Kitchen Hacks Go Keep Bread Fresher Longer
I bet everyone, at one-time-or-another, has thrown a loaf of bread or an extra bag of hot dog buns directly into the freezer in the store wrapper. Then a few weeks later wondered what happened and why it was crumbly, dry, tasted like the inside of the freezer and was basically inedible.
Easy answer: freezer burn.
This is the process of food drying out inside the freezer. This usually happens if the food has been improperly wrapped. Cold moving air inside the freezer is your enemy when it comes to the quality of the food once thawed. This air can get into inappropriate containers and wraps and causes the food to be dehydrated, develop off-flavors along with other quality and texture changes.
Bread is a perishable product. The main problem with bread is that it becomes stale and may develop mold. In general, commercial breads can be kept in a cool dry place (like the pantry, kitchen counter or bread drawer) for two to five days. Homemade breads and those commercially made without preservatives have a shorter shelf life.
You can put bread in the refrigerator to inhibit mold growth, but this tends to speed staling.
Freezing bread is generally the best alternative for storing bread for longer than a few days. Staling and mold growth will be slowed or halted in the freezer. The main thing to remember is that it should be wrapped well. Just putting it in the freezer in the bag it came from the store in is asking for failure. Bread wrappers are not sufficiently moisture-vapor resistant to be used for freezing. Wrapped bread keeps in the freezer for two to three months.
Bread should be removed from the store wrap and placed in what they call moisture and vapor proof packaging. This packaging will not become brittle or crack at low temperatures and keeps that damaging air out. This packaging will also protect foods from absorbing off-flavors or odors.
What is a good wrap? Specifically developed freezer paper is good. Heavy-duty aluminum foil also works well. Another good way to package bread is in zip-top freezer bags. These allow you to take out just what you need and keep the rest frozen.
A few kitchen hacks to keep bread fresher longer:
• Wrap your bread in two-slice packs inside the freezer bag, just right for a sandwich or easy to separate if you only want one piece.
• Slice English muffins and bagels before freezing and separate the layers with plastic wrap. That way if you only want half a muffin you can easily take out just one half and keep the rest frozen.
• Do the same with bagels. Cut them in half and then in quarters and separate the pieces as you wrap. That way if you only want half a bagel you get both a top and bottom and not just the boring bottom half.
• When purchasing loaves of bread from a store it is always better to get the bakery to pre-slice them on a machine for you. Then you can wrap the slices into two serving packets or double bag them all if you are going to use them up fast.
Thawing a piece or two of frozen bread only takes a few minutes on the counter. Individual slices, bagels or English muffins can go straight into the toaster.
One last thing. What if the bread does become moldy, should you just cut it off and use it anyway? NO. Bread is porous allowing molds to quickly and easily spread. It may be contaminated with toxins deeper than you can see. Moldy bread should be pitched.
Adapted from: https://news. nutritioneducationstore.com/keeping-bread-fresh/ Retrieved 8.11.17
MSU Extension Service
SAVE THE DATE
Members of the Yalobusha County 4-H Clubs (Family and Consumer Science, Robotics, Shooting Sports, Horse Club and Livestock) are invited to attend the 4-H Summer Social at the Multi-Purpose Building on Saturday, August 19th from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. This is a great time to come celebrate all of your hard work over the year with food, fun and fellowship with other 4-H members from all of our different clubs. For more information contact the Extension Office at 675-2730.
Healthy You exercise classes are free and meet every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 until 9:45 a.m. This is a great time to exercise with a group. Make sure to wear cool, comfortable clothes, good walking shoes and bring some water to drink.
The Crochet MHV Group will meet on Thursday, August 17 at 10 a.m. The group is led by volunteer Karol Jarman. You will need to bring the yarn of your choice and a crochet hook.
Sewing for Service will meet on Monday, August 21, at 10 a.m. Participants will continue working on pillowcase dresses for Operation Christmas Child. We have everything we need, we just need you to help sew.
4-H FCS Club will meet on Tuesday, August 29, at 4 p.m. New members and volunteers encouraged to attend. We will have a short business meeting and then we will have a fun craft. To ensure we have enough supplies, please call the Extension Office to reserve a spot for your child. 4-H is free and open to youth ages 8-18.