Why grocery stores sell fresh bread in brown paper bags
Bread sold in supermarkets comes in two types of packaging: plastic bags (usually with colored labels) and open paper pouches. It makes sense to store loaves in plastic because the material is effective at blocking air, preventing the loaf from going stale or moldy a few days after leaving the store. The benefits of paper bags used for fresh ciabattas and baguettes are less obvious, but according to southern lifegrocery store bakeries favor them for good reason.
Unlike brand name breads baked with sugar and preservatives, fresh bread shouldn’t sit on your kitchen counter for days. Most breads baked on-site by your grocery store (or local bakery) are meant to be eaten within a day or two of coming out of the oven. With this in mind, stores choose packaging that best preserves flavor and texture in the short term.
Paper bags are preferred for fresh breads, particularly because they let in more air than plastic. The porous material keeps the crust dry and crispy, which is what customers expect from fresh bread. Plastic keeps air out, but it also keeps moisture out. So while a sealed plastic bag would extend the life of a loaf, the crispy exterior would quickly become soft in the humid environment.
You can extend the expiration date of your fresh bread by storing it in plastic wrap or a resealable plastic bag as soon as you get home. Remember, it won’t taste as good as if it came straight out of the paper bag the same day. you bought it. If you’re serious about your bread intake, it might be worth running a bakery several times a week, or even considering baking your own. Here are some tips for making better bread at home.
[h/t Southern Living]