Food end life is usually judged when the point of expected quality began to degrade or cannot meet customer expectations. There are that can last indefinitely, wine for example. Older wines cost more than newly made. Commonly, they last six months to a year. The common convenience food items on shelves. Noodles, sardines, jams, juices, meat loaf, crackers and pasta. Some are good only for few hours to several days. The hot pandesal in the early morning might be stale already by dawn. Not only it is not hot but the crispy crust and soft chewy internal are becoming to be hard as baseball. It is still edible and safe to eat but the expected quality is gone.
Lost of crisp is due to crust absorbing moisture from air and bread itself. The toughening has explanation too but still vague. It is because the starch is transforming to its crystalline form. What the heck is that? Like carbon atoms in charcoal changing bond matrix to form diamond. It is said that kneading techniques and some additives can delay this effect. So the bread you bought that never go stale for several days could only mean two things. It was made by expert baker or laden with stranger additives.
On baker’s point of view keeping them inside refrigerator is a bad idea. It hasten the signs of staling. I mentioned it above, crust loosing its crisp and the whole bread toughening in general. There are variety of ways to keep it fresh longer. One of the best I know is buy only what you can eat. Leave the rest for others to buy. Let the bakery worry about the bread going stale. In the scenario of having leftovers, keep them inside refrigerator.
The important thing about this is not loosing the peak quality, but preventing mold growth. Tough bread is safe to eat but moldy is not. If coffee can be drink cold, why cannot we eat cold bread? We bought a family size pizza and unable to eat them all. We kept it in fridge overnight. It was frickin good cold pizza by morning. I kept a piece of Spanish Bread in fridge for several days. It was tough but the taste was still awesome.
Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.