The bread box has been a common sight in kitchens for ages. We’re long past the days where it kept mice away from the bread. Yet it continues to be a popular way to store bread. It turns out that bread boxes still serve a purpose.
So, how long does bread last in a bread box? Bread will last anywhere from several days to a week in a bread box. That’s assuming it is properly stored as soon as you can put it away. A bread box is a wonderful way to protect the bread and simplify its upkeep.
Why does a bread box extend the life of bread?
A bread box extends the life of the bread whether it is in a plastic bad or open. It acts like a plastic bag, protecting it somewhat from the light, heat, and things floating in the air, though it isn’t as effective as a never-opened plastic bag.
A side benefit of the bread box is that it doubles as a cutting board, neatly containing the crumbs. However, you need to clean this area regularly to avoid attracting pests or fostering bacteria and mold growth.
The bread box will protect the bread from being crushed. And it is a good way to hide unsightly loaves and half-consumed pieces.
The greatest benefit of the bread box is trapping a lot of the moisture escaping from the bread.
You can still eat dried-out bread, but you may not want to. You want the seal on the bread box to be as tight as possible for this reason. Note that putting dried out bread in the bread box means you won’t do much more than protect the bread from pests.
How long would bread last if you didn’t do anything to protect it?
Store bread will last five to seven days sitting in your pantry, assuming there is plenty of time before its expiration date. It will be safe to eat around day seven if it has been protected from the air. However, it will be stale.
Homemade bread generally lacks the preservatives found in store-bought bread. In this case, it can sit in the pantry for up to five days, if it is protected from the air, mold, and insects.
The average bread box has a lid tight enough to slow down its drying while letting in enough air to reduce condensation, slowing the development of mold.
What are the worst ways to store bread?
The worst way to store bread is to put it in the fridge. It will take a long time to develop mold, but it will dry out and go stale far faster than if you left it in a plastic bag on your counter.
However, you can put bread in the freezer. This will essentially stop its clock for a few months. Yet you want to have it at room temperature for at least a day before you freeze it to have it retain the right texture. Then you can freeze it. You will restart the clock when you thaw it out.
Don’t store bread by leaving the loaf open and exposed to the atmosphere. This allows flies to land on it, dogs to lick or eat it, and anyone else to rip off a piece. It also exposes the bread to mold, bacteria and everything else you want to protect it from.
What can cause bread to go bad faster?
Don’t put hot bread in a sealed container until after it cools. This includes a closed bread box. The steam escaping from the bread will condense on any surface around it. Ironically, this is why bread boxes have air holes.
A little air won’t hurt the bread, but too much dries it out. If the bread is moldy and gets put in the bread box or went moldy in the bread box, the bread box must be thoroughly cleaned.
Otherwise, it will ruin every other piece of bread you put in it. Don’t store bread in the wrapper on top of the fridge.
The waste heat from the refrigerator will dry it out faster. Put it on the counter or somewhere else instead. One of the benefits of a bread box is that you’re hiding the loaf from view. And you don’t forget about it the way you might if you stow it in a cabinet or put it on a shelf in the pantry.
Bread lasts longer if stored at room temperatures. Try not to store it in a place that is too dry and dark like a root cellar.
Bread will go bad faster if you don’t tie off the plastic bag it came on.
Twisting the plastic bag it came in and folding that under the loaf of bread is better than leaving the bag open, but that still shortens the bread’s shelf life.
Don’t bother trying to store bread in the paper wrapper it was wrapped in by the bakery. That bread lets the humidity escape. Keep the bread in that another day or two, and it will really dry out.
Does a bread box have to be made of wood?
The answer is no. Most bread boxes are flat wooden boxes because that’s the material that was most readily available. Flatbread boxes with sliding doors could double as a de facto shelf.
They also blended into the cabinetry. However, you can get a bread box that is made out of metal, and it works just as well as a wooden one. Very old-fashioned bread boxes were sometimes made of pottery. These were called bread crocks.
Do I have to have a bread box?
Bread boxes were a necessity when you made bread at home and couldn’t leave it out on the counter or else it would go bad.
Bread boxes are a nice to have an item in a world where commercially made bread has preservatives and is wrapped in plastic. They’re more useful if you make your own bread.