We’ve all been there—brought a bread loaf home from the store over the weekend and found out it's covered in white spots when we returned to it. They look like they might be flour added by the baker, but it’s hard to say for sure. Just what are those white spots on bread?
The white spots on your loaf of bread could be either mold or flour, and it’s impossible to say for sure without taking a closer look. To see whether your loaf is still safe to eat, you’ll need to inspect it closely. Look for signs of mold, try scraping off the white spots, and sniff the loaf to find out if it smells funny.
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Identifying White Spots on Bread
When identifying the white spots on your bread, you’ll need to watch out for all the signs of spoilage. Use these simple tests to get a better idea of the freshness of your bread.
The first step to telling if your bread is moldy is to look at it closely. Take the bread out of its packaging and set it on the counter where you can see it clearly.
The first visual indicator should be color. Mold is usually a duller white than flour, with a slightly off-color. Of course, it has definitely gone bad if you notice any other colors like blue or green. Aside from the color, you can look at the texture of the spots. Do they look fuzzy or lumpy? If so, they are probably mold.
If you’re still unsure, you can leave your bread for another day or two to see if the spots spread or change in color.
The Scrape Test
If you can’t identify the white spots just by looking, the scrape test is a reliable next step. Use a kitchen knife or just your fingernail to try and scrape some of the white substance off.
If the spot easily brushes away, it is most likely flour. In this case, you can run your finger through the spots to see if it has a fine, powdery texture. If the spot doesn’t brush off, comes off in chunks, or feels sticky, it is probably mold.
The Smell Test
Unfortunately, fine layers of mold can still feel like flour, so the scrape test isn’t 100% effective. In these cases, giving your loaf a good sniff can help. Bread mold has a musty, sour smell which will stand out compared to the neutral scent of flour.
However, be careful when smelling your bread, as mold spores can be dangerous to your health. Rather than smelling it directly, try wafting your hand over the mold and smelling it at a distance.
What Happens if I Eat Moldy Bread?
If you suspect your bread is infested with mold, the safest option is to throw it away and buy another loaf. The reason is that eating moldy bread can cause serious health concerns. Headache, nausea, vomiting, and respiratory problems can all result from eating bread mold.
It is not recommended to simply cut off the mold-infested crust and eat the inner part of the bread. Since bread is a soft, highly-porous food, mold is able to penetrate deep into the loaf, where it spreads throughout. Here, its white color will be less visible, so it’s hard to get a clear idea of how much mold is actually there.
How Long Does Bread Keep?
Bread has a shorter shelf life than many other foods and should usually be eaten within five days of purchasing or making it. How you store it will determine how long it can be safely kept and still eaten.
Keeping your bread at room temperature will drastically reduce its lifespan, cutting it from five days to just one or two before you need to throw it away. The fridge is a better option, sealed in plastic wrap or at least a paper bag.
If you want to store your bread longer, freezing it is a better option. To do so, seal it in a plastic freezer bag and be sure to squeeze out all the excess air. When kept this way, you can expect your bread to last up to three months without risk of spoilage.
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