How long can you eat bread after the sell-by date?

This article will answer the question “How long can you eat bread after the sell-by date?”, and how to store bread? 

Read on to find out what factors influence the shelf-life of bread and what happens If you accidentally eat expired bread.

How long can you eat bread after the sell-by date?

Bread does not usually come with an expiry date. The printed date on the bread package goes by the label “Best-by”. This date does not indicate safety. Rather, it is just an estimate made by the manufacturer about how long the bread will remain in its peak quality. 

The bottom line is that bread stays safe for about 5-7 days past the expiry or printed date if stored correctly. However, if you notice mold or anything strange about the appearance, texture, and smell of bread, throw it out.

The shelf-life of bread

Store-bought bread that is kept tightly sealed in the fridge will stay fresh for 7-12 days. Homemade bread, on the other hand, will only preserve its freshness for 5-8 days in the fridge if stored correctly. 

Bread will last 3-6 months in the freezer depending on what type of bread It is and how it is stored. Freezing temperatures halt the growth of microbes to perform the preservative action. 

The following table shows the estimated shelf-life of different types of bread under different storage conditions.

In the pantryIn the fridgeIn the freezer
Store-bought bread5-7 days7-12 days 3 months
Homemade bread 3-5 days 5-8 days 3 months 
Baked goods (rolls, bagels, pastries, etc.)Expiration date + 2-3 daysNot recommendedExpiration date + up to 6 months

How to store bread?

At room temperature

As long as the bread is unopened, it can be safely stored at room temperature. Once the package is opened, the seal is important. If the original package is not resellable, transfer it to a breadbox or a plastic storage bag. The bread must be protected from moisture and air. 

To store homemade freshly baked bread, a paper bag works fine. After placing the bread inside it, fold the end of the bag and seal it using paper clips. The rule of thumb is to keep the bread in a cool and dry place, away from sources of heat like sunlight and stovetop.

In the fridge 

If the bread is not tightly sealed, refrigeration temperatures will debris the bread of its moisture. To store the bread in the fridge, keep it tightly sealed in a freezer bag or original plastic packaging. 

In the freezer 

Any type of bread including bagels and banana bread can be frozen for an extended shelf-life. Before freezing the bread cut it into slices. Frozen bread cannot be cut. Besides, defrosting doesn’t take much time, so freezing pre-sliced bread is preferred.

  • Unopened loaves of bread can be directly tucked in the freezer without any additional packaging.
  • To freeze leftover bread, transfer it to a freezer bag, squeeze out the air from the bag before storing. 
  • Make sure the bread is not damaged by pressure or smashed by other products in the freezer. To avoid this, it is recommended to store it in an air-tight container.

What factors influence the shelf-life of bread?

Type of bread and ingredients used 

Store-bought sandwich, a loaf of bakery bread has preservatives added to extend its shelf life. These preservatives include calcium propionate, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, and sorbic acid. 

Lactic acid is naturally present in bread that has anti-microbial action. Therefore, these bread types are sold at room temperature. 

Gluten-free bread is sold in the refrigerated section because it is highly prone to spoilage due to high moisture content and low preservative levels.

Breadcrumbs and crackers last the longest due to lesser moisture levels.  Refrigerated dough for biscuits and rolls is susceptible to rancidity due to high oil content.  

Homemade bread that lacks any preservatives and contains perishable ingredients like eggs and milk, has a shorter 

shelf-life comparatively.

Storage method 

Bread stored in warm and moist surroundings will go bad rapidly due to microbial growth. Bread can be refrigerated to extend its shelf life by 3-5 days. This applies to both homemade and store-bought bread.

What happens if I eat expired bread?

Rhizopus, Penicillium, Aspergillus, Mucor, and Fusarium are the most common types of fungus that spoil bread. Eating bread might contain toxins produced by any of these fungi. 

It can eventually lead to food poisoning or irritate the respiratory tube when inhaled. Food poisoning results in indigestion and a weakened immune system.

Conclusion

This article answered the question “How long can you eat bread after the sell-by date?”, and how to store bread?

References

https://www.eatthis.com/foods-safe-to-eat-after-expiration-date/
https://www.healthline.com/health/how-long-does-bread-last#bottom-line
https://www.quora.com/Can-I-eat-expired-bread

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.