At our weekly markets on Fridays, you probably noticed that we usually have a lot of bread. If you ever wondered where this bread comes from and what to do with it once you bring it home with you, then here are some answers.
One of our main suppliers at BFC is Mikaelsgården, a day shelter in Uppsala. It is part of Stadsmission and is dedicated to help people in need (e.g., providing access to showers or computers, and handing out food). They receive a lot of donations from stores, especially bakeries all over Uppsala. Since they collect way more food than they can distribute, they partnered up with us to reduce their food waste. We are very happy for their ongoing support and awareness of food waste
So now that you know where the bread is coming from you might be even more interested in taking a loaf of bread at our markets. But how to keep it fresh for a whole week so you have enough bread till the next BFC market? Well, that is a question that cannot be answered so easily but here are some rule-of-thumbs that you can consider.
There are plenty of possibilities to store and use the bread so it might be very confusing. But don’t worry, we have created a bread algorithm that will help you decide what to do with it.
Two main issues can cause bread to go bad: drying out and molding. Often the best method to prevent the one actually favors the other. For example, putting the bread into a closed plastic bag traps the water in the bread and prevents drying out but the humidity is also a good environment for mold. So, the best method should balance the humidity.
This is the case if you store the bread in a closed container, such as a bread box, at room temperature. Not too much humidity is trapped inside, and the bread is protected from mold spores in the air. Buying a breadbox might therefore be a good investment. Alternatively, you can repurpose your turned off microwave as a breadbox. In a breadbox the bread usually keeps fresh for 3 to 4 days.
Another way is to put the bread in a paper or plastic bag at room temperature. In the paper bag the bread dries out faster but is less likely to mold while in the plastic bag it is the other way around. So, make sure to check the bread for mold before eating especially if you are storing it in a plastic bag. Bread that has moldy spots should be thrown away completely since the mold spreads much wider than it is visible. Moldy bread can lead to food poisoning and is therefore not safe to eat.
The second factor that is important for bread storage is the temperature. When bread goes stale, it is not just water leaving the bread but also due to starch molecules in the bread crystallizing. This process might sound scary but the bread is still safe to eat, it just does not taste as good. Storing the bread at low temperatures favors the formation of starch crystals, therefore, the bread should be stored at room temperature and not in the fridge. However, on a hot and humid summer day bread can get moldy within a day and you might want to store it in the fridge then.
Even if the bread becomes stale, you can still enjoy eating it with the help of some little tricks. For small amounts of bread, you can slice it and toast it in a pan or a toaster. For large amounts of bread, for example a whole loaf of bread, you can wrap it in a wet towel and store for a few hours or better overnight in the cold oven (or fridge in the summer). Then you remove the towel and bake the loaf in the oven until it is crispy again. Or you make a delicious meal out of old bread such as bread dumplings, French toast or croutons.
Finally, for long term storage the bread can be put in the freezer for up to 4 months. If you slice it before freezing, you can thaw it in the right portion size whenever you need it.
Written by Laura Lang, Bread algorithm by Amelie Andresen and Laura Lang