Bread and Mold Topics
I'm a retired teacher, age 71.
I make bread every week for my own enjoyment. I keep it at room
temperature in a (new) plastic bag. About 6 days after making it, it
Q-1 What can I do to extend the pre-moldy period a few days? I have
observed that commercialy prepared breads stay mold-free for
considerably longer periods of time.
Q-2 Is it OK to eat bread molds? My son is color blind and often
can't see the color difference between the mold and the bread's crust.
Commercially prepared breads usually have preservatives to prevent mold
from growing on them. A very common mold inhibitor is calcium
propionate, which is toxic to molds. It is also toxic to humans at high
concentrations, although it is probably harmless at the concentrations
found in bread. Since one of the benefits of making your own bread is
that you get to eat bread that is free of preservatives, I think adding
a preservative might be self-defeating.
Eating bread mold is not a good idea. While many kinds of mold are
perfectly harmless, there are some extremely nasty molds out there that
can make you very ill. Some of them are even quite common. I recall a
mycology professor of mine used to say that mold on bread isn't worth
the risk, but that mold on cheese is fairly safe.
First off, bread that is moldy in any way should not be eaten and be
discarded immediatley. A few suggestions: After baking, the bread should be
cooled and stored in a breathable container for the first day. If you wish
to keep it for more than a few days, it should be refridgerated in a sealed
container only after cooled and dry on the oustside. If you wish, you can
also freeze the bread in a freezer bag. Do not reuse cheap plastic bags to
freeze the bread since they are typically polyethylene and are actually NOT
air tight...they breath and what will happen is the bread will get "freezer
burnt" which means the self defrosting freezer will dry out the bread.. I
would suggest that bread stored in the fridge should be discarded after 5
days. Stored in the freezer it will last a few months easily. By the way,
our sense that is most sensitive to detecting mold is not the sense of sight
but of smell.
A good way to extend your breads life is to keep it in a dark,dry, cool
area. Mold needs moisture and heat to grow, and many molds need light to
grow. Keeping the bread in something airtight will also help (like a
zip-lock bag). Just make sure to squeeze as much air as possible out of the
bag before closing it. Most molds will not do any harm if they are not
ingested in large quantities. The blue in blue cheese is actually mold!
The carbohydrate etc. in the bread dough is food for bacteria and mold just
as it is for you. I would store the dough in the fridge until you are ready
to bake it. You can take it out of the fridge for a period before you bake
it if you like, but as long as it is at room temp. the bacteria and mold
that are in the air (and inside a bag you store it in!) are going to start
having a feast. Refrigeration slows them down.
Q-1 Commercially prepared breads contain specific chemical preservatives
that inhibit the growth of many microorganisms (molds, bacteria, fungi). I
would hesitate to offer a particular chemical additive because there are
many and it would not clear how it would affect the other properties of the
bread. The ingredients in bread -- flour, yeast, milk, eggs, and so on are
great feeding grounds for all sorts of microbes -- some harmless, some not
so harmless. Add to that warmth and water and you have the makings of a good
garden for a lot of "bugs". Two general approaches would be to limit the
amount of oxygen available by storing the dough tightly in plastic bags
(which you already do apparently), and refrigeration/freezing which inhibits
the growth of most microbes. The websites below may provide you with some
additional insights into preservation of the dough. But storing uncooked
dough for days is inviting the risk of possible food poisoning -- bake it,
then store it.
Q-2 Unless you or your son is a microbiologist, I would not recommend eating
bread mold, or even raw dough for that matter. There are just too many
possible harmful microbes that can grow in/on bread.
Some possibly helpful sites:
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Update: June 2012