Home | Food Safety | How To Tell If Bread Is Bad

How To Tell If Bread Is Bad

Are you tired of throwing away your favorite loaf just because you’re unsure whether it’s gone bad or not?

Learn “how to tell if bread is bad” with our foolproof guide that will not only save your wallet but also your taste buds!

In this article, we’ll cover the telltale signs of spoiled bread and share some practical tips for preserving its freshness.

How to tell if bread is bad?


Bread that is bad will have a sour smell, feel slimy to the touch, and will be a different color than when it was first bought. If the bread has any mold on it, it should be thrown away immediately.

Baked bread with a few cut slice and a small bowl of butter.

Bread is a staple in many diets, but it can go bad quickly. Here are a few signs that your bread is no longer fresh and safe to eat.

How it looks

To determine if your bread is bad just by looking at it, you should look for visible mold, which is usually either white or greenish-blue.

On the cut surfaces of the bread, the blue and green mold is a dead giveaway, but white mold can look very similar to flour.

If you’re unsure, gently poke or scrape the white spot in question; if it’s mold, it will be soft and moist, whereas if it’s flour, it will be hard and dry.

How it smells

If you want to know if your bread is bad just by smell, the fastest way to determine is to check for mold.

Bad bread will often have a sour or unpleasant smell, and it may have a vinegary or beer-like smell which isn’t typical for bread.

If you notice an off-putting flavor or smell, it’s time to toss the bread out and get a fresh loaf.

How it feels

Determining if bread is bad by texture alone can be tricky, but there are a few key signs to look for. Stale or spoiled bread often exhibits changes in texture that you can feel.

If the bread is hard, dry, and crumbly, it may be stale, but not necessarily spoiled.

However, if it feels excessively moist, slimy, or has a sticky texture, it could be an indication of mold or bacterial growth, meaning the bread is no longer safe to eat.

Always trust your senses and inspect the bread for any visible signs of spoilage, such as mold or discoloration, in addition to relying on the texture.

How it tastes

If the bread has gone bad, it will have a sour, dull, or musty smell and taste instead of the usual sweet, salty, and yeasty flavor.

It may also have an acid or vinegary flavor, so it is important to be aware of any changes in taste as the bread ages.

If you notice your bread has become moldy, it’s best to discard it immediately as mold can cause health risks.

It is also not recommended to eat other slices from the same loaf if one slice is already moldy.

Finally, if you’re not sure about whether your bread has gone bad, give it a sniff – if it doesn’t smell fresh, it’s probably time to throw it away.

Sign Indication
Mold Visible discoloration (green, blue, white, or black spots) on the bread, indicating it’s no longer safe to eat.
Bad Smell A sour, musty, or unpleasant odor may indicate the presence of mold or bacteria, making the bread unsafe for consumption.
Texture A slimy, sticky, or excessively moist texture can signal mold or bacterial growth, while a hard and dry texture indicates staleness.
Taste A sour or off taste can be a sign that the bread is no longer fresh and may have started to spoil.
Expiration Date While not always accurate, the expiration date can give you a rough idea of the bread’s freshness. Check for other signs before consumption.

Tortillas are one of those in the bread family that leaves people wondering, how long do tortillas last? You can find out more in my post that will explain how to keep them fresh and how to store them properly.

What are the risks of eating expired bread?

The risks associated with eating expired bread are adverse health effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or other digestive issues.

Additionally, stale bread may be difficult to chew or digest and could potentially cause choking if not chewed properly.

However, the main risk is the possibility of mold growing on the bread, which can cause stomach upset and diarrhea, and may also cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Therefore, it is best to avoid eating expired bread and to store bread properly in order to prevent these issues.

How long does bread last in the freezer or fridge?

Bread stored in the fridge can last up to a week longer than normal.

However, if you want to preserve it for a longer time, it’s best to store it in the freezer where it can last up to 6 months.

To keep the bread fresh and avoid freezer burn, it’s best to consume it within 3 months of freezing.

For shorter-term storage, keep the bread in an airtight container at room temperature and eaten within 4-5 days.

I have a post that goes more specifically into answering, how long does bread last in the fridge as well as how to freeze bread to learn more.

How to extend the life of bread?

The best ways to extend the life of bread are to vacuum pack it, freeze it, or store it in the refrigerator.

Additionally, the bread should be stored in a sealed bag or container, away from direct sunlight and heat sources, and wrapped in two layers of plastic to retain moisture and prevent odor transfer and contamination.

Finally, the bread should be stored in a cool, dry place. By following these steps, the shelf life of bread can be extended.

  1. Vacuum pack the bread to remove most of the air and seal it.
  2. Wrap the bread tightly in plastic wrap before freezing.
  3. Brush freshly baked bread with oil before wrapping it and storing it in the refrigerator.
  4. Store the bread in a sealed bag or container and out of direct sunlight.
  5. Keep the bread away from heat sources.
  6. Wrap the bread in two layers of plastic to retain moisture and prevent odor transfer and contamination from other food items.
  7. Store the bread in a cool, dry place.
  8. Freeze the bread for up to 6 months if needed.

Check out my post on how to tell if deli turkey is bad to ensure fresh tasty sandwiches.

How to properly store bread

To properly store bread, it should be kept in a sealed bag or container away from direct sunlight and heat sources.

If the bread is freshly baked, it should be placed in a brown bag and secured with paper clips.

Additionally, you may want to store it in the refrigerator or freezer to help preserve it.

Lastly, make sure to check for moisture in the container or bag before storing the bread to prevent mold from growing.

Frequently asked questions for how to tell if bread is bad

Stale bread is not necessarily bad or unsafe to eat, but its taste and texture might be compromised.

If the bread is merely dry and hard but has no signs of mold or unpleasant odors, you can still consume it, or repurpose it in recipes like bread pudding, croutons, or breadcrumbs.

It’s not recommended to eat bread with removed moldy parts, as mold spores can penetrate deeper into the loaf than visible to the naked eye.

Consuming moldy bread may cause digestive issues or allergic reactions. It’s safer to discard the entire loaf to avoid potential health risks.

The shelf life of bread depends on various factors, such as the ingredients, storage conditions, and humidity. Generally, store-bought bread lasts 5-7 days at room temperature, while homemade or preservative-free bread may spoil within 2-4 days. Refrigerating or freezing bread can extend its shelf life.


In conclusion, knowing how to tell if bread is bad is essential for every kitchen-savvy individual. With our comprehensive guide, you can now confidently determine if your bread is still good to eat or if it’s time to toss it.

Remember, always trust your senses, and store your bread properly to extend its shelf life and enjoy delicious slices every time!

Online Cooking for Beginners Course

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *