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-   -   Bread boxes...what happened to them? (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=872805)

justmeetee 03-21-2019 04:24 PM

Bread boxes...what happened to them?
 
When I was a kid (late 50s early 60s) everyone had a bread box on the kitchen counter. I can still picture my grandmother's that was always full of fresh baked bread and other baked goodies. Now the only time you even hear of them is in the question "Is it bigger then a bread box?" when there is a guessing game a foot.
So is there a practical reason for the mass exodus of the people away from this simple box that kept your baked goods handy? Or just slowly forgotten by us baby boomers?

RealityChuck 03-21-2019 04:28 PM

I'm guessing plastic bags and preservatives helped keep bread from getting stake, so they were no longer a necessity.

OldGuy 03-21-2019 04:30 PM

Primarily because people don't bake their own anymore and commercial bread has preservatives and comes in resealable plastic bags.

DrCube 03-21-2019 04:31 PM

Less critters in the kitchen to worry about. Also, store bought bread comes in bags to keep honest mice honest.

I have one because I bake all my bread at home, but it's hardly necessary. Mine is convenient because the lid is also a cutting board for slicing.

I'm not sure why they were ever popular, but I suspect I'm right about why they stopped being so.

DrCube 03-21-2019 04:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RealityChuck (Post 21550277)
...preservatives...

Quote:

Originally Posted by OldGuy (Post 21550286)
... preservatives ...

Breadboxes don't prevent molding or staling. But perhaps confusion over this point is what made breadboxes widespread in the first place.

ftg 03-21-2019 04:39 PM

We've had one for years.

Keeps the bread from getting banged around. Small stuff is kept on top of it so it really does eat any counter space.

Folly 03-21-2019 04:40 PM

They were replaced as the standard unit of measurement for volume by the cubic centimeter.

Ike Witt 03-21-2019 05:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrCube (Post 21550290)
Also, store bought bread comes in bags to keep honest mice honest.

Mice will eat through a plastic bag.

Alley Dweller 03-21-2019 05:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ike Witt (Post 21550379)
Mice will eat through a plastic bag.

Agreed. I've had mice eat through the plastic bags where I was keeping the mouse poison pellets. It was very considerate of them not to make me put them out.

TriPolar 03-21-2019 05:59 PM

Bread boxes just aren't big anymore.

moes lotion 03-21-2019 06:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TriPolar (Post 21550459)
Bread boxes just aren't big anymore.

Don't you mean "as big"?

OldGuy 03-21-2019 06:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrCube (Post 21550294)
Breadboxes don't prevent molding or staling. But perhaps confusion over this point is what made breadboxes widespread in the first place.

They're likely to make molding worse by trapping mold spores and passing them on to the next loaf, but they do help to keep bread from going stale as they help keep moisture in.

nelliebly 03-21-2019 06:31 PM

Until a few years ago, I had a bread box, primarily because it looked tidier than having a plastic bag containing a loaf of bread, another containing hamburger rolls, and a third containing a few bagels on the counter, and I didn't want them taking up fridge or cabinet space. I think one reason they became less popular was the increasing number of countertop appliances left less available space/

Acsenray 03-21-2019 06:37 PM

Supermarket bread is refrigerable.

Yllaria 03-21-2019 07:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RealityChuck (Post 21550277)
I'm guessing plastic bags and preservatives helped keep bread from getting stake, so they were no longer a necessity.

I agree. Back when my Grandma had one, bread came in waxed paper. Between the waxed paper and the box, it stayed fairly fresh.

Of course if you go back far enough, it was to keep people away from the bread.

UDS 03-21-2019 07:46 PM

Wait. If you people don't have a bread bin, where do you keep your bread?

Yllaria 03-21-2019 07:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UDS (Post 21550622)
Wait. If you people don't have a bread bin, where do you keep your bread?

For most people it's in a cupboard or on the fridge. Our kitchen has no air conditioning, so it's on the file cabinet.

