These slices of bread look fresh, right? They certainly felt fresh to me when I snapped the photograph on Friday, December 21, 2012. The crusts curled—no breakage—as I pulled the slices from the bag.
But guess how old this loaf of bread is? I bought it nine weeks ago when I was testing the Turkish Spiced Meatballs for our New Year’s Eve Party Modern Menu. I knew it was a while ago, but I was shocked when I checked my receipts to discover I’d bought it on October 12, 2012.
Here’s the kicker: the loaf has been sitting at room temperature on my kitchen counter the whole time. I never refrigerated it or froze it. The loaf got lost amidst the clutter of a small New York City apartment kitchen heavily used by someone who loves to cook.
It’s not natural for bread to last that long at room temperature. When I was a kid, bread barely lasted four or five days without showing signs of mold. I shudder to think what a green furry mess a loaf from the days of my childhood would have become in only two weeks at room temperature. That’s why my mother insisted we store our bread in the fridge to help it last longer.Continue reading