Can You Eat Moldy Bread?

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You're halfway through a sandwich when you notice moldy bread. Now what?

Few pleasures in life can rival the absolute bliss of taking a freshly baked loaf of bread out of the oven. It was a lot of work but it was worth it, and now you get to reap the rewards of your labor. But what do you do when after only a few days, you notice a green, fuzzy coating over your creation? We’ve all been tempted to just scrape off the mold and pretend like it never happened—but is that safe?

Can You Eat Moldy Bread?

No, it’s not safe to eat moldy bread. In fact, even a bit of mold on a loaf of bread means that the entire thing is probably contaminated. Bread is a soft food, which means it is easy for mold spores to penetrate it and quickly spread. (Read about whether it is OK to eat moldy strawberries.) Cutting away the moldy part is one of those shortcuts that you just can’t get away with. When it comes to mold on bread, there’s almost always more than meets the eye.

If your loaf of bread is already sliced, you may have a little wiggle room though. Mold can still spread between slices but it’s not as easy. If you find mold on the end of a sliced loaf of bread, discard the moldy half and keep the rest.

Here’s how to check for mold in bread.

What Happens If You Eat Moldy Bread?

It’s never safe to eat a piece of bread that you know is moldy. However, what do you do when you only notice the mold after eating half of your sandwich? Fortunately, eating a few bites of contaminated bread is probably not enough to make you sick. (Learn more about moldy food.)

Mold is a microscopic fungus that may contain illness-causing toxins. Moldy bread is likely to contain harmful bacteria as well. As soon as you notice the mold, throw away the rest of the loaf.

Learn how to tell if your food is spoiled and when you can eat moldy cheese.

How to Keep Bread Fresh

To prevent mold, the refrigerator may seem like the safest place to store bread. However, even if it stays mold-free, refrigerated bread is just not worth it. The cold air drys it out right away and leaves you with a big rock instead of a crusty loaf of bread.

The best way to keep bread fresh is in a bread box. A bread box keeps the outside of your loaf crispy and crusty while preserving the soft middle. Another way to keep bread fresh is in a plastic bag. Just be sure to let the loaf cool completely before wrapping it up. Hot bread can lead to condensation in the plastic bag, and moist environments invite mold.

Worried about your loaf going bad before you can enjoy it? Here’s how to freeze bread.

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Carrie Madormo, RN
Now a freelance health and food writer, Carrie worked as a nurse for over a decade. When she isn't hunched over her laptop with a baby in hand, you will find her cooking her grandmother’s recipes, lacing up her running shoes or sipping coffee in the bathroom to hide from her three young children.