Why does plain white bread mold so quickly?

I can’t think of a reasonable answer because if it were because it uses bleached flour then why doesn’t the bag of flour in my cabinet get moldy? If it were because of the yeast then why do the whole grain breads I use seem to last for weeks without any problem of mold? Is it the combination of yeast and white flour or is it just the process of making the bread? This happens also with so called “wheat” breads I notice.

I prefer whole grain breads but sometimes I will buy plain white and since I don’t use a lot of bread it usually is wasted because after about a week it is covered in mold.

White bread has a high moisture content, relative to raw flour. It also has a higher sugar content than whole wheat bread, which is good for growing mold.

For years I’ve read so-called “pundits” who rant against people who don’t like preservatives. These “pundits” explain “Hey, do you want your bread to mold in 2 days?”

Last year we got a bread machine. The stuff we make lasts a long time. The nature of the flours, etc. doesn’t seem to matter. Our “Honey-Wheat Bread” has a lot of moisture and sugars. Never had to throw any out due to molding, it all gets eaten even if it takes a while.

There is a simple possible explanation for home-made vs. factory-made bread “shelf life”. The factory is full of bread mold spores. But that doesn’t address points such as those made by the OP. There’s got to be something else going on. Why do the more common breads mold so fast, even with preservatives, and others don’t.

Exposure to mold spores can be a major factor in the molding of bread, as can exposure to light, presumably because it helps the spores germinate or grow.

I was accustomed to white sandwich bread bread molding in 3-5 days sitting in its original bag on my kitchen counter. (We consume it episodically. Sometimes we can go through a loaf in a couple of days, other times it may sit there unopened for weeks -or until someone noticed it was gross and green.

At one point I decided to store it in a cabinet under the counter. My family didn’t adjust well to the change – they could never find it, and I ended up gettting them slices of bread when they wanted it. Suddenly the lifespan of the exact same brand of bread shot up to about 10-15 days. I presume that’s because I wash my hands dozens of times a day at work, and several times an evening at home, as the family’s primary cook.

I also found that those old metal slide-top bread boxes had a fair protective effect, possibly because they are opque and cool. (Also, my family "can’t find’ bread that’s in it either. I guess the box doesn’t fit their search pattern. Either that or they inherited my brain damage.) It does require a thorough cleaning once or twice a year to maintain that effect. I suspect that once in a while a bread bag has a hole in it, releasing spores into the box. The spores then get transferred to the outside of later bags, and to the indside by handling every time you open the bag and take a few slices out. Fortunately, those boxes are trivially easy to wipe clean

The source of the bread makes a difference. There are a couple of local grocery stores whose in-house bakery bread seems to mold in just a few days, while the same types of bread from other branches of the same chain last several times as long. I suspect spore contamination at the site. Since it affects the longevity of the bread, and not its wholesomness, and since moldy bread is considered a minor, inevitable risk, readily visible to the user, the store and local inspection board were not too interested.

Maybe “spore contamination” isn’t covered by the health code, or maybe they just didn’t believe me. All I know is: I am careful about where I buy my bread, and when I am forced by circumstances to break my own rules, mold usually develops much more rapidly than usual.

That’s not a direct answer to your question, but I hope you find it useful.

Occasionally I make my own bread and I find that It’s only good for 3-4 days before it gets moldy. Store bought bread lasts me about 10 days. (White)
Also, you can freeze bread until you need it.


KP: How does that explain the whole grain breads that I buy never getting moldy? Typically they are not just in a bag but also have another plastic wrapping around them which is sealed but it is opened when the bread is being used. It sits next to the white bread on the same countertop. I’ve noticed store brand cheap breads seem to mold faster then say Wonder bread or a name brand. I think you hit on an important point about the condition of the bakery.

Huh. I rarely have bread mold on me. I bought a loaf of white bread that lasted for two weeks, no mold. Bagles, on the other hand, don’t seem to last three days before I see mold on them.

You know, I’ve often wondered if those moldy hamburger buns in my bread drawer were causing my bread to get moldy faster. I guess I need to clean that thing out more often… :eek:

Crackers, and other crisp breadstuffs keep crisp is a home crisper, a very low wattage heater does the job.

We keep bread in the/a refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. No mold!