Bread is a baked food product prepared from a dough of flour and water along with various other ingredients such as icing sugar, spices, fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and herbs for taste and flavor. There are various types of breads available worldwide. It is one of essential part of human diet and is favorite staple food. However the distribution of fresh bread is of great concern and a problem as well.
Consumers wants fresh bread and expects certain shelf life of it. Bread packed and sealed in proper condition can be kept mold free for a long couple of days at room temperature. After a few days, staling phenomenon will occur and bread will also start to get moldy.
The relative high moisture content of bread encourage developments of molds on bread. Molds get killed during baking process but spores and molds present in air of bakery are the cause that bread gets microbial contamination after it comes from oven (baking process). Although strict applications and good manufacturing practices with regards to reinfection can and will limit growth, complete mold free environment is difficult to achieve. It is also possible that certain bacteria starts to grow in the bread crumbs due to high moisture content in it.
There are number of factors affecting the growth of microorganism and the rate at which they multiply in bread:
- Moisture content of product.
- Temperature at which products are stored.
- Whether the product is packaged or not.
- Type of microorganisms present.
- pH of the product.
- Water activity (aw) value of product.
- Initial contamination of product.
Various techniques can be employed to extend mold free shelf life of breads and keep them fresh.
By using one or more of these techniques it is possible to obtain a bread that have a rather long mold free shelf life i.e. 2-3 months. Freezing bread is by far the best way to preserve it. Freezing greatly slows down staling process, and reheating the bread in an oven or toaster re-gelatinizes the starch and makes bread springy and chewy again.
Use of preservatives can keep bread fresh and prevent quick spoilage. These can be artificial preservatives or natural preservatives which along with proper bread storage should make loaves last more than two to three days. However, too much preservative can eventually affect the taste of baked products. They expose bread to bacterial and fungal problems and are also ineffective under bad weather and other impurities that may affect the quality of bread. It has been found that oils from clove and oregano can preserve bread longer than commercial additives.
Par-baked products (A form of bread stable against aging, and highly suitable for transportation and storage until needed) can be an alternative for preservation. Kept in a sealed container (which prevents moisture loss in bread), it appears as a risen loaf of bread, with much of firmness of a finished loaf, but without a golden crust. The bread will not age or become stale like a fully baked loaf of bread.
There are number of methods for preservation of breads, which are:
- Use of modified atmospheric packaging.
- Prevention of microbial contamination.
- Freezing/ drying.
- Uses of preservatives.
Download Link: Bread Preservation.pdf