The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bread storage solutions - Room for improvement?

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nu_student_2011's picture
nu_student_2011

Bread storage solutions - Room for improvement?

 

I've been digging around on the web for a while now and I've noticed that people use a whole host of different bread and baked goods storage locations such as the countertop, fridge, freezer, breadboxes, etc.

But people have mentioned that each location seems to have some downside. Bread in the fridge can pick up smells and retrogrades faster. Bread in the freezer adds a thawing step before consumption (if you’re not making toast), and bread on the countertop can quickly dry out or mold, depending on the climate in your home.

People in who aren’t buying generic “Wonderbread” seem unsatisfied with how long some of their bakery products last. Many at least see room for improvement. Bakers like members of “The Fresh Loaf” likely have their own unique set of needs.

So I’ve created this forum account to solicit information from your community. I’m a graduate student working in a small team to develop a new product to address this very issue. We’re creating a stylish kitchen countertop product that electronically maintains optimal bread and baked good storage conditions. There are two goals, to control mold growth and keep baked goods “fresher” for a longer period of time.

We’ve had some technical success in this area, but we need to make sure there is a true need for this product we’re making at the price level we’re targeting.

I’ve setup a 5 minute surveymonkey that focuses on the topic. I would really, really appreciate any feedback you can give my team. We think members of this forum could be part of our target market, and we’d love to get your thoughts.

Thanks in advance! Please let me know if you have any questions.

nu_student_2011's picture
nu_student_2011

Here's the survey link


https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RSFJ8VY


 

Ford's picture
Ford

I find that enriched bread keeps very well in the refrigerator, provided one washes his hands before handling the bread.  By enriched I mean bread made with milk and butter or other fat.  I also freeze my extra loaves of bread.


The lean breads (flour, water, salt & leaven only) will go stale more quickly and especially in the refrigerator.  This has to do with crystallinity not just drying.


Ford

foodslut's picture
foodslut

Bread to be used in near term goes into a cloth bread bag in our house, and into the freezer for longer-term storage.


Curious - are you per chance doing market research, given the nature of the questions?

nu_student_2011's picture
nu_student_2011

We've done some qualitative research so far, but we are trying to do some supplemental online quantitative market research with this survey monkey. It's extremely difficult compared to face-to-face research unfortunately.


When we ask someone if they will pay X amount for a product they can't see or touch, it's hard to them to make an accurate assessment.

At this point, we aren't showing the industrial design, which is a serious problem. It requires the survey respondent to use their imagination, which is not good.


Hopefully soon we'll have a defined design we can show off during surveys.


 

Chuck's picture
Chuck

On top of all your other problems with online surveying, the responses from here probably don't represent your target market very well. Folks here at TFL are much more likely to:



  • bake bread so frequently storage isn't an issue

  • be especially good at technological kludges (for example: aerated plastic vegetable bags)

  • be quite picky about the right "taste"

  • have a prediliction against all "non-natural" ingredients, including any of the dough enhancers typically used by commercial bakeries

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

aerated plastic bags.  Unfortunately, I see them only in packs of 100 or more.


Anna

Gunnersbury's picture
Gunnersbury

Thank you, Ford.  I didn't know that enriched bread is a candidate for the refrigerator. I am sort of in a bread-baking rut, in that my family absolutely loves my challah so that is all I bake. It's a nicely enriched bread and I will keep it in the frige from now on. 


As for a technical gadget: If it were as big as a bread box I would not want it: I am absolutely out of kitchen space, what with the stand mixer, etc. and would not want an electronic bread box in the bedroom or bath. 

Ford's picture
Ford

Well, that is essentially what I told them on their marketing survey.  Sounds like a great idea, BUT NOT FOR ME!


Challah sounds great.  I haven't made that for years -- was good when I did.


Ford

JoeV's picture
JoeV

I bake bread so we have it for about 10-14 day at the longest, and it always stored in the freezer after being sliced. 23 second in my nuke, and teh bread is perfect for a sandwich, and the kitchen smells like I just baked a fresh loaf. LOL


The only exception to the above would be baguettes, which are essentially good for 24 hours, then become bread crumbs for other purposes. I have the space for a gadget box, but no desire to own one.

uncle goosehead's picture
uncle goosehead

I've had a 22 or so year habit of baking on the weekends, so the bread by Friday and Saturday morning is quite stale.  We store some on the counter and some in the fridge. The climate here (Saskatchewan) is pretty cold in the winter, with -10°C to -40° C (14 to -40° F) November to March, and relatively hot dry summers but quite variable June to Aug +10° to +35°C (50-95°F).  Right now (April 20) we had -8 overnight and +6 day.  Mould is not really an issue, but drying out is.


Lately I've been inspired to make ~100% hydration flour / water preferment leave this for 24 or 36 hours (depending on whether I make it before or after workday), and then more flour to get this to a dough I can handle.  Probably mostly 75-80%, which seems right for this climate.  I tried this in Vancouver on a visit, and it seemed to be ~5% less. If I make things slowly like this, I can bake it in the evening after a long slow rise in the cool winter kitchen.  I sometimes drop the house temp to 16° (60°F) if I think it's too lively to wait until after work and wear a toque to bed. So I'm baking 2-3 times per week these days.


