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Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Do you use a breadbox?

Asked by Call_Me_Jay (13944points) 4 weeks ago

Mold appeared on my bread recently, and it sent my down a wikipedia rabbit hole ending at breadbox.

I haven’t seen a breadbox in a home for decades. Have plastic bags and preservatives made them obsolete?

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45 Answers

janbb's avatar

I keep bread in the freezer and take out slices as I need them.

KNOWITALL's avatar

We don’t eat bread for our health, so no breadbox. My grandparents had one though.

seawulf575's avatar

I believe that plastic bags and preservatives have sort of made them obsolete. The idea behind the bread box was to keep an environment suitable to maintaining freshness longer. It kept the bread from getting air struck (as my aunt would call it, stale as we would call it) and yet controlled build up of moisture. But back in the day that bread boxes were popular, bread was often made fresh…no preservatives.

flutherother's avatar

We keep sliced bread in the freezer in case we run out but we don’t have a breadbox. I haven’t seen mouldy bread for years.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Keep it in the fridge, yes bread boxes are obsolete. I don’t eat bread anymore though.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I haven’t seen a breadbox in years – maybe decades. In the 50s and 60 my parents had one in a drawer in the kitchen. It had a sliding cover. We kept Wonder Bread in it. “Wonder bread helps build strong bodies 8 ways!”
Now we only keep bread out that will be used withing about 5 to 7 days. The rest goes in the freezer and is defrosted when the other bread is gone. I also include bagels in the “bread” category.

Smashley's avatar

Bread boxes are not obsolete if you eat real bread. Wonderbread, Daves Killer and other grocery store fake breads will survive well in a bread condom, but a real bread will soften and mold prematurely in a plastic bag. Freezers work ok, but anytime a bread goes through the 32–45ish degree range there will be a significant loss in quality.

Bread boxes are not sealed, and control humidity, preserving freshnesss for longer than a plastic bag, while maintaining the quality of the crust.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

When a kitchen store closed early in the pandemic, I bought a large glass cloche dome that sits on a plate. We keep our bread in it.

canidmajor's avatar

I have two really big ones, but I call them my fridge and my freezer.

RocketGuy's avatar

I use our “icebox” (refrigerator) to store our bread. Keeps long enough that it won’t get moldy before we get to the end. If I buy bread from Costco, it comes as two loaves in a bag. I freeze the second loaf so it won’t get moldy waiting for us to finish the first one. Then I migrate it from the freezer.

@janbb – you eat bread straight out of the freezer?

SnipSnip's avatar

No; we keep loaf bread in the freezer.

Smashley's avatar

(I know I’m way outnumbered here but you are all wrong)

Bread boxes are for people who like to eat bread, but not make/buy it every day. People who like fake bread should not be heeded on this issue. Bread boxes are for real bread.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I do. But it’s decorative. And it’s in storage or I’d take a pic.
I keep onions in it too.

SnipSnip's avatar

@Smashley Homemade bread has no preservatives and will mold in a breadbox; it needs to at least be in the frig. I do remember seeing big loaves of homemade bread on my aunt’s kitchen counter when a kid. She cut from it on a wooden board then put the loaf sitting on the cut side. No cover or anything until she wanted the next slice. It was bothersome to me even as a child.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It will mold more quickly, period @snip.

Smashley's avatar

@SnipSnip – wrong wrong wrong. The fridge is the worst possible place for bread, as it will quickly stale. Real bread will last around a week in a decent box. Freezers at least move the bread quickly through that staling window of 32–45ish degrees. I accept that fake breads last longer than real ones, and may even survive the fridge, but as a professional bread baker and a proud American, I’m only interested in the real ones, though fake breads are also undeniably staler after fridge time.

zenvelo's avatar

We had one with a roll top to it (similar to a desk). that my cabinet maker grandfather made. But it was lost when my parents moved overseas.

I keep the bread in plastic out on the counter. It generally stays fine as long as I eat it in a week to ten days.

ragingloli's avatar

I just keep it in the bag.

canidmajor's avatar

Gosh, so much fuss. I make all my own, and store the loaf I am currently using in the fridge. Because I don’t worship the bread, I can’t detect any stale-itude in my sandwiches or toast, it’s all just fine for the 5–6 days the loaf lasts.

But I also wear my shoes in the house, that’s how barbaric I am.

longgone's avatar

I have one of those old-fashioned breadboxes with the rolling top. I wouldn’t put any bread that comes in a plastic bag in there. It goes straight to fridge or freezer. But for lovely crusty bread that’s made by local bakers, the breadbox is the best place. I wrap the loaf in a clean kitchen towel. It’s more cumbersome to use the breadbox because you need to check for mold, but that “rustic” type of bread quickly becomes chewy and stale when it’s in the fridge or out on the counter.

janbb's avatar

@RocketGuy Yes. i buy a mixed wheat sliced bread that’s made in the store. I keep it in the freezer and take a slice out each morning and toast it for my breakfast.

Zaku's avatar

I eat real bread from a bakery. I don’t currently have a bread box, but I’m interested in trying one again. I don’t really seem to need one, as I have not seen mold on bread in a long time.

I put the real sliced bread in the refrigerator, in a plastic bag. It lasts a couple of weeks or so in that way. It slowly gets staler, but has pretty much never molded.

I put the real baguette, levain, ciabatta, etc, in paper bags on the stone countertop, where they tend to get stale in 2–3 days’ time, but they get eaten in that time, so no problem. If a bread box would add a day or more to that time, it’d be worth it to me to have one.

