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I bought all kinds of bread today (Thursday morning), pitas, whole-wheat rolls, a kind of challa-looking thing. The best before is about five days time. They're for consumption on Friday night and Saturday, so up to three days from purchase, although we'll be out camping and they'll probably be in a hot car for the drive out and in bags in the sun during the day while we're walking.

For the 24 hours or so from Thursday morning through Friday morning before the drive, is it better to put the bread in the freezer, or just let it sit on the shelf?

  • how are they packaged? – ElendilTheTall Sep 4 '14 at 10:58
  • @ElendilTheTall, All in plastic bags with those regular bread clips. – bjorne Sep 4 '14 at 11:26
  • If you leave them sealed it should be fine. Keep them out of sunlight. – ElendilTheTall Sep 4 '14 at 11:55
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Personally I have had varied results when freezing bread. I have had some that came out wonderfully after a couple of months. I have also had some that after a couple of days came out very dry. Note that when freezing bread, I only freeze fresh, and in a very short amount of time after getting it home. I find that results vary depending on the type and brand of bread.

All that said about freezing, I don't think how you keep the bread for the one day period will affect anything as much as the conditions you describe after leaving home. Bread in a bag in a hot car can be bad but bread in a bag sitting in the sun can be really bad. (Even on a short trip to the market I will not place bread in my car where sunlight can hit it.)

What I would recommend is to use a cooler. When preparing to leave for your trip, line the bottom and sides with frozen ice packs and cover the ice packs with a heavy towel to keep them from direct contact with the bread. Cover the items in the cooler with a towel (a little more insulation). The idea is to keep the bread at a moderate to cool temperature.

I do this whenever I carry foods that I want to keep cool but not in contact with ice packs. It works well for bread, perishables (great for salad greens), etc.

I also learned that a couple of layers of bubble wrap can be used in place of the towels. I can't take credit for the bubble wrap idea though. When ordering perishable items I noticed that this is how they were shipped.

  • Thank you. I don't have a cooler, but I'll see if my friend does. If not, I'll just line a bag with aluminium foil and make a makeshift one and use towels like you said. Hoping for the best. – bjorne Sep 4 '14 at 20:46
  • Think about a cheap Styrofoam cooler without the ice packs. Refrigerating bread speeds up recrystallization of starch and so accelerates staling. – Bob Brown Sep 6 '14 at 16:01
  • @BobBrown The idea is not necessarily to refrigerate the bread but to help keep it at a moderate temperature as it will be sitting in a hot car, possibly in the sunlight. Welcome to Seasoned Advice! – Cindy Sep 6 '14 at 16:14
  • I'm pretty sure ice packs are going to accelerate staling, and moderately certain that a little warmer is better than colder. The only way to be certain is to perform the experiment, which might mean sacrificing some bread. – Bob Brown Sep 6 '14 at 16:17
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The freezer exacts a price on bread. If frozen and thawed correctly, many bread will come out fine, but from that point forward, their shelf lives will be shorter than they would have been had they not been frozen. That makes the freezer a good idea for mid- to long-term storage for breads that you plan to finish within a day or two after having been thawed. Your situation doesn't call for freezing.

Keep the breads wrapped in plastic, with an aluminum foil wrapping on top of that, as tight as can be without squishing them. If you want to go all-out hog wild, put the plastic-and-foil-wrapped bread in resealable bags. If your wheat rolls are crusty, they won't be after this kind of treatment, but they will at least be soft and fresh.

Unfortunately, it's unlikely any bread would survive for several hours in a hot car followed by a half-day of direct sunlight without the protection of something like a cooler - but it need not be very cold. It only needs to keep the bread cool.

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Well, I've read that if you store bread with an apple it will keep fresh for longer - check it out here: http://www.listonic.com/protips/get/fyhzvxdwcc

When it comes to freezing, I agree with @Cindy Askew - it all depends on the variety of bread.

  • Welcome to Seasoned Advice! One comment: When referring to another answer be careful about "the one before me", because the order of answers will change over time as those answers receive votes. – Jolenealaska Sep 5 '14 at 23:19

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