The average UK household throws away over £700 worth of food a year, with bread being the most wasted food of all, followed by potatoes, fruit & vegetables. According to EcoExpert, 41% of this food is thrown away because it hasn’t been used in time. That’s a lot of money thrown in the bin!
To make things worse, the supermarket is also becoming an expensive place these days. Food price hikes never seemed so high. This has led to people all across the country seeking different ways they can cut costs and reduce their own food waste, with many of them benefiting from our very own revolutionary BreadSmart bread-bins that are helping people extend the shelf-life of their bread by weeks, due to its patented CondensControl™ technology surrounding the rim and in the lid.
If you’ve not yet grabbed yourself one of these game-changing bread bins and still prefer the more time-consuming alternative of freezing your bread then below are some important tips and best practices to consider when doing so!
Store your bread in the freezer, not the refrigerator
The truth is if you want to keep your bread fresher for longer, wrapping it in plastic and storing it in the fridge is the worst thing you can do. When you refrigerate bread, the cold and not-quite-freezing temperature speeds up the “retrogradation and re-crystallization of starch” (going stale) process. This basically means that your fridge’s cool environment causes crystallization to happen quickly, which leaves you with a dried-out, hard loaf in no time at all. This basically means that when you refrigerate your bread, you’re basically hitting fast forward on its shelf life.
Tip: Freezing bread dramatically slows the process down.
Frozen bread can still go stale if not stored properly.
Even if your bread is placed in a freezer at 0 degrees Fahrenheit, it can still go stale. Bread will keep for three to six months in a freezer, but flavours can begin to dull after a month. The longer you leave bread in a freezer, especially in combination with other foods, moisture can seep into your loaf, making it soggy and stale
"Many people forget that freezing only slows down decay; after thawing, bread can still go stale fairly quickly if it has not been stored properly. This is according to Neil Sadick, a professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. He argues that even after being frozen for 16 months, sliced white bread experienced a 28% increase in staling once thawed.
Tip: Put it in a warmer part of your freezer — like on the door — if it’s for, say, sandwiches, and you’ll be reaching for it frequently. The rate at which it goes stale will depend on its density and any fillers that were added to it.
Freezing bread can affect texture, taste, and flavour.
You can often notice a slight change in texture and loss of ‘crunch’ after freezing and thawing certain varieties, especially when freezer burn occurs. According to tests conducted by America's Test Kitchen (ATK), frozen bread actually has a shorter shelf life than un-frozen bread, most likely because the moisture from ice crystals damages crusts over time.
According to The Kitchn, freezing bread is an ineffective way to keep it from going stale. Although freezing does prevent mould from growing on bread and prevents most (but not all) freezer burn, once it’s thawed out, you can still end up with a stale loaf.
Tip: Greg Wade, head baker at Chicago’s Publican Quality Bread, says it’s best to freeze bread and pull it out when we need it — as long as we follow a few simple rules.
He starts with what not to freeze: “I never recommend freezing things like baguettes or ciabatta. Anything that has a large surface-to-crumb ratio just never refreshes the same.”
"I had a bread-bin years ago, and I threw it out because it didn’t keep the bread fresh, and I started just putting it in the freezer, which is no good because when the kids come in from school, and they want a snack, it’s in the freezer!" - Susan M.
Freezing bread can lose important nutrients.
A study by The British Journal of Nutrition found that freezing bread for long periods can cause nutrient loss. While frozen fruits and vegetables will usually retain their vitamins and minerals, freezing bread can impact its nutritional value. Some of these changes are due to oxidation; because freezing alters texture, it causes some trapped air pockets to break open. This process releases water-soluble nutrients such as thiamin, riboflavin, folic acid, niacin and Vitamin C.
Tip: Again, storage is essential to maintaining nutritional value. No matter how you package the bread, your goal is to create a barrier between bread and freezer air.
It takes up much-needed space in your freezer!
Every month, you likely dedicate an entire shelf in your freezer to storing food for future use. As soon as you start freezing bread, that shelf space gets cut in half! That’s because if you plan on freezing a loaf of bread for consumption at a later date, you need to wrap it tightly with foil or plastic and then store it in a sealed freezer bag. You also want to double-bag most sliced loaves before freezing them because they typically have more surface area exposed during storage than regular loaves. The end result is one less spot in your freezer dedicated to storing food—and one more filled with all kinds of frozen meals waiting to be reheated.
Thawing and defrosting can be time-consuming.
The best way to thaw and defrost bread is at room temperature and then put it in the oven to get some of that crust back. Unfortunately, this can be a time-consuming process. A large loaf of bread takes at least an hour to thaw in a fridge.
Tip: Before you need to use a loaf, remove it from the freezer and set it on a countertop in its packaging. The bread will reabsorb any moisture on the inside of the bag or wrap. Let it sit until it reaches room temperature. Reheats room-temperature, unwrapped bread at 350°F for about 10 minutes. It really brings the crust back to life.
Bonus TipWant to go straight from freezer to oven? Place unwrapped bread in a 400°F oven for 20 minutes. This “hot-thawing” method makes items stale quickly and can make bread chewy or soggy, but is a quick and easy way to thaw your bread in a rush.
Frozen bread is difficult to slice.
The flexibility of bread is diminished when frozen, and it tends to shatter when you try to cut it. If you’re in a rush and defrost it in the microwave then it becomes difficult to slice, too, often getting a rubbery or soggy texture.
Tip: It’s better to slice your bread ahead of time and freeze each slice individually. Then you can take out slices as needed and defrost them on a plate (not in the microwave) or directly in your toaster. To avoid freezer burn, keep each slice covered with plastic wrap until you’re ready to use it. This makes it easier to peel away individual slices without accidentally tearing them into pieces. Then, you can transfer them to your freezer and just remove them one slice at a time when you need them!
So while freezing your bread may help in some ways, if you want your frozen loaves to stay fresh for longer, consider packing them in airtight plastic bags instead—the moisture-free environment will keep them fresher for longer. You can also place them inside a Tupperware container that traps air; just remember that you should take precautions against moisture build-up by putting something absorbent at the bottom of your container.
Alternatively, if you want a less time-consuming way to extend the life of your bread, then meet BreadSmart- the easy, convenient way to keep bread deliciously fresh, soft, and ready to eat for days longer! This revolutionary bread bin contains sophisticated CondensControl™ technology that carefully controls the environment of the container, regulating airflow, ventilation, and moisture to ensure the best conditions for the bread to stay fresh for longer. Specially designed ribs on the base also help prevent contact with breadcrumbs, reducing mould formation and stale bread. Save yourself time and money on the amount of food waste thrown away every month.
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