If you’ve ever bought more bread than you’ve been able to eat in a week because it looked so yummy, you’re not alone. Humans are prone to eating copious amounts of bread, but after a few slices, you realize you can’t eat it all. Would you throw away your bread if you woke up craving toast in the morning, only to discover its expiration date has already passed?
There is no problem with eating expired bread if it does not have mold, smell, or taste weird. What you might be surprised to learn is that food isn’t always unfit to eat after its expiration date. Read on for a detailed explanation of whether you can eat expired bread and how to tell if it is still edible.
What Do Expiration Dates Really Mean?
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not mandate “better use by” and “sell by” dates.
These dates are merely there as a guide, though some states in the USA require the dates to be printed on food.
As a result, following expiration dates strictly could result in you throwing away perfectly good food.
You can also find apps that can help you identify individual foods, such as the FDA’s Food Keeper App, available for Apple and Android devices, which lists foods that you can generally eat past their expiration dates.
Not only will this help you satisfy your bread cravings, but it will also help your economy and the world’s food waste (did you know that roughly one-third of the food produced for human consumption gets lost or wasted every year?
Using common sense is also important: sometimes food just seems off, smells funky, or looks different; in those cases, don’t eat it and get rid of it right away.
All stages of food preparation, baking, transporting, and even when it reaches the supermarket’s shelves and cellars need to be handled and stored safely in order to ensure food conservation.
When food gets to your hands, you need to ensure it is stored correctly and at the right temperature in order for it to be preserved in an optimal state.
Can You Eat Bread After The Printed Expiration Date?
The answer is yes. However, there are a few warnings you need to take into account.
Let’s explore the science behind expired bread and ask ourselves if it’s ever safe to eat.
Why Does Bread Expire?
In the process of baking, bread goes through many processes that might degrade its quality. These natural transformations can cause the bread to lose its freshness and become stale.
The starch returns to its original structure and the bread expels water, causing it to lose moisture and become drier each day.
During the next few days, your bread will become drier on the outside than in the center as the moisture evaporates.
A bread’s acidity will also decrease as time goes on, making it more susceptible to mold spores going inside and multiplying.
Can You Eat Bread A Month After The Expiration Date?
When bread is stored properly, it can stay safe for about a week past the expiration date. As long as it has no mold, funny smell, odd taste, or a very different texture, it is still safe to eat.
In addition, if you keep tightly sealed bread loaves in the fridge, they will stay fresh for up to 12 days.
However, when sealed and stored in the refrigerator, homemade or bakery bread will only last for 5-8 days.
Freezing bread can extend its life by preventing microbes from growing. It all depends on the type of bread and how it is stored.
An overview of the estimated shelf-life of different types of bread and storage conditions can be found in this table.
How To Properly Store Bread To Assure Longevity
It is possible to extend the shelf life of your bread by using a few simple tricks and hacks.
This adorable bread box on Amazon is the perfect choice for bread lovers who can’t live without toast.
Whether you buy your loaves from a store or from a bakery, it’s still the best storage option
You can, however, store it in a sealed bag if you do not own a bread box.
Store-bought bread should be wrapped in its original packaging and closed with a bread clip (we love these on Amazon).
Whether you make your own bread or buy it from your local bakery, you should wrap it in plastic wrap and store it inside an airtight container (like this one which is designed especially for bread loaves).
The freezer might become your best friend if you buy a lot of bread. For bread loaves to be stored in the freezer, you should wrap them in cling wrap and then wrap them in aluminum foil.
To keep it from freezer burn and humidity, store it in an airtight container or plastic resealable freezer bag.
Why Does Bakery Bread Expire Faster Than Store-Bought Bread?
The main difference between bread in a bakery and bread you buy at the grocery store is that bakery bread is prepared fresh every day.
Bakery bread does not keep as long as store-bought bread because local bakers use less preservatives.
Furthermore, if the bread is moist, such as fruit bread, it will have an easier time developing mold and won’t last as long.
The bread you buy at the supermarket is more preservative-infused, so it lasts longer in your house.
How To Tell If Bread Is Still Safe To Eat
In addition to being unappealing, bad bread might also harm your health.
There are many indicators that will tell you when your bread has passed its shelf-life if you pay enough attention. Let’s take a closer look at some of them.
If you find mold on a loaf of bread, don’t eat it. Moldy bread shouldn’t be eaten, regardless of its color.
