Is stale bread ruining your fun meals around the campfire? Do you want bread that stays fresh for as long as 7 days? Here is the ultimate detailed guide to keeping bread fresh when camping.
Despite the differences in ingredients and ways of making bread, one thing that remains constant is that bread has been the staple food of almost all cultures for centuries.
And why wouldn’t it be? This easy-to-produce dish has great nutritional value too: an average slice of bread has only 1 gram of fats and around 75-80 calories! Pretty sweet, huh?
If you, like us, have an undying love for both bread and the great outdoors, then you’ve come at the right place. Here’s an article on How to Keep Bread Fresh Longer while Camping.
In a brief, we will look at how does the bread go bad, what is the difference between staling and moulding, how to keep the bread fresh, and much more.
P.S: Stay with us until the end; we’ve included a bonus for all you bread lovers!
Staling Vs Molding
When talking about good bread and bad bread, we often overlook the difference between stale bread and mouldy bread.
All stale bread may not be bad, but all mouldy bread belongs in your compost bin.
Staling is basically the recrystallization of the molecules in bread that loses its natural moisture and becomes hard and dry. Moulding, on the other hand, is the growth of bacteria on the bread.
What looks like a superficial layer is actually more than that- moulds send microscopic tendrils deep into the bread; so, merely removing the discoloured surface from the bread does not help.
Five Smart Ways To Pack Bread For Camping
Packing bread may seem tricky, but there are 5 smart ways that help you to not only carry your bread easily, but to keep it fresh for a long time.
1. Ziplock Packaging
Things you will need:
- A loaf of bread cut into slices
- Several Ziplock bags
- A plastic bag
It is advisable to reuse the plastic in which the loaf was packaged in order to reduce plastic pollution.
How to go about the packing?
- Separate the bread slices in pairs.
- Place each pair in a separate Ziplock bag and seal it shut. Ensure that the packing is airtight.
- Place the Ziplock bags in the bigger plastic package and seal that shut in an airtight fashion too.
And voila! You are all set to go into the great outdoors!
How does this work?
Firstly, by separating the slices in pairs, you’re ensuring one thing- when you open one packet, the other slices are still airtight. Thus, you do not let all the slices of bread lose their natural moisture at once.
Secondly, the airtight packing of the Ziplock bag ensures that the slices of bread do not dry up, or conversely, do not catch the external moisture. This is important for two reasons:
- The natural moisture of the bread slices keeps them from becoming dry and hard, and thus, prevent the staling of bread.
- The external moisture can lead to growth of bacteria and moulds on the bread. Thus, it is important to keep the bread in an airtight packaging.
Lastly, the outer plastic package acts like a bigger second layer of protection for the bread. Also, carrying separate Ziplock bags can get difficult. The large plastic packaging makes the overall packing easy to carry.
Now, if you’re willing to spend a few extra bucks, another handy way of keeping your bread fresh is by using the breadbox.
How does a breadbox work?
The construction of breadbox is unique. Every breadbox has some form of ventilation- it could either be in the form of tiny holes, or breathable slats. A breadbox allows just enough ventilation to provide a cool and dry interior for the bread to stay fresh.
With a price point anywhere from $20 to around &70, a breadbox may seem like a bit of an expense; but it is more of an investment.
When you feast upon your favorite sandwich made of fresh bread while watching the sunrise from your tent, you too will become a lover of breadboxes!
3. Paperbag Storage
If you’re going camping in a relatively dry area, a paper bag can be an affordable substitute to a breadbox. Paper bags provide a similar partially ventilated environment like breadboxes, without the rigidity and durability of the latter.
4. Wrap It In A Foil
If you choose not to use a lot of plastic, you can wrap your bread up in aluminium foil instead.
5. Reusable Breadbags
For an eco-friendly and durable way to preserve your bread, try a reusable bread bag. These are machine washable and work great in the freezer.
These can be a nice alternative to a paper bag that can get torn and always seem to let crumbs escape onto the counter. Reusable bags are made of breathable materials, so they behave like a paper bag without waste.
Ranging from $7 to $20, they are a great investment for a bread (and environment) lover at any level.
General Tips For Keeping Bread Fresh For A Longer Period
Whether you go camping or not, staling of bread is a pretty common problem there are a few ground rules to keep in mind when storing bread.
- COOL AND DRY IS THE KEY
Wherever you store your bread, the area must be cool and dry. Increased temperature and refrigeration- both lead to condensation, which causes increased moisture, and in turn, increases the chance of growth of bacteria and mould. If you want to keep your bread fresh for about a month, keep it in a freezer.
- AVOID DIRECT SUNLIGHT
Keeping your bread in direct sunlight is as good as inviting bacteria for a feast. Always keep bread away from direct sunlight.
- THE TYPE OF YOUR BREAD MATTERS
Homemade bread and fresh bread from bakery have a shorter shelf life than the bread that comes pre-packaged. This is due to the simple fact that pre-packaged bread comes with preservatives to increase the shelf life.
When going camping, carry pre-packaged bread instead of homemade bread or bread from bakery.
Moreover, bread with added fats, like brioche, will last longer than normal white bread.
On an average, homemade bread and bread from bakery lasts for about 2 to 3 days; pre-packaged bread, on the other hand, lasts for about 5 to 7 days.
BONUS! Uses Of Stale Bread
More often than not, stale bread is still edible- because staling just makes the bread dry and hard, unlike moulding, which causes growth of harmful bacteria on the bread.
Here are 3 dishes you can try instead of throwing away your bread the next time it gets dry and hard:
Dish 1: French Toast
The way French toast originated is that it was a way to use up day-old bread. Because back then (like medieval times basically) it was customary to bake fresh bread every single day, so if you had any leftover from the day before, you had to figure out what to do with it.
And significantly, the mindset was that you would rather invent a whole new recipe than ever throw away food—so as a result, we have French toast.
But it also turns out that slightly stale bread is actually the best for making French toast because stale bread absorbs more of the egg mixture than fresh bread will. If the only bread you have just popped out of the oven, you could try toasting it very slightly first.
Dish 2: Bread Crumbs
From adding crunch to your spaghetti, to holding your crab cakes together- bread crumbs make everything better! So, the next time your bread goes stale, just slice it up, grind it, and make breadcrumbs to add crunch to any dish.
Dish 3: Croutons
Not in a mood to grind your stale bread? No problem! Just toss the cubes of the stale bread with olive oil, garlic powder, and salt; and spread them on a baking sheet and bake.
Stale bread is still edible and can be used – but mouldy bread must be thrown away at the first sight of moulds!
Frequently aked Questions
Well, we’ve given you a tour into the world of bread storage and shelf life. Remember to keep a check on your food whilst you’re in the great outdoors. The slightest discoloration in bread shouldn’t be taken lightly- you don’t want a case of bad bowels or malfunctioning guts in the wild!
With all that said and done, we’d suggest you to take as many tours as you can in the wild; travel as much as you can, and don’t forget to carry your favourite bread for a feast of some awesome sandwiches with an awesome view!
How do you keep your food fresh when you go camping? Let us know about your experiences in the comments.
Stay tuned for more such interesting and useful content; and until then, happy camping!