Does Bread Last Longer When Refrigerated?

Hemera Technologies/ Images

Bread comes in many forms, from sliced sandwich loaves to artisan French baguettes, but none of them seem to last long enough before going stale. Despite what logic might suggest, bread actually stays fresh far longer when kept at room temperature than it does when kept in a refrigerator. Any bread that you can't consume within four days can be frozen to keep it fresh.

The Staling Process

Most foods go bad due to chemical reactions. Cool temperatures slow down these reactions, which is why refrigerating them keeps the majority of foods fresh for longer. However, bread goes stale due to the crystallization of starch inside it, a process which occurs six times faster when kept at the temperature inside a fridge than it does when kept at room temperature. Loss of water also speeds up the staling process, so -- unless you want to freeze it -- bread will stay fresh for longest when kept at room temperature in an airtight container.