How long is bread good for?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “how long is bread good for?” We will also discuss in detail, the shelf life and storage methods of bread.

How long is bread good for?

Commercially baked breads and rolls can be stored at room temperature for 2 to 4 days or 7 to 14 days in the refrigerator. Bread products retain their quality when stored in the freezer for 3 months. Any breads containing meat or hard cooked eggs must be refrigerated within 2 hours.

Bread will have a longer shelf life if stored up properly. Bread that is not sealed adequately will dry up quickly, and there will be a lot of noticeable moisture in the package.

For bread to become moldy it must be contaminated after baking during the cooling, slicing or wrapping operations. (1-3)

What are the main causes of  bread spoilage?

Bread spoilage primarily arises from two key factors: staling and microbial growth. 

As bread is stored, various significant changes occur, these changes involve physicochemical processes affecting the crumb’s firmness, water distribution within the crumb and crust, and the overall surrounding environment. 

Additionally, the loss of flavor and the onset of microbial spoilage further impact the bread’s quality.

The staling process starts immediately after baking and plays a central role in the bread’s aging. Over time, long-term processes like starch retrogradation and water migration take place, accompanied by the evaporation of volatile components. 

Beyond textural alterations,  there is microbial spoilage. Bread creates an ideal environment for microbiological growth, making it susceptible to fungal contamination, which ultimately limits its shelf life. (4)

How can you extend the shelf life of your products?

To extend the bread shelf life it is crucial to maintain a dry environment, as moisture fosters mold development. Although common mold spores typically cannot survive baking, bread can easily pick up spores from the surrounding environment after baking, especially during slicing and packaging. 

Once these spores find favorable conditions, such as warmth and humidity, they can start to grow and lead to mold formation.

Avoid packaging fresh bread until it has thoroughly cooled to prevent the development of mold due to trapped moisture.

Vacuum-sealing is an effective bread packaging technique that removes oxygen, which is essential for mold growth. However, be aware that once you open the package, the bread becomes susceptible to contamination again. (3, 5, 6)

Can you store bread in the fridge?

Storing bread in the fridge is not recommended due to the occurrence of a process called retrogradation. When bread cools, its starch polymers lose mobility and undergo this retrogradation process. 

Throughout storage, this results in the firming of the bread, a common issue experienced with refrigerated bread. Retrogradation is influenced by both time and temperature, with the highest rate of staling observed at approximately 4°C. 

Although refrigeration at around 4°C can extend the shelf life of fully baked or part-baked bread by reducing the risk of mold growth, it’s important to be cautious.

If refrigerated bread is later stored at room temperature, the staling process accelerates, affecting its overall quality. (2, 6)

Can you freeze bread? 

Indeed, store-bought bread can generally remain edible for about 3 months. Freezing is an effective method to prolong its shelf life, but it’s essential to consider that frozen bread might not retain the same quality as fresh bread.

When bread is deeply frozen, the staling process is temporarily halted. However, freezing and subsequent thawing actually accelerate the staling effect, equivalent to approximately 24 hours of natural staling. 

This is because the bread goes through the temperature range where staling occurs twice – once during the cooling process and again during thawing. As a result, the bread’s texture and taste may not be as satisfactory as when freshly baked or consumed without freezing. (1, 2, 7)

Can you get sick from eating moldy bread?

Yes, consuming moldy bread can lead to illness. Mold has the potential to trigger allergic reactions, particularly in individuals with weakened immune systems, and can also cause harmful infections. Additionally, mold imparts an unpleasant taste to the bread.

In rare instances, moldy bread may contain mycotoxins, which can lead to food poisoning if ingested in significant quantities. As a precaution, knowingly eating or inhaling mold should be avoided at all times. (3, 5, 6)

What are the symptoms of eating mold?

If you have ingested moldy bread, symptoms may appear within a few hours. The common food poisoning symptoms to watch out for include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. 

The toxicity mechanism is linked to direct harmful effects on the gastrointestinal mucosal surfaces.

Furthermore, consuming bread contaminated with even more hazardous types of mold can lead to irritation in the mouth and throat. (8)

Other FAQs about Bread which you may be interested in.

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How long does it take to digest bread?

How to tell if bread is spoiled?


In this brief article, we answered the question, “how long is bread good for?” We discussed in detail, the shelf life and storage methods of bread.


  1. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Website. Washington, DC. How long can I store bread?  2023.
  2. Cauvain, S. P., & Young, L. S. The stability and shelf life of bread and other bakery products. Food and Beverage Stability and Shelf Life, 657–682. 2011.
  3. Legan, J. D. Mold spoilage of bread: the problem and some solutions. International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation, 32(1-3), 33–53. 1993.
  4. Alpers T, Kerpes R, Frioli M, Nobis A, Hoi KI, Bach A, Jekle M, Becker T. Impact of Storing Condition on Staling and Microbial Spoilage Behavior of Bread and Their Contribution to Prevent Food Waste. Foods. 10(1):76. 2021.
  5. U.S. Department of Agriculture.Food Safety Information. Washington, DC.Molds on Food: Are They Dangerous? 2013.
  6. Axel, C., Zannini, E., & Arendt, E. K. Mold spoilage of bread and its biopreservation: A review of current strategies for bread shelf life extension. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 57(16), 3528–3542. 2016.
  7. Izadi Najafabadi, L., Le-Bail, A., Hamdami, N., Monteau, J.-Y., & Keramat, J. Impact of baking conditions and storage temperature on staling of fully and part-baked Sangak bread. Journal of Cereal Science, 60(1), 151–156. 2014.
  8. Fung, F., & Clark, R. F. Health Effects of Mycotoxins: A Toxicological Overview. Journal of Toxicology: Clinical Toxicology, 42(2), 217–234. 2004.

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