should bread last?
Packaged sliced bread can be 24 hours
old by the time it arrives at the shops
because it’s baked the day before and
then transported. Consumers will have
no idea how old the
bread is, because
the best-before tag
indicates when it should be
eaten by rather than when it
was baked. Bakers we spoke to
agree the lifespan of a fresh loaf should
be about two or three days. But we found
packaged breads last much longer than
So how do packaged bread companies
make their bread last mould-free so
long without artificial preservatives?
Manufacturers claim advances in
processing methods help, as does
packaging that limits the flow of
moisture, oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Artificial preservatives may also be
replaced with natural ones. As an
example, mould can be kept at bay
by citric acid (330), lactic acid (270)
and fumaric acid (297). Other
preservatives are vegetable gums,
vinegar (acetic acid 260) and sodium.
Shelf life experiment
We stored 10 slices of white bread that didn’t contain artificial preservatives in airtight containers to see how long they took to go mouldy. The slices from the independent baker and Bakers Delight went mouldy first, on day four, followed on day five by the in-store bread from Coles, Woolies and the artisan. Wonder White and Aldi’s Country Bakery lasted until day eight and Tip Top finally gave up the ghost on day 10.
Watch our slideshow to see how the independent baker's bread fared.