Only thing is, that the bread doesn't last that long when I make 1 large loaf at a time.


As for left over stale bread...


I tear this up into bits, thrown in some raisans, some cinnamon, cloves, cardamon, nutmeg of whatever other spices, maybe half of a left over baked potato, a bit of brown sugar, some eggs, some milk or soya milk and put it in the oven on timer for an hour to be ready for 'breadfast'.  Alternate versions contain other dried fruits like apple, dates and figs, or cinnamon and some hot pepper flakes.  I've also made it with a good shot of rum, which helps when it gets to -40°.

uncle goosehead's picture
uncle goosehead


  1. We don't get mould and it forces you to say how you feel about it.

  2. We don't ever throw out stale bread, we make bread pudding or save it in the freezer to stuff the turkey with.

  3. We're not frustrated.

  4. No-one's business about income.


 


? is the survery spam ?


 


 

CuriousLoafer's picture
CuriousLoafer

I bake frequently (3 or more times per week) and I give away a lot of loaves, partly because I enjoy the giving and partly because they do not stay fresh for consumption. (The two of us can only eat so much bread within the limited span of freshness.)


The problem with the survey is that it doesn't address the issue that I have with bread storage. I live in the Rocky Mountains and with the high, dry altitude, mold is not generally a problem. Drying out and becoming stale IS a problem. This can be delayed somewhat by storing the bread in plastic or the freezer, but then the gorgeous crackling crust is reduced to mere chewiness. Leave the loaf on the counter and the crust dessicates into concrete while the crumb becomes Styrofoam.


A breadbox, no matter how lovely, won't solve the problem of maintaining crumb-moisture-vs-crust-crackling. 


Also, I'm leery of committing my beautiful, artisan loaf to an electronic appliance. Doesn't that fly in the face of artisan baking? Artisan bread is about time, patience, tradition, skill...Sticking that masterpiece in an air-conditioned box to try to postpone the inevitable seems contrary to the idea of artisan baking. (Sorry for the soapbox soliloquy.)


For me, the joy of baking lies greatly in the ephemeral nature of bread. It DOESN'T keep. It's not supposed to. It must be made fresh daily. It requires you to accept and appreciate the immediacy of the pleasure of fresh bread, not delay or try to prolong it. And because it doesn't keep, it necessitates sharing this bounty with others. Where's the bad in that?


 

naschol's picture
naschol

and have found that the vacuum breadbox I purchased works great for keeping breads from drying out too quickly in this climate.  I really like it, but usually only keep a loaf in there and the rest in the freezer.  Occasionally, there are a few rolls in there, as well.


 


Nancy

jcking's picture
jcking

Is the device being developed using raidiation or gas like some meat products?


Jim

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I have a bread box mounted under my electric slicer and that is mounted inside a lower cabinet that swings out and up for use.  Do I use the bread box?  No, at the moment I have cake pans in it.  It's the old out of sight, out of mind problem.  But if a device could be mounted inside that gave off funky light and killed mold and it had an on/off switch.  I might be tempted to install it.  But it better be low power, I mean LED like.  Bread boxes get raided often at midnight around here so some kind of glow would be good for the type that don't like to turn on the kitchen lights.


The bread stays wrapped up on the counter on the bread board with a knife stuck under it.  The bread is too pretty to hide in a bread box.  Family members prefer to slice their own bread, it's sort of creative in that way and the teenagers don't have to ask where the bread is hiding.  The slicer gets used for jobs like when a lot of bread needs slicing before freezing or big family turnouts.  The slicer gets used more for cutting dried meats and thin slices of vegetable for lasagna.  We have some pretty fun knives as long as I keep them sharp.


If mold grows better in dark places, why then are so many bread boxes light tight?


One more point...  we tend to cut our bread as we need it.  Pre-sliced bread may present a bigger problem.

isnyder's picture
isnyder

UncleGoosehead: Thanks for the comments, I agree. We will make the income question optional and we can incoporate your comments about the mold/frustration questions. The survey needs to make it clear we're just students and the responses are anonymous. 


Jim: We're using a combination of technologies in a novel way, but the individual parts are probably thigns you've heard of before. I'd love to explain how it works, but we can't expose our intellectual property until patents are filed.


MiniOven: We are looking at non-countertop solutions as well. Mold is mostly a function of temperature and humidity. Higher temp and higher humidity = more mold.


Naschol: Do you have a link you could share for your vaccum product? I want to make sure we've taken a look ourselves. Thanks!

naschol's picture
naschol

Mine is old, now, and I don't know if it is being made, anymore.  However, there is one on Ebay sold as "Automatic Vacuum Fresh Food Box Container Kitchen Labs".  There are some others that appear to be similar, if you google vacuum bread box. 


 


Nancy