Kiwi Fruit 03-21-2019 07:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Acsenray (Post 21550529)
Supermarket bread is refrigerable.

Refrigerating bread makes it dry out quicker.

I keep bread in the cupboard for immediate use or in the freezer to extend its life.

ZipperJJ 03-21-2019 08:03 PM

I got one. It’s teal and spiffy. I got it cuz my dog’s a counter surfer.

blondebear 03-21-2019 08:07 PM

I've got a retro-looking roll top mirror finish bread box that I picked up a flea market for 10 bucks. Everyone remarks on how cool it looks.

silenus 03-21-2019 08:10 PM

We have one as well. It usually holds hamburger/hot dog buns.

What Exit? 03-21-2019 08:12 PM

Steve Allen cornered the market on them.

Sicks Ate 03-21-2019 08:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TriPolar (Post 21550459)
Bread boxes just aren't big anymore.

They're either bigger, or smaller, than some other things.

So I hear.

Are they animal, vegetable, or mineral? That's what I want to know.

Beckdawrek 03-21-2019 09:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ike Witt (Post 21550379)
Mice will eat through a plastic bag.

Oh, now I know why my cats tore into the bread. They were trying to rid my kitchen of those pesky bread eatin' mice. I also have some ocean front property in Arizona for sale.
(Pesky mice, my eye!)

Yep, hide the bread from animals. I have a plastic bread shaped bin from Walmart.

wolfpup 03-22-2019 12:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TriPolar (Post 21550459)
Bread boxes just aren't big anymore.

Bread is still big, it's the breadboxes that got small. :cool:

pkbites 03-22-2019 01:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RealityChuck (Post 21550277)
I'm guessing plastic bags and preservatives helped keep bread from getting stake.


Can a plastic bag actually prevent a stake being driven through a loaf of bread?:D

The OP actually asks an interesting question and I shalln’t blow it off. We had a BB as well in the 60’s and 70’s and kept store boughten, plastic bag bread in it. It kept other stuff from being thrown on the loaf and mushing it up like what happens when it is kept in the fridge or cupboard.

But eventually my Ma decided the bread box took up too much room on the counter top for what it did and opted to just keep the bread in the refrigerator and risk it getting squished. The end.

Acsenray 03-22-2019 06:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kiwi Fruit (Post 21550633)
Refrigerating bread makes it dry out quicker.

This is only true of fresh bread made with the “true bread ingredients,” like flour, water, yeast, and salt.

The vast majority of supermarket bread has oil, sugar, and other ingredients that make it chemically more cake than bread.

Also it’s wrapped in plastic, so refrigerating it won’t “dry it out.” But it will prevent mold.

So, yes, supermarket bread is refrigerable.

Ruken 03-22-2019 06:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kiwi Fruit (Post 21550633)
Refrigerating bread makes it dry out quicker.

Staling isn't really a drying process. But refrigeration certainly makes the starch degelatinize faster.

doreen 03-22-2019 06:15 AM

Or the "bread box" has changed. I have one- but it's not a metal or wooden box on my counter, it's a drawer. And since it matches the rest of my cabinets, you would never know it was a breadbox unless you saw it open.

CalMeacham 03-22-2019 06:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by doreen (Post 21551039)
Or the "bread box" has changed. I have one- but it's not a metal or wooden box on my counter, it's a drawer. And since it matches the rest of my cabinets, you would never know it was a breadbox unless you saw it open.

This is what I came in to add. The original Bread Drawer wasn't just a regular drawer, though -- it was lined with metal and had a sliding "roof" with holes in it, or it contained a removable metal box that fit snugly into it.

Eventually, though, it went the way of All Things Old, for reasons I think are given above -- preservatives to keep the bread fresh, plastic bags to keep it moist and to help keep mice out. My mother continues to keep her bread in the same drawer, but the metal inner "bread box" is no longer there.

