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Real Science we learned from 'The Big Bang Theory': how bread turns stale

Should you store it in the fridge or on the counter?

WASHINGTON -- Sheldon comes over to borrow bread from Penny – and quickly lets her know that she should never refrigerate her bread. Is that right?  
Most people think that bread will go stale if it sits on the counter, so they put it in the fridge. But this is the opposite of what you should do, so Sheldon was right.  
The reason? Something called “Retrogradation and Recrystallization of Starch” 
Which basically comes down to the CHEMISTRY of bread 

Bread is made of starch – which is a molecule composed of two sugar molecules that can combine through bonds form a complex carbohydrate. When bread is baked in the oven, the bonds are broken, which allow water molecules to form new bonds. This allows a loaf of bread to swell and turn soft. When bread is removed from the heat of the oven and into a cooler environment, the reverse happens... the molecules crystallize and bread hardens and becomes more stale.  

Comparing our 2 storage options: the counter or the fridge, the fridge is colder. So the process of the bread becoming hard and stale happens QUICKER than on the counter because of the COLDER temperatures.  

A fresh loaf on the counter will stay fresh and not stale for about 2 days, whereas a loaf in the fridge will stale in 1 day.  

So now thanks to watching Big Bang Theory – you should know you should NEVER refrigerate your bread!  

By the way... for you gluten-free bread eaters out there, keep refrigerating your bread. Gluten free bread holds up to an entirely different set of kitchen chemistry.  

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