances of it growing moldy more quickly, as happens with closed plastic bags.

AuntiePam
01-16-2014, 11:40 PM
The history of the bread box goes back pretty far. Using it would keep it away from vermin such as mice. Also, the wooden box would keep the bread fresher than a tin because air would move around it. Keeping the moisture locked in with the bread, actually just increases the chances of it growing moldy more quickly, as happens with closed plastic bags.

Like a pie safe. I see them at estate auctions, but rarely. I don't know if that's because family hangs on to them or if there just aren't many left.

carnut
01-16-2014, 11:44 PM
Like a pie safe. I see them at estate auctions, but rarely. I don't know if that's because family hangs on to them or if there just aren't many left.

Exactly so.

stargazer
01-17-2014, 12:09 AM
We do keep our (sliced, sandwich-) bread in the fridge after the first few days, but we also toast almost every slice before eating it, so we don't notice the difference in freshness. Freshly-baked, crusty bread doesn't go in the fridge, but it also doesn't usually last long enough for mold to even think about growing.

rowrrbazzle
01-17-2014, 12:32 AM
Like teela brown, I freeze bread I'm not going to eat soon.

A side benefit is you can spread refrigerated butter on frozen bread without destroying it.I tried this, and it works, but now my toaster is...toast. :D

guizot
01-17-2014, 12:33 AM
I despise bread that's been refrigerated. Why can't I buy a loaf of like 8 pieces?I think in the past (before the prevalence of supermarkets) people shopped more frequently and bought smaller amounts anyway. The bread in your breadbox wouldn't be much older than one or two days. (People also ate more bread in general, too.) And they didn't have such huge refrigerators, but rather small iceboxes, and so had much more limited cold storage.

Essured
01-17-2014, 01:23 AM
Fridge bread and freezer bread tastes yucky IMO
My bread stays in a breadbox because it looks neater and there's no room in the pantry. Plus it keeps vermin at bay (we have mouse plagues from time to time in the area)
It never goes moldy, but I only make a loaf big enough to last us two days, because fresh bread is the bomb :)

mortal wombat
01-17-2014, 01:45 AM
Loved the whole "dark panty". Loved that bit where he said naked bread too. Don't worry, I ain't in to Food Porn, I just thought it was really funny.

I'm just surprised nobody mentioned a seedy batch ;)

flaming yawn
01-17-2014, 05:29 AM
I left a package of hotdog buns in the oven of our rv MONTHS later I am out there and open the oven and the buns didnt have a speck of mold on them.

StGermain
01-17-2014, 09:50 AM
I left a package of hotdog buns in the oven of our rv MONTHS later I am out there and open the oven and the buns didnt have a speck of mold on them.

Yum! Preservatives!

I bake all my bread, but not hotdog/hamburger buns. It's almost scary how long they'll last. When my bread gets stale I either feed it to the birds or the dogs as treats.

ETA: I buy plastic bags to keep my bread in, then usually stick them in the microwave to keep them away from the counter-surfer dog.

StG

Fear Itself
01-17-2014, 03:16 PM
ETA: I buy plastic bags to keep my bread in, then usually stick them in the microwave to keep them away from the counter-surfer dog.So your bread box has a clock on it?

ftg
01-17-2014, 03:31 PM
We've had a breadbox for years. Mainly to keep the bread from getting mushed up yet providing easy access. (We have no loaf accommodating drawers like the house I grew up in.)

ThelmaLou
01-17-2014, 03:59 PM
Actually, the microwave is a pretty good, relatively air-tight place to keep bread. And it has a clock on it.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.