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Use your loaf: do we really need 60-day bread?

Fresh bread loaves piled on shelves

A US company has developed a technique that can keep bread mould-free for 60 days, and reduce the amount of wasted loaves. But do we really need our bread to last that long?

Microzap’s technology uses microwaves to zap the spores in bread that cause it to go off. The company claims it will stop treated bread going mouldy for up to 60 days. This could lead to a reduction in bread being thrown away by consumers.

I’m very particular about the taste and texture of my bread, which is why I have a Best Buy breadmaker. But on the odd occasion I do forget to spend the five minutes it takes to load up it up, I keep shop-bought ready-sliced bread in my freezer as a back up. So unless I was going camping somewhere miles away from anywhere, I see absolutely no reason why I’d need bread that lasts for a couple of months without being frozen.

Night of the living bread

I’m very suspicious that there’s no real mention about how the bread tastes. My worry is that shops will stop consumers from being able to choose whether or not they want microwave zapped bread. If the bread takes ages to go off, it can be left on the shelf. Which means shoppers will be buying a product that’s even further removed from the real thing than even the Chorleywood bread process managed.

Obviously, long life bread could make an enormous difference to a country that’s suffering from a famine or an area that’s recovering from an environmental disaster. But unless you don’t have a freezer I don’t see why it’s necessary. Although the new technique could mean fewer preservatives in the bread to prevent mould, I doubt it will translate into lower prices and it definitely won’t result in better tasting bread.

Would you buy longer lasting bread or do you prefer to make your own?

Would you buy bread that lasts for 60 days?

No (74%, 238 Votes)

Yes (16%, 50 Votes)

I'm not sure (11%, 34 Votes)

Total Voters: 322

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I’d prefer it if they’d get fruit and veg to last that long. I make my own bread and it struggles to survive 60 hours.

I do not believe that we should dismiss this because the amount of food wasted in the western world is huge. Much of the bread we eat contains calcium propionate as a preservative, which is better than mould but perhaps not a good chemical to have in food. If preservative is eliminated, that is a benefit.

What I do not understand is how bread can remain edible for a long period even if there is no mould growth. When bread ages it appears to become dry, but the deterioration (known as staling) is due to various chemical reactions occurring in the bread.

David says:
3 December 2012

Cheddar cheese, despite being poor flavour, has become the UK #1 because it was stocked by grocers for its shelf-life. Being the only cheese obtainable in many shops it fell into popularity.
Sounds a good match for aged bread.
(Pensioner having to make things stretch and last).

Why on earth would you need a loaf that lasts 60 days. We keep bread in the freezer on standby – easy to defrost – and fresh baked bread in the fridge that keeps 5 days. If you shop once a week what’s the problem? We also have a breadmaker that, when we make the (little) effort, turns out good loaves daily.
Do you remember when frozen food began to appear, frozen fried eggs appeared – briefly. I’d put 60 day bread in that category. Someone has inventede tinned sandwiches that last for a year (if I remeber correctly). Apart from explorers and the services, why oh why?

Behold the wonder that is the “candwich”


Apparently it is a “healthy lunch for kids, it’s the go anywhere sandwich”. The honey chicken roll looks a lot like a Chinese steamed bun, it may have been an inspiration.

For stronger stomachs there is also the tinned burger


That looks awful! Also a bit horrified that they can market it as ‘healthy’ fast food. It’s peanut butter and jam on white bread – euggh!

I can see why 60 days might seem a bit ridiculous, but I’d be quite pleased with bread that lasted just a little longer before going mouldy. I can see why families or couples probably wouldn’t need it, but I buy food just for me. Even with the smaller loaves I find they frequently find go mouldy before I can finish them, as I only ever use bread for toast in the morning. I’m often out and about, staying at friends houses, etc, which means that I can rarely predict whether I’ll be at home for breakfast. I do often freeze loaves, but it’s a bit of a hassle having to go down into my cellar to the chest freezer just to grab a slice of bread to toast.

If it does taste blander, I’m willing to sacrifice a bit of the flavour if it means I don’t have to keep throwing away the last bits of bread.

For those of us that don’t have a freezer in our rented flats, a typical 800g loaf gets wasted as it goes bad before I can finish it, and a 400g loaf costs much more than half the price. Even worse is the frequent multibuy discounts on 2 x 800g bread.

Clint, have you tried a breadmaker?> They make small loaves that are better than bought bread. A Christmas present?

par ailleurs says:
4 December 2012

Yuk! Why would you want it? Buy fresh bread, freeze some, (assuming you have a freezer) then in descending order at this house: eat it fresh, toast it, make bread and butter pudding, bread pudding (deliciously old school), put it in your soup and finally the chickens will eat any last bits.Sorted.
Of course there is the problem of people who live alone and can’t use it so quickly. There are half loaves commercially available which might help a bit but otherwise I always find that if you buy or make real bread it lasts for ages anyway. Don’t store it in the fridge as oddly enough it goes stale quicker that way. Keep it slightly cool with some air flow available and you’ll be amazed.

I wonder whether much of the bread which is “thrown away and wasted” is because it has gone stale rather than mouldy. i.e. perfectly safe to eat but just doesnt taste good enough for many people.
Same is probably true for much of the fruit that is thrown away.

Agreed, if I find my bread has started to go stale (so not really pleasant for sandwiches) I treat myself to cheese toasties for the next few days.

If they can make the bread last 60 days and still be lovely, soft and fresh the whole time then count me in – I’d gladly pay double for it.

Freezing bread not only takes up precious space in my freezer, it’s also a pain if you forget to defrost it overnight. Plus, I find bread is never as good once it’s been frozen and then defrosted again.

The amount of bread wastage is massive, I alone have probably been guilty of throwing away a full loafs worth of bread over the last month or two.

I don’t understand why people have a problem with freezing and thawing bread – both are so easy to do (unless you don’t have a freezer of course). I keep all my bread in the freezer and NEVER throw any out. I slice it before freezing it. Sliced bread thaws in minutes if separated into slices – just slide the blade of a knife between slices and they come apart easily. Or you can toast it, or zap it for 20 seconds in the microwave. Either way it is just as good as fresh bread.

From the origianal post ” … I keep shop-bought ready-sliced bread in my freezer as a back up. … ”
Why on earth can you not keep a ready sliced home made loaf in the freezer as a back up?
We make our own bread and it is sliced and frozen 6 hrs after it is made. We can make and store as much as is needed and remove as many slices as is requiered at any given time. It can be put in the toaster frozen if I fancy a hot peanut butter slice at and time.
On topic, I have little problem with micrwaved bread, or anything else (except my brain), but I do have to ask Why? Personally I cannot stand most ‘plastic bread’ and this is probably of that type. Sliced Kingsmill is OK, can be frozed and the days’ slice ration removed when needed. Why there should ever be any waste, unless you are camping / travelling I don’t know.

Freezing bread will not stop the staling reactions that spoil fresh bread as it ages, though they will occur more slowly. If all you want is toast, freezing bread is fine, but it is not much use if you enjoy fresh bread.

Oh, I guess we must have got it all wrong the last 10 years. The toast reference was incidental about using it from frozen. My fresh daily sandwiches have always seemed pretty good to me. Never had any comments from others that don’t know the bread has been frozen either.

It depends on the bread and how long it is frozen for. Mass produced sliced bread contains anti-staling agents.

I’m sure i am not the only one who is not too keen on bread that has been frozen.