Does bread go bad?

In this brief guide, we will discuss the following question, “does bread go bad?”  and other queries related to this topic.

Does bread go bad? 

Yes, bread does go bad. Generally, bread has a short shelf life due to the ingredients used and added during the bread-making process. Moreover, bread can last for five to seven days at room temperature.

On the bread box or bag, you might notice a “best-before” date which means that after this period, bread is still safe for consumption but it would be stale, so its quality will be decreased.

Furthermore, homemade bread has a shorter shelf life when compared to store-bought bread. Usually, the homemade bread can last four to five days in your pantry at room temperature. In addition, to increase the shelf life of the bread, place it in the refrigerator or the freezer.

The type of bread does matter sometimes as well as the storage method of the bread because these factors affect the shelf life of your bread.

Additionally, the store-bought sandwiches and bread loaves usually contain some preservatives which expand their shelf life. But, gluten-free bread for example does not have a long shelf life since it is so moist and does not contain preservatives.

Moreover, dried bread like bread crumbs, crackers, or biscuits does not go bad easily since they contain oils, fat, and many other ingredients. Additionally, mold needs moisture to proliferate and dried bread is dehydrated so they lack moisture.

How to store bread?

There are three ways to store your bread. The first one is to preserve the bread at room temperature on the counter. However, at warm temperatures, mold and bacteria might develop within the bread and spoil it. So, the maximum shelf life of bread at room temperature is 7 days.

Therefore refrigeration is a way to increase the shelf life of the bread. When putting your bread in the fridge you are increasing the shelf life of your store-bought or homemade bread by three to five days. Or in other words, bread can last for about two weeks when stored in the fridge.
The third method is freezing your bread. Before putting your bread in the freezer make sure to put your loaf in a well-sealed bag. Also, cut your bread ahead of time, this will facilitate its usage once you decide to make a sandwich. In the freezer, the bread can last for about three to six months.

Moreover, it is not advised to keep it for more than three months in the freezer because freezing will not kill bacteria but low temperatures will reduce the proliferation rate of these bacteria. Also, the quality of the bread might decrease when it is stored in the freezer.

Once you have stored your bread in the freezer and you want to thaw or defrost it, there are two ways to preserve the bread’s quality. The first one is to separate the bread slices by putting them on a baking tray and putting them in the fridge overnight.

However, if you want to use it directly, keep it on the counter at room temperature. The second method is to put your bread slices in a toaster for several minutes.

How to tell if the bread has gone bad?

One of the major signs of bad bread is staleness. Stale bread is dry and hard bread. However, it can be consumed after heating it for several minutes to restore its moisture.

Moreover, in some cases, bread should not be consumed. In case the bread has developed mold. Mold is the presence of green, blue, black, or white spots on the bread. Do not think about cutting the moldy part and eating the rest because it might be risky.

In addition, bread can develop a sour or vinegar-like smell. In this case, throw it away because this is a sign of spoilage. Also, inhaling this smell might be dangerous because it is the gas developed during spore proliferation.

Furthermore, sometimes bread might not develop any sign of spoilage such as mold or bad smell. So, take a bite if you feel the bread has a sour taste, get rid of it.

What happens if I eat expired bread?

It is extremely safe to consume expired bread as long as it does not have any sign of spoilage. Consuming bread that has developed mold is extremely dangerous because bacteria within the bread might secret toxins and spores in the bread, which will lead to food intoxication.

The toxins secreted by these bacteria can lead to digestive problems like diarrhea and vomiting, and in serious cases, it can alter your gut microbiome, weaken your immunity and increase your risk of developing cancers.


In this brief guide, we discussed the following question, “does bread go bad?” and other queries related to this topic.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.