Because bread acts like a sponge, mold spores will spread throughout the loaf. Some slices may develop visible mold more slowly than others.
You should throw away all moldy bread if you find it on one side.
Mold is probably growing on the rest of the bread that you can’t see at the moment, but is already there and might cause food poisoning.
Your loaf of bread shouldn’t smell like beer or vinegar. If your bead smells odd, please throw it away.
If you are not sure whether the smell is right, you better don’t take the risk.
We all know how bread should taste. If you taste something strange, don’t cover it up with grilled cheese, jam, or honey: it’s time to go back to the bakery.
Bread that has hardened or is dried out should be thrown away. If your loaf of bread is solid as a rock, it’s also time to go bread shopping.
However, for certain types of bread, it may be harder to tell the difference between fresh and dry than for others.
It’s just a matter of paying attention to details; sourdough bread has a crisp outer shell, but a mushy and soft interior due to the lack of yeast.
What Happens If You Eat Expired Bread Without Mold?
When your bread slice doesn’t have mold, there’s nothing to worry about. Enjoy your sandwich or toast.
You should take into account that there are several types of fungus that spoil bread, including Rhizopus and Penicillium, so eating expired bread may contain toxins produced by any of these fungi if it has not been stored properly or a long time has passed since the package stated it was expired.
Consuming bread with fungus could eventually result in food poisoning, causing indigestion and weakening the immune system and even the respiratory system if you consume it.
We recommend eating fresh bread whenever you can, and avoiding bread that is more than a week old.
What To Do With Expired Bread?
To revive stale bread, use a toaster or oven. If you choose the oven, sprinkle the bread with water and bake it for about 6-10 minutes at 300°F.
If your bread is about to expire, you can turn it into a whole new meal. Here are some ideas on how to transform it.
Recipes You Can Cook With Expired Bread
Our favorite feature is that you can make them in under 15 minutes using any bread you like, including stale bread.
You just need to dice up your bread, add some olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and bake at 400°F, tossing every 5 minutes.
There isn’t a salad that won’t benefit from a crisp!
Take a look at this awesome video from Andrew Zimmern if you prefer to learn visually.
Make the most of your recently expired bread by making breadcrumbs.
You can also tear the bread into pieces and bake it at a low temperature until the pieces are completely dried out. Once the bread pieces are completely dried out, place them in a food processor.
It is possible to keep them in the fridge for about two months or freeze them for about six months in a plastic freezer bag. They will keep chilled at room temperature for about two months, or frozen at room temperature for about six months.
To make breaded chicken strips, zucchini chips, and even mac and cheese, bread crumbs are delicious and versatile.
French Onion Soup
To make the most out of your recently expired bread, try French onion soup for dinner or lunch.
There are caramelized onions in a beef broth base, along with delicious melted cheese and a crispy bread crown on top.
The best way to use up stale bread is to make a hot and filling dinner that’s both soup and bread.
French toast should be golden on the outside and tender on the inside. Ideally, use thicker slices of bread.
You will need milk, eggs, butter, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and sugar or sweetener for this recipe.
Soak the bread slices in the mix and fry it up in a pan with butter. You are going to love this breakfast! Mix all the ingredients together (except the butter) until they are uniformly mixed.
It is so simple that you will wonder why you haven’t done it before. Having recently expired bread won’t be a problem anymore once you get started with your bread pudding recipes.
The first step is to cut up your recently expired bread, and then butter a baking dish. Arrange the bread cubes in the prepared dish and set aside.
Using a large bowl, whisk eggs, whipping cream, milk, and sugar together and blend them well. Pour the mixture over the bread cubes and gently press them so they are submerged in the custard.
If you prepare the preparation 2 hours ahead, you can also cover and refrigerate it for better results.
The right ratio of bread to custard is crucial to getting the right texture.
The recipe calls for preheating your oven to 350°F and baking your mixture until you see the pudding puffs. This will take about 45 minutes. Take it out of the oven and let it cool. Drizzle with maple syrup and sprinkle with cinnamon.
What You Should Know
Expired bread can be eaten as long as it does not have mold, smell, or taste strange. Store your bread properly and at the right temperature to avoid food poisoning. Our delicious recipe ideas for recently expired bread will help you revive your bread if your expiration date has passed and the texture seems inferior to that of a sandwich.