If you’ve left a loaf of bread out over a long period of time, or not quite eaten through all of the slices in time, you’ve likely seen the type of mold that is often associated with bread.
This is usually dark green or even black in color, and tends to be fuzzy in appearance. Even though mold can have excellent uses in the industry, it’s not safe for human consumption when found on bread.
As tempting as it may be to simply pick off the spores of mold as they appear, the mold will actually be deep within the bread at this point, and is still present.
But what exactly causes this bread mold? And how can you prevent it from consuming your loaf of fresh bread before you get a chance to enjoy it?
These are the questions that we are going to answer for you today! By the end of this article, you are going to be an expert on all things relating to bread mold, and how to prevent it from setting in on your loaf of bread.
So let’s take a look at everything that you need to know about bread mold!
What Causes The Growth Of Bread Mold?
The lifespan of food is so confusing. One minute your bread will be gloriously fresh from the bakery or grocery store, smelling delicious.
The next minute, it’s covered in unappealing spots of mold in different colors and sizes.
If you were to leave that bread to its own devices rather than throw it in the trash, the mold would gradually consume the loaf until it was entirely covered with mold, and it is literally unrecognizable as bread.
But what exactly causes the growth of bread mold?
It all comes down to the types of bacteria that are in play.
You are likely familiar with some types of mold and the bacteria that create them, such as Penicillium chrysogenum, which is used to create the wonderful drug penicillin.
There are 5 types of bacteria that can cause mold to grow on bread. These are Penicillium chrysogenum, Rhizopus stolonifer, Aspergillus fumigatus, Fusarium sporotrichioides, and Monascus pilosus.
The quickest growing mold of the 5 and most commonly found on bread is the Rhizopus stolonifer, which can also be known by the separate name of black mold.
This is either black or dark green in appearance, and can even cause your fruit to start to rot, too.
These different mold spores are already present in the air around us. They can then come into contact with the bread, which over time will cause mold to start growing.
There are also other factors that influence mold growth, such as temperature and moisture.
So if you were to leave your bread out in the open air, at room temperature, this would make it more likely to grow mold.
The spores of the mold will settle on the surface of the bread. It will use the temperature and moisture in the air to germinate, which can then cause the mold to sprout hyphae – which are the beginnings of the mold formation.
When the fungus has everything that it needs from the bread in terms of nutrients and moisture, it will start to mature.
The fungi will then sprout rhizoids, which are the stems that we associate with furry mold. It will eventually start to grow its own spores to spread into the surrounding area if left to its own devices.
Let’s take a closer look at what conditions are needed in order for this bread to grow, and then we will take a look at how to prevent it from happening.
What Conditions Does Mold Need To Grow?
Of course, the bread mold will need certain conditions in order to flourish. Without these conditions in place, it will make it trickier for the spores to germinate in your bread and then grow into fully fledged mold.
The most important conditions that mold needs in order to grow on your bread include the right temperature, oxygen, sustenance such as food and water.
You may find that your bread is able to keep mold spores dormant until all of these conditions are met.
Temperature is undoubtedly the most important factor required for mold growth. Mold typically thrives above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and they need a temperature of at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit in order to grow.
This is why if you were to place your bread slices in the refrigerator, they wouldn’t grow mold as quickly. If you were to store your bread slices in your freezer, it would eliminate the growth of mold altogether.
Keeping your bread in a bread bin or sealed plastic container can also cut off its supply of oxygen.
If you were to leave your bread out at room temperature, it would have plenty of the conditions needed in order to sprout mold.
Let’s take a look at how you can prevent mold from taking hold of your tasty loaf of bread!
How To Prevent Mold Growth On Bread
The best way to prevent mold growth on your bread is to cut out some of the factors that are needed for it to grow.
It will be tricky to eliminate mold spores, as these are naturally occurring in the air around us. But you can control the level of oxygen, moisture, and what temperature your bread is exposed to.
By placing your bread in a bread bin, you can seal off the supply of oxygen to the bread.
You can also keep it stored in a cool, dry place, so that it won’t have the higher temperatures needed or the moisture in the air for the mold to thrive.
Another method for you to use is to store some of your bread in the refrigerator. This can help to cool the bread down to below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, making it virtually impossible for the mold spores to take hold and grow on your bread.
It will be important to avoid doing this for long periods of time, as it will make the bread have an unappealing texture and feel. You may also wish to seal it in a ziplock bag so that it doesn’t dry out too quickly.
If you have an entire loaf of bread and too little time to eat it, then you can store all or part of it in your freezer compartment.
This will eliminate mold, as the freezer will be too cold. However, you will want to store it correctly, so as to avoid freezer burn. This will mean storing it in a plastic airtight container, or putting it in a sealed bag.
Using these two methods can allow you to preserve your bread for longer before mold starts to set in. This will also give you more than enough time to eat a loaf of bread if you live on your own.
So there you have it! You now know that the mold you find on bread is caused by certain bacteria.
The 5 most common bacteria that causes bread mold includes: Penicillium chrysogenum, Rhizopus stolonifer, Aspergillus fumigatus, Fusarium sporotrichioides, and Monascus pilosus.
The most common out of these 5 bacteria is Rhizopus stolonifer, which is also known as black bread mold.
Bread mold will need several conditions in order to flourish on your loaf of bread. These include a warm enough temperature, water, food, and oxygen.
If you were to leave your bread out at room temperature, this would be more than enough for it to sprout mold.
In order to prevent and avoid having mold take over your bread, you will need to eliminate several of these factors.
Store part of your loaf in your freezer until you need it, and store several slices in your refrigerator so that you can take them out as and when you need them.
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