How Do I Know If My Sourdough Bread Has Gone Bad?

"This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links."

If you bake enough bread, you may end up with loaves that you have to throw away. The question people ask is how to tell when the sourdough bread has gone bad. Generally speaking, you will know that you need to throw it away when you see mold, it smells bad, or when it tastes different. The key is to know the difference between stale sourdough bread and bread that has gone bad.

Signs That Your Sourdough Bread Has Gone Bad

There are certain signs that your sourdough bread has gone bad. Take a look at the following:

1. You Can See Mold

The most certain way to know that your sourdough bread has gone bad is when you can see mold on the bread. Normally, it will appear after five to seven days if you keep the bread stored at room temperature.

With bread, you can’t cut the mold out and eat it because mold travels under the surface to other parts of the bread. If you can see mold in one place, there is likely mold in other parts of the loaf and you need to throw it away.

2. The Bread Smells Bad

When you first bake your sourdough bread, it has a sweet odor with a hint of acidity, and sometimes you can smell the yeast. It is a delicious smell that makes you want to eat a warm piece of bread. If you notice that it smells pungent, you will want to throw it away.

Mold can exist on the bread without being visible to the naked eye, so this odor is a sign that it is lurking underneath. Mold can create health issues for you, so if the bread smells bad, throw it away.

3. Your Bread Tastes Bad

If your bread doesn’t look or smell bad, but you take a bite and it tastes bad, you will want to throw it out. Mold is bad for you and can make you sick, so you shouldn’t take any chances. It is the primary reason why the taste would be off, so throw it out.

Difference Between Stale and Spoiled Sourdough Bread

Sometimes your sourdough bread can grow stale before it is spoiled, and you will want to know the difference. When your bread is good, it is crisp and hard when you touch it. However, when it is stale, it will be tough and leather-like.

Sourdough bread can grow stale if you slice it and leave it out where it is exposed to the air. It will dry out and lose moisture. This can dry the bread out, but as the granules of starch transfer the moisture to the air pockets that are within the bread, it starts to retain moisture and becomes stale.

Stale sourdough bread has a different texture, but spoiled sourdough bread has mold and a foul odor. The difference is that you can salvage stale sourdough bread, but you will want to throw spoiled sourdough bread away.

How Long Does It Take for Sourdough Bread to Go Stale?

Sourdough bread will go stale before it gets spoiled, and it takes four to five days if you store it at room temperature. It is not recommended to store it in the refrigerator, as it will actually dry out and become stale more quickly. If you do refrigerate it, it will last two to three days before it becomes stale.

How to Salvage Stale Bread?

If you find that your sourdough bread is dried-out or stale, there are things you can do. There are recipes that actually want you to use stale bread, such as croutons or bread pudding. You can also make bread crumbs or French toast with your stale bread.

Another option is to reheat the bread. First, take the stale bread and wet the outside of it with running water. Then bake the wet loaf for around ten minutes. You want to make sure that the internal temperature reaches 90 degrees. At this point, the loaf will have hydration back in it, and it will taste moist and delicious again. You will need to eat it right away because it will go stale quickly as it cools down.

How to Make Your Sourdough Bread Last Longer?

There are things that you can do to extend the life of your sourdough bread so that you can enjoy it longer. One option is to cover it with a kitchen towel or a cotton bread bag. You shouldn’t put it in a plastic bag because this can cause it to grow mold more quickly, and storing it in the refrigerator will make it grow stale sooner.

You can keep your bread on your cutting board and make sure that you cover it with a kitchen towel. If you have sliced it, you need to place the cut side down so that the interior of the bread doesn’t dry out from exposure to the air.

Sourdough bread does last longer than most other breads that are made with commercial yeast, but it will eventually go bad. You will know that it is time to throw it out if you see, smell, or taste mold.

Final Word

People love baking sourdough bread, but you need to know when it has gone bad. If it does grow mold, you need to recognize it and throw it away. Mold is toxic to people, and it can make you ill. If you see mold, smell it, or taste it, you will know that you need to throw it out.