Can you freeze bread in original packing? (+3 tips)
In this article we will answer the question, “Can you freeze bread in original packing?” and discuss when you should use the original packaging and when you should not use the original packaging and why, and how to freeze bread properly.
Can you freeze bread in original packing?
Yes, you can freeze bread in the original packaging. Freezing is an effective way to extend the shelf life of bread, as it reduces the rate of oxidative reactions and halt the development of microorganisms.
Bread can be better preserved when packed in high oxygen / moisture barrier plastic materials, because staling, which leads to the loss of quality of bread during storage, can be reduced when bread is protected from moisture loss and oxidation (which can lead to rancidity) can be reduced when bread is protected from oxygen during frozen storage (1).
When should you freeze bread in the original packaging?
You should freeze bread in the original packaging in the case of commercial bread that is sold in plastic bags. Plastic is considered the best type of material to preserve bread (1).
If the bread has been bought in bread stores and packed in paper bread bags, it is recommended to place the bread in a plastic freezable bag or in an airtight glass or plastic container.
Although waxed paper bags could provide some protection against moisture loss and oxidation during frozen storage, they offer poor gas and water barriers when compared to plastic bags, especially packages made of high density polyethylene (PE-HD) or copolymers, such as polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC)/polyvinyl chloride (PVC) (1,3,4,6).
What are the benefits of freezing bread in the original package?
The benefits of freezing bread in the original package are (1,3,4,6):
- Food handling is one of the factors that may decrease the shelf life, as handling can introduce microbial contamination into the food. By storing bread in the original packaging, you reduce the handling of the bread, improving its safety
- Many bakery goods are packed using modified atmosphere packaging (MAP), which can improve the shelf life of bread stored at room temperature or at frozen conditions. Preserving the original packaging and freezing the bread bag without opening first will not disrupt the internal gas balance.
- Bread products packed in modified atmosphere packaging MAP contain lower concentration of oxygen, reducing thus the rate of oxidative reactions that cause quality loss of bread and preventing the growth of aerobic microorganisms. Changing the original packaging this benefit is lost
What can you use in place of plastic to freeze bread?
To use in place of plastic to freeze bread, you can use a freezable glass container, freezer coated paper cartons, or aluminum foil (2,3,7).
Glass containers: Glass is considered a good barrier material for oxygen and moisture, similarly to plastic (7). However, due to its rigidity, it is not possible to reduce the air inside of the glass container prior to freezing bread.
As a consequence, the air inside the glass container can cause freeze burn, lipid oxidation, color degradation and loss of moisture (1).
Waxed paper: waxed paper is more resistant against moisture, as it is laminated by a coating of wax on both sides. Consequently, it can be used to pack food products, due to the improved gas and moisture barriers, when compared to regular paper or parchment paper (3).
Aluminum foil: aluminum foil is a good barrier to moisture, oxygen, and aroma and therefore can substitute plastic to freeze bread. Similar to plastic wraps, aluminum foil is flexible and protects the bread from freezing burn in a better way than glass or rigid plastic containers, leaving no air space in the surroundings of the bread. In addition, it provides a barrier against light (1,2,3).
Other FAQs about Bread which you may be interested in.
What is the shelf life of frozen bread?
The shelf life of frozen bread varies from 3 to 5 months depending if it is a store bought or homemade bread. Although frozen bread can be stored safely for more than the recommended storage time, its quality declines significantly over the extended storage time (1).
The following table shows the estimated shelf-life of different types of bread under different storage conditions (8).
|In the pantry||In the fridge||In the freezer|
|Commercial breads and baked goods||14-18 days||2-3 weeks||3-5 months|
|Homemade white bread||3-5 days||2-3 months||3 months|
|Homemade whole bread||3-5 days||Not recommended||3 months|
|Commercial whole bread||3-5 days||Not recommended||3 months|
In this article we answered the question, “Can you freeze bread in original packing?” and discussed when you should use the original packaging and when you should not use the original packaging and why, and how to freeze bread properly.
- Evans, Judith A., ed. Frozen food science and technology. John Wiley & Sons, 2009.
- Orr, K,J. Freezing foods. University of Hawaii.
- Deshwal GK, Panjagari NR, Alam T. An overview of paper and paper based food packaging materials: health safety and environmental concerns. J Food Sci Technol. 2019, 56, 4391-4403.
- Alhendi, Abeer, and Ruplal Choudhary. Current practices in bread packaging and possibility of improving bread shelf life by nanotechnology. Int J Food Sci Nutr Eng, 2013, 3, 55-60.
- Nichols, J. How to make, bake and freeze quick breads. 2017. University of Michigan.
- D. Novotni, et al. Influence of frozen storage and packaging on oxidative stability and texture of bread produced by different processes. LWT, 2011, 44, 643-649.
- Jaime, Sandra BM, Rosa MV Alves, and Paula FJ Bócoli. Moisture and oxygen barrier properties of glass, PET and HDPE bottles for pharmaceutical products.] J Drug Delivery Sci Technol, 2022, 71, 103330.
- FSIS’ FoodKeeper. US Department of Agriculture.