In my own house we keep the (plastic bagged) bread in a basket on the counter. Even if it's artisanal bread that didn't originally come in a plastic bag, we'll usually put it in a resealable bag to keep it moist and soft.


Metal "bread box" to fit in a drawer:

https://www.hardwaretree.com/proddet...SABEgKI0fD_BwE

doreen 03-22-2019 07:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CalMeacham (Post 21551046)
This is what I came in to add. The original Bread Drawer wasn't just a regular drawer, though -- it was lined with metal and had a sliding "roof" with holes in it, or it contained a removable metal box that fit snugly into it.

Mine does have a sliding cover- and you can still get a cover to fit existing drawers

Broomstick 03-22-2019 07:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by justmeetee (Post 21550265)
So is there a practical reason for the mass exodus of the people away from this simple box that kept your baked goods handy? Or just slowly forgotten by us baby boomers?

I actually have two bread boxes in my kitchen and still use them... but then, I also do a lot of baking, mostly muffins and bread these days. Home baked goods don't come with plastic bags. You can, of course, purchase plastic bags for that sort of use.

The downside with a breadbox is that if something goes moldly in it you have to scrub said box, otherwise you will continue to have mold problems because of spores and moldly crumbs.

The other reason for a bread box is to keep critters and insects away from your bread.

Bear_Nenno 03-22-2019 08:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ike Witt (Post 21550379)
Mice will eat through a plastic bag.

Not the honest ones.

MichaelEmouse 03-22-2019 08:26 AM

There's new stuff in the kitchen compared to 50 years ago, right? People didn't have microwaves, espresso machines, milk froathers. In search of room, they decided the breadbox wasn't really worth it when you could use that counter space for something else (even a cleaner look) while either leaving the sealed bread on the counter or putting it in the fridge. Yes, there might be some kind of advantage but it's not that big a deal not to have it given the alternatives and it frees up space. It's quaint and all but that will only take you so far. I'm sure you could find other types of furniture or appliance that used to be common but no longer are like chandeliers or grandfather clocks.

DrCube 03-22-2019 08:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Acsenray (Post 21551032)
This is only true of fresh bread made with the “true bread ingredients,” like flour, water, yeast, and salt.

The vast majority of supermarket bread has oil, sugar, and other ingredients that make it chemically more cake than bread.

Sugar and oil are well within the range of common homemade bread ingredients. Supermarket bread has things like high fructose corn syrup, emulsifiers, ammonium sulfate, preservatives and dough conditioners that distinguish it from any homemade variety. It also tends to be mechanically and chemically developed rather than properly fermented. It still has yeast, but the way that yeast leavens the dough is very different in commercial bread, which often goes from dry flour to baked loaf in under 90 minutes, than in homemade bread, which ferments for a couple hours at least before baking.

Emergency911 03-22-2019 08:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UDS (Post 21550622)
Wait. If you people don't have a bread bin, where do you keep your bread?

I'm wondering the same thing. I have a bread box at home and always had. I never considered them staving off mold or anything, just a place to keep things from squishing the bread.

Son of a Rich 03-22-2019 08:45 AM

Sheldon Cooper weighed in on the inadvisability of refrigerating bread. Would he lie?

TRC4941 03-22-2019 08:47 AM

We keep our bread in a cupboard - top shelf is for bread, the bottom shelf is for the toaster.

I'm wondering if bread boxes were used because most people didn't have a lot of extra cupboard space back in the day - before the '50s.

Sparky812 03-22-2019 08:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by justmeetee (Post 21550265)
When I was a kid (late 50s early 60s) everyone had a bread box on the kitchen counter. I can still picture my grandmother's that was always full of fresh baked bread and other baked goodies. Now the only time you even hear of them is in the question "Is it bigger then a bread box?" when there is a guessing game a foot.
So is there a practical reason for the mass exodus of the people away from this simple box that kept your baked goods handy? Or just slowly forgotten by us baby boomers?

