There’s no doubting it, there is NOTHING like fresh bread.
Hot, crusty with its soft, pillowy centre… it’s one of life’s very simple luxuries and we all love it. And don’t get me started on that heavenly smell of a freshly cooked or heated loaf…
But unfortunately, that fluffy goodness doesn’t stay fresh for very long. In what can seem like the blink of an eye your cherished loaf of bread is hard and stale, or worse still, growing its own little ecosystem of grey, green, white or strangely multicoloured mould. Even with the help or your best friend the Aussie Bread Bag assisting.
So, what do we do? We run the gauntlet and plunge our precious bread into the freezer to extend its life, just minutes before it turns into something that is completely unusable.
I’m not sure about you, but in my house, once my prized loaf has moved to the freezer, it can be a clear case of out of sight, out of mind.
Now cold and hard, but very well preserved, it can hang out in the back of its new icy cold cave of a home for months before being found in my biannual freezer clean out and thawed for use.
How long can bread be kept frozen?
But have you ever wondered how long it is safe to keep that bread in the freezer for? Does bread have an expiry date even when it’s stored below -15C?
The short answer is yes, bread does have an expiry date, even when it’s frozen. Well, that’s one question answered, but how long do we have to thaw and reheat our favourite staple?
To get the low down, we asked a group of experts, and apparently this is quite the controversial topic.
The UK verdict:
In the UK, the guidelines are that your commercial loaf of bread or specialty baguette can be kept in your freezer for between 4 – 6 months. That is 4 months for your fancy baguette and up to 6 months for your trusty supermarket loaf.
But before you start to panic, it’s not that after this time the bread will make you sick if you eat it, it simply loses quality. It can taste stale, have a harder texture and start to fall apart when it’s thawed. Even the toaster won’t help if your piece is crumbling.
For this length of time, you also need to make sure your bread is stored away from the direct fan to avoid freezer burn and that lovely freezer taste.
Here in Australia, we are a little bit more conservative with our bread storage. The official guidelines are that bread should only be kept in the freezer for 3 months, and this is providing that it is stored in an airtight container.
However, follow these guidelines and you are all but guaranteed to be eating fresh tasting, fluffy bread when you pop it into the oven to thaw and refresh itself or crunchy toast from the toaster.