Keeping bread fresh; by Glenn Mast
Fresh bread, unless it's loaded with preservatives, does not maintain its freshness for long. There are many ways people utilize to keep bread fresh but most of these will only give an extra day or two, if that. There is one proven way to extend the shelf life of bread, but first let's look at the alternatives:
The classic way is to use a bread box or bread bin. The old fashioned wooden ones tend to work better than plastic or metal ones, as the plastic and metal ones trap moisture in the air and cause it to condense in the box, actually hastening mold, and particularly plastic ones. Other popular methods are refrigeration or freezing. While refrigeration can delay molding it will accelerate the process if moisture gets trapped inside the plastic bag.
Staleness (where the bread gets harder), happens wherever you keep it. Bread goes stale due to the gluten proteins knitting back together after cooking, making the bread tougher. Bread is only soft when gluten is present; when it is fresh the gluten protein strands are long and stretched. Believe it or not, bread stales much faster at lower temperatures, this happens from a change in the starch fraction of wheat flour involving crystallization, or retro gradation. If bread is stored at higher temperatures it becomes moldy much faster.
The starch crystallization reaction can be reversed, which is why stale bread can be softened by gentle heating. The normal commercial method to delay staling is the use of additives like glycerol monostearate or methylcellulose; molding can be partly inhibited by using an antimicrobial, like propionic acid.
Author Resource: Glenn Mast is a successful business owner of a couple websites that offer Amish Handcrafted Products. His sites offer products and information about Amish Made Products & decor for your home, lawn or garden.