Does bread go stale faster in the fridge?

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

Does bread go stale faster in the fridge? 

Yes, refrigeration can make the bread stale faster. Since refrigeration and low temperatures can accelerate the re-crystallization, which is also called retrogradation of starch molecules.

Generally, the flour contains high quantities of starch molecules. These molecules are highly organized. This organization is called a crystalline structure. However, adding water to the flour during the bread-making process will disturb and disorganise the crystalline structure.

The baking process makes the scratch molecules weaker, so the water can enter these molecules. Hence, the water molecules will weaken the starch molecules and as a result, it will make the bread softer, moist and fluffy.

Once the bread starts to cool after baking, the water present inside the starch will leave it to become a part of the other ingredients of the mixture. At the time the water leaves the starch, these molecules will return to their initial form and they will again form a crystalline structure.

This is called the recrystallization phenomenon. Thus, the recrystallization process will make the bread harder, which also will be accentuated by the presence of humidity and low temperatures like in the refrigerator.

Moreover, bread refrigeration can facilitate its staleness six times faster than when kept at room temperature.

What is stale bread?

Bread becomes stale when it lacks moisture and hydration. However, bread can be stale if it is also too moist.

In addition, one of the main reasons behind having stale bread is the recrystallization process that happens during bread cooling. Recrystallization changes the bread texture and makes it stale.

In addition, staling is a physical and chemical procedure that happens in food and makes it less palatable, dry, and hard.

Moreover, bread made from flour, water, and salt is more prone to become stale. Hence, if you add any source of fat to it such as oil or butter you will reduce your chance of having stale bread after several days.

What can I do with stale bread?

To restore your stale bread, reheat it or toast it as long as it has not grown any mold. To do so, put your bread under running water until its crust is completely wet. After that, place the bread loaf in the oven for about five to ten minutes.

Once reheated, the water will be reabsorbed and it will reenter the starch molecule and thus it will form a gel-like structure that makes the bread moist and fluffy. 

Moreover, if you do not want to reheat your bread loaf to use it in sandwiches, consider toasting it to make bread crumbs in order to be used in different recipes for coating, topping, or stuffing. Or instead, use your stale bread for making croutons that will be added to your salads.

Furthermore, stale bread can be used in making many desserts such as pain perdu, french toast, or apple brown betty.

What are the advantages of keeping the bread in the refrigerator?

One of the main advantages of putting your bread in the refrigerator is to avoid getting mold and throwing it away. Stale bread can be heated once again and can be used in different recipes but moldy bread can not be used since it can lead to food poisoning.

So stale bread that has a bad texture can still be edible however, moldy bread can not be consumed.

Can I freeze bread?

Yes, you can freeze bread. You can freeze it in two ways whether as a loaf or as slices. However, slicing your bread before freezing is more convenient than storing a whole loaf. Since it will be easier for you to take a piece of bread from the freezer to prepare your sandwich.

Moreover, if you are willing to freeze your bread, place it in the freezer as soon as possible after it cools down. Because leaving the bread for a long time at room temperature can accelerate its retrogradation and thus its staleness.

How to store bread to make it last longer?

As mentioned earlier, freezing is a good method to preserve your bread and increase its shelf life for several months. Before doing so, place your bread in a well-sealed plastic bag in the freezer.

Once you are planning to use your bread loaf remove it from the freezer, unwrap it and let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Moreover, if you want to store your bread neither in the fridge nor in the freezer, place it in a paper bag at room temperature on the counter. Never store your bread loaf in a plastic bag over the counter.

Finally, one of the good methods to store your bread is by placing them in a bread box.


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