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I'm building a breadbox that will hold multiple loaves of bread. I was wondering if it would be a good idea to put a gasket around the lid to reduce air infiltration but I don't know what is more important. So is the key to keep out light or air or both?

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I edited your title slightly - it's a matter of what environments mold grows best in. –  Jefromi Apr 26 '12 at 2:47
    
A tip for having fresh bread is to either freeze it or to buy/bake sourdough bread. Depending on size, you can keep it up to a week in a paperbag + kitchen towel. I've never had sourdough bread go moldy. You will either eat it up or it will go dry (make croutons!) before it starts to go bad. –  citizen Jan 13 '13 at 12:32
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up vote 9 down vote accepted

Mold grows best in warm, moist conditions. It's a fungus, not a plant; light has nothing to do with it. Fresh air doesn't really make it grow either, but circulating air does help reduce condensation, depriving mold of moisture. So you really don't want to seal a breadbox - that'll just help create a nice moist environment for the mold to grow in.

Breadboxes are really just about keeping other pests away from your bread, while still being able to keep it at room temperature. (It goes stale faster in the fridge.) If you're worried about mold growth, you probably just want to freeze some of the bread.

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Actually, you want to keep some moisture in a bread box; bread exposed to room air goes stale quicker. Even if you don't have a box, storage in a paper or cloth bag is preferable to naked storage. But yes, too high moisture will facilitate mold growth, so it shouldn't be kept in a sealed box or in plastic bags. –  rumtscho Apr 26 '12 at 11:00
    
@rumtscho: I didn't mean to say you wanted to dry the bread out completely. But I think exposing it to room air makes it dry out, not go stale. –  Jefromi Apr 26 '12 at 16:05
    
Worth noting that most simple home made bread goes stale but doesn't really grow mold easily, while shop-bought bread will grow mold easily. I guess this has something to do with the fats they add. –  Mick Sear May 20 '12 at 20:38
    
Isn't going stale the same as drying out? –  Rob Jan 13 '13 at 14:26
    
@Rob That's a common belief but not quite true! en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Staling –  Jefromi Jan 13 '13 at 15:23
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