We have one on the kitchen counter. Unfortunately, the trick is getting the wife and kids to put the bread in it. :D

Annie-Xmas 03-22-2019 09:00 AM

Low carb diets?

Hari Seldon 03-22-2019 09:19 AM

I use an old pannetone box as a breadbox. Of my three children: One keeps all the bread in the fridge. The second in their microwave (so you have to empty to actually use the microwave). The third has an actual breadbox, but not the classical form. Essentially two 5 sided cubes, one a bit smaller that trombones into the larger. One of the cubes has airholes and I have never seen mold on the bread.

Hermitian 03-22-2019 09:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Emergency911 (Post 21551236)
I'm wondering the same thing. I have a bread box at home and always had. I never considered them staving off mold or anything, just a place to keep things from squishing the bread.

Our loaf is usually on or near the fruit basket.

I didn't know this was a problem needing solving. Just don't put things on the bread, and it won't get squished. :confused:

Colophon 03-22-2019 09:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UDS (Post 21550622)
Wait. If you people don't have a bread bin, where do you keep your bread?

In the bag on the worktop near the toaster, of course. The spare loaf usually sits on top of the fridge in the utility room. Who has space in their cupboards for whole loaves of bread?

teela brown 03-22-2019 03:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OldGuy (Post 21550513)
They're likely to make molding worse by trapping mold spores and passing them on to the next loaf, but they do help to keep bread from going stale as they help keep moisture in.

I've found this to be the case. I had no breadbox for years, but awhile I ago I indulged and bought a nice stainless steel one. I was tired of having bagged bread and rolls on the counter getting in the way. And I don't like to refrigerate bread, because it gets waxy and stiff.

So I started using the breadbox and then found that bread stored in it got moldy almost overnight. I don't know if bread with preservatives wouldn't do this, because all our favorite brands are preservative-free.

Now I have a useless breadbox sitting over on a table in the dining room, and I'm back to having plastic-bagged bread on the counter encroaching on my work space.

Tim@T-Bonham.net 03-22-2019 04:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by teela brown (Post 21552171)
So I started using the breadbox and then found that bread stored in it got moldy almost overnight.

Wash it out, with hot bleach water.
You'll need to do this every couple of weeks, when cleaning. And do it again if any bread in it goes moldy.

teela brown 03-22-2019 04:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tim@T-Bonham.net (Post 21552295)
Wash it out, with hot bleach water.
You'll need to do this every couple of weeks, when cleaning. And do it again if any bread in it goes moldy.

Yeah, I thought of that. I hate using bleach, though, and I'm not about to do a hot bleach scrub every other week. I'll just deal with the bread getting in the way.

nearwildheaven 03-23-2019 01:15 AM

I have always kept bread in the fridge, because I'm single and if I kept it at room temperature, it would get moldy long before I could use it all.

Some people freeze it. I've tried that and it always got freezer-burned, even in a sealed package.

Iggy 03-23-2019 02:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ike Witt (Post 21550379)
Mice will eat through a plastic bag.

So will large unruly dogs. So we bought a bread box.

glowacks 03-25-2019 09:22 PM

I eat one loaf of bread a week. I need it to last all week because I go to the grocery store once a week the same day. I keep my bread in the refrigerator because I don't care if it goes stale faster, but I do care if it goes moldy before I eat it all.

ftg 03-26-2019 07:30 AM

Re: Bread life expectancy.

When I buy a loaf I put it in the big freezer (double wrapped) if it is not needed right away. Always the same brand and type*. A loaf will give me about a week and a half. Keep it in the aforementioned bread box.

Usually no trouble with mold at all. I have found that sometimes the loaves put up on sale for a deep discount go moldy really fast. They knew they had to dump them ASAP.

I believe that the initial freezing helps quite a bit with staving off mold.

* Nature's Own 100% Whole Wheat.


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