The Best Way To Store Sliced Bread To Keep It Fresh

How often have you bought a loaf of sliced bread and discovered it's covered in mold before you can finish it? Luckily, there's a solution for preventing your bread from quickly going bad and it isn't just to eat it faster. While it's understandable to think the refrigerator will keep your bread fresher longer (it works for fruits and veggies, right?), the true champion of preventing moldy bread is the freezer.

If you plan to eat your loaf of sliced bread within three to four days, go ahead and leave it on the counter, in a bread box, or in a pantry in the original plastic it came in. Just make sure it's kept in a cool place or mold will happily inhabit your bread in no time. Because mold thrives in temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, you should never store it on top of your refrigerator or near the stove. However, if it will take you longer than a few days to finish the loaf, storing it in the freezer is the better option for keeping your bread fresh.

The freezer, not the fridge, will keep your bread tasty and fresh

While the cooler temperatures of the refrigerator can prevent mold growth, refrigerating your bread isn't recommended. According to Southern Living, Kimberly Baker, the food systems and safety program team director at Clemson University Extension Service, says the cooler temperatures of the refrigerator cause the starch molecules in your bread to return to their crystallized state, consequently allowing moisture to escape and turning the bread hard. "The loss of moisture will cause the bread to become dry, tough, and give the bread a stale flavor," she says.

Freezing temperatures, however, are less favorable for recrystallization, thus frozen bread will retain its texture and quality more than refrigerated bread. According to Baker, frozen bread will never go bad, although it will taste best if eaten within six months. You can simply put the whole loaf in the freezer in its original packaging. If you want to make it easier to grab individual slices (since they will stick together once frozen), place wax paper between each slice before freezing the loaf. To defrost your bread, whether the whole loaf or a few slices, leave it in the refrigerator overnight or let it thaw on the countertop for a couple of hours. For a quicker method, you can microwave a few slices of bread for 15 to 25 seconds. You can even put frozen bread slices straight into the toaster without thawing beforehand.