I have tried butting a baguette in a paper bag in the fridge, which did add a day or two before it got state, but it also quickly made the bread softer and taste worse, which is a much worse result.

janbb's avatar

I do feel that baguettes have to be eaten the day they’re bought. I’ve tried wrapping leftovers tightly and freezing them but it’s meh.

RocketGuy's avatar

Bread left at room temp would be best for flavor and texture if you can eat it before it gets moldy. For the bread that I refrigerate, it’s stiff when it’s cold but I usually toast it before eating anyway. Comes out fine.

Dutchess_III's avatar

What on earth does a bread box DO?

smudges's avatar

^^ Stores your bread of any kind in a pretty container on the counter. I suppose it’s intended to keep the air away from your bread, but there’s air in the bread box.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m in Florida so I only keep bread at room temp for two days, three max. Sometimes I put it directly in the freezer and use it as I go. Sometimes the counter bread moves to the fridge.

I don’t have a breadbox, but I think if I did, the bread would go into a plastic bag within 12 hours anyway; it ruins the crust if you put it in too soon after baking. The box would just be to keep the counter looking nice and neat.

Smashley's avatar

@Dutchess_III – it regulates humidity and limits airflow to preserve taste and texture longer than any other method.

Forever_Free's avatar

I have a breadbox. I used it to keep my dog from stealing it from the counter. He was a stray and knows how to find food. Bread is his thing,

ragingloli's avatar

You should get a cat. They will team up, and the cat will help the dog get the bread out of the breadbox.

cookieman's avatar

Yes, but only in the Fall and Winter. Once it gets hot and humid, bread goes in the fridge to avoid mold.

SnipSnip's avatar

@Smashley Perhaps store-bought bread, but homemade bread lasts better in the frig. I freeze store-bought sliced bread because we use so little of it. I rarely have leftover bread when I bake a loaf because the loaf is small and we generally finish it in one meal. If we don’t it goes in the frig and becomes toast the next day. You can enjoy your breadbox; I don’t need one.

Forever_Free's avatar

@ragingloli LOL. I’d be at their mercy.

RocketGuy's avatar

@ragingloli – my coworker’s pets did that: the cat pushed the packaged bread down from the counter, the dog tore open the bag, then the two feasted on the bread. Coworker had to store bread in the fridge to prevent theft.

smudges's avatar

^^ LOL As soon as I got home with groceries, I had to put the bread away somewhere. My silly, special cat would tear a small hole in the plastic and eat a couple of bites of several pieces of bread. This special kitty also ate spider/cobwebs and licked glass and photos.

canidmajor's avatar

I had a cat that would march back and forth in front of the oven, tail erect and quivering, crying piteously, as the bread baked. I would have to cool it in a closed room.

Smashley's avatar

@SnipSnip and everyone else:

the staling process occurs as the amylose and amylopectin chains in the cooked starch gel begin to retrograde and recrystallize, expelling water and becoming less digestible. The temperature range at which this process occurs the fastest is between freezing and 4 degrees Celsius, AKA fridge temperature. The relative humidity in the fridge may soften the crust a bit, while the inside stales, but if that’s the texture you want, wait till it cools and put in in a plastic bag on the counter for a day. (Much longer will probably result in quick molding)

This process is going to occur faster in real bread than in one with preservatives, just like it does outside of the fridge. If you find your homemade bread stales too fast, consider using a preferment, if you are not already. If the bread box just isn’t for you, keep the bread in paper on the counter for one to two days before putting it in plastic.

The consensus among professionals, like myself, is that freezing is acceptable if it’s the only way you will eat the bread before it stales/molds, but fridges should be avoided if at all possible.

Grocery store bread, I don’t bother with. Freeze it, seal it up, talk dirty to it, nothing much phases it.

Brian1946's avatar


I keep an unopened loaf in the freezer, and the opened loaf in the fridge.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I make mini loaves of bread and as soon as they cool I toss them in the freezer.

I agree. Fridgeration is bad. Bad for bananas too.

RocketGuy's avatar

So stale (bread) = stiff texture, not rancid taste e.g. stale potato chips.

Smashley's avatar

^^ yes. Though oils in bread technically can become rancid, it’s not common before staling or molding.

Dutchess_III's avatar

“Staling” is a hard word to spell!

Zaku's avatar

@Smashley I often buy a loaf of high-quality multi-grain bread from our wonderful local French-style bakers, which comes in a plastic bag. I’ve been putting it in the fridge, since it often takes me over a week to eat it all. This has seemed to work well with that type of bread (as opposed to the baguette, levain, foccacia, etc, which keep on the cold counter in paper bags). What would you suggest I do with it?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Slice it up, put sections in a ziplock bag and freeze it @Zaku.

Smashley's avatar

Yup, @Zaku that.^^^ for longer term storage, then thaw at room temp. Some people slice, then freeze and just pop a piece in the toaster when they feel like it. It’s not the same as fresh, crusty bread, but it’s a lifestyle choice I am not against.

A week isn’t really too long to keep a good loaf out, though depending on environment, you may notice some undesirable changes. A plastic bag (without perforations) will keep the crust softer over the week. A paper bag will more closely match the conditions of a bread box, though drying out is a possibility. I recommend to customers a few days in paper, then switch to plastic if they are noticing hardness. I mean, first I mention bread boxes…

A high quality multigrain from a good baker will undoubtably be made with a natural ferment of some kind. This process inhibits mold growth, and also slows the staling action. A baguette or other yeasted bread will not have these properties, and white flour holds less moisture in general, so the staling action will be more obvious. A fridge basically accelerates the staling (though not the mold growth) that your bread would already be doing. I try to encourage best practices, but ultimately, the method that allows you to enjoy the it the most, is the best one for you.

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