Bread Staling

  • Raymond Calvel


Bread enters a state of constant change after baking. As soon as it leaves the oven, it undergoes rapid cooling. Throughout this stage, alcohol vapors, carbon dioxide, and especially water vapor are diffused through the crust and replaced by ambient air. Water vapor may condense on cold surfaces when it is trapped between them and the crust with which they are in contact, and the bread is said to “sweat.” This is the origin of the term ressuage to denote the cooling period that occurs after baking. The duration of this cooling period is a function of the size of the loaf; it may last from 30 to 90 minutes, and sometimes even longer.


Shelf Life Bread Crumb Alcohol Vapor Taste Change Stale Bread 
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  1. 1.
    In regard to the effects of dough molding, it is very interesting to note that dough pieces used for the production of rustic wheat breads, which do not undergo the physical stress of dough molding, produce bread that has a shelf life at least 50% greater than baguettes made from the same dough, but which undergo dough molding stress (see Exhibit 10–10).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Long fermentation straight doughs exhibit the formation of the same types of organic acids found in prefermented doughs. It is these acids that help improve the keeping qualities.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    There is no doubt that a large number of consumers use refrigerators for bread storage, in France as well as in North America. This practice should be discouraged, since it actually accelerates bread staling, as noted in the preceding text. Staling of bread and what to do with commercially produced stale “returns” is also a serious problem in the U.S.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    In the United States, as opposed to the practice noted by Calvel, the sale of commercially produced prepackaged breads in artisan bakeries is almost completely nonexistent.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Some specialty soft breads, such as military ration buns used by the U.S. military, have a shelf life of at least 2 years under normal storage.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    While this was doubtless true when the original French edition of this work was published in 1990, subsequent developments have caused it to become much more common, both in Europe and North America. Wet harvest conditions over several years, in combination with an emerging preference for “all-natural” breads among North American consumers, have contributed to the reemergence of ropy bread as a problem. The situation is even worse in much of Eastern Europe because of poor harvest conditions and unsanitary grain storage, milling, and bread production practices.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raymond Calvel

There are no affiliations available

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