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Everyone knows that you can keep food fresh longer by storing it in your fridge but apparently bread doesn’t follow that rule. Contrary to popular belief and to conventional wisdom, bread goes stale six times faster when it is stored in a fridge than when it is kept at room temperature (universally presumed to be about 25C).
Apparently it has to do with the physical make up of the bread itself. Bread is just a collection of gluten and starch molecules and it produces carbon dioxide when fermented.
The starch in the bread molecules is made of two key components, namely Amylose and Amylopectin. The former consists of over 10,000 sugar units and looks like bundles of wire while the latter comprises 20,000 units and looks like a tree shrub under the microscope. When heated in the presence of moisture, the molecules of the bread allow for the trapping of water as the bread expands. But once the process is over, the starch molecules contract and harden again.
And this is what causes the bread to go stale. Apparently inside the refrigerator, the condensation reaction that nudges the water free from the bread and allows the starch to harden and crystallize again occurs six times faster than in room temperature.