Ingenious storage method using vegetable helps bread ‘remain fresh’ for longer

While fresh loaves are best eaten within two to three days, bread can turn quickly beyond that point, as it struggles to retain its water.

Soon after the bread starts cooling, water leaves the starch to move into other parts of the mixture, BBC Science Focus reports.

This allows the starch molecules to return to their crystalised state, which is the process responsible for making bread go hard and stale.

Because this process happens more quickly in colder conditions, food experts advise against storing bread in the fridge.

The need to prolong the freshness of produce like bread tends to be greater during the festive period when finances become stretched. Fortunately, advice has been volunteered.

Tom Church, co-founder of the money-saving community, explained: “If you’ve ever opened your loaf of bread to make a sandwich, only to discover that it’s gone mouldy, consider placing a stick of celery into the bread bag.

“It may sound off but the bread will absorb the moisture provided by the celery and in turn, remain fresh. You won’t become dry and mouldy at the same rate, so your chances of getting a sandwich together will increase.”

He continued: “If you buy bread such as Hovis Soft White Medium weekly and only buy half a much due to this hack, you’d be saving just over £31 a year.”

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Shop-bought loaves have a better chance of remaining fresh if kept in an airtight plastic bag at room temperature along with the vegetable, which retails at approximately 6p per stalk.

The science behind this method is simple. The unique properties of the vegetable that make it an eligible candidate for preserving bread are its high water molecules.  

By placing a couple of celery sticks in a bread bag or tin, it is believed the moisture of the stems will help in keeping the surrounding environment moist.

This moist microclimate is believed to help slow moisture loss from the bread, ultimately encouraging it to stay soft for longer.  

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Writing on the Speciality Breads news blog, managing director Simon Cannell proposed alternative ways to keep bread fresh.

“Simple run your steel loaf under the tap then bake it in the oven at 160 degrees for six minutes and avoid, the dry bread is revived, as good as new!” He said.

“Just don’t do it when the bread has gone mouldy. That’s taking waste reduction a bit too far!” 

Another trusted method to prolong the shelf-life of bread is to simpy freeze it, as the slices will still toast as efficiently if frozen.

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