Bread rises when combined with a fungus called yeast. Mold loves bread for the same reason yeast does. As a baked blend of moist fertile nutrients, bread creates a perfect mold-friendly environment. The spores spawn in a warm and willing host, in this case an innocent loaf, and soon the familiar green and white fuzz ruins the family meal.
In such a warm, wet and open air environment as the average home kitchen, it’s easy to see how quickly a loaf of bread can go south. Molding times vary from climate to climate, just as moisture and other environmental factors do.
To prevent moldy bread, all one has to do is understand enough about mold to prevent it from growing. That is an idea easier written than wrought, however, since mold is a very common fungus. Mold spores exist everywhere, but they prefer a warm, food-rich environment with the added necessity of moisture.
There are several ways to delay the growth of mold, at least until the loaf may be consumed. One delaying method is freezing. Freezing prevents the growth of mold by removing all the moisture. Simply divide the loaf into a series of one or two slice freezer bag packages. If a family quickly gobbles through a whole loaf, wrap the entire bread package for freezing. When placing the bread into the freezer, care should be taken to do so inside its original inner plastic liner. This liner inhibits moisture from forming in the bread. In this way, bread can be kept up to six months in the freezer. After that, it will lose some of its quality.
If there is no freezer, bread may be stored at room temperature in an airtight container or bag. Making certain to force as much air from the container as possible, seal the bread inside it. Much of the oxygen required for mold to grow has just been removed from around the bread. A good quality breadbox is another room temperature option. Real wood or ceramic are often the bread bakers’ breadbox of choice as bread is said to stay mold free for a longer time when placed in such containers. Storage is especially important for homemade bread. Big commercial bakeries add mold inhibitors to the recipe for store-bought bread. These inhibitors delay molding and extend the shelf life of their product.
Some buyers prefer to prevent bread mold by choosing different types of bread to bake or buy. If only one kind of bread performed the same in every climate, this would be possible. In general, white bread molds faster than whole wheat or rye bread. There can be exceptions, however, and those exceptions vary from brand to brand to homemade and beyond.
For homemade bread, there are a few actions that may be taken to extend bread use. Sourdough leavening for bread is mold resistant because of its active fermentation process. Combining sourdough with other bread recipes can help delay the growth of mold. Adding oil to any bread recipe may also help.
With a bit of prevention and planning, there’s no reason for mold to take away one’s daily bread.