We store food in the fridge to slow down the chemical reactions that correspond to our food getting bad. In order for chemical reactions to happen, molecules need to bump into one another with enough energy to have something interesting happen. When things are cold, the molecules aren’t moving around all that much. I explained in a previous post how to organize your vegetables in your fridge.. but bread in a completely different story.
When bread goes stale, it doesn’t go stale via chemical reactions such as many foods do, but rather by something physical that happens to the starch. Starch crystallizes at cooler temperatures, a process which is sometimes referred to as “retrogradation.” Which means, it happens a lot faster in a fridge vs. your counter top. Loss of water also speeds up the process of staling, so no matter what, you want to keep bread in a container that stops moisture from escaping.
- Keep the bread at room temperature. This will increase the odds of molds growing.
- If the bread has gone stale, you can heat the bread up again (perhaps with a little moisture) and reverse the process.
- You can slow freeze bread, which might not sound like a great idea- but if you do it quickly, the bread doesn’t spend too long at temperatures that can initiate the retrogradation process. You can heat the bread up just before you want to eat it and it won’t go bad. But remember once you take it out of the freezer you should not put it back again.