In every country across the globe, we all have our own variations of bread, with different flavours, shapes, different colors, textures, sometimes savoury and sometimes sweet. Often bread can come topped with delicious goods to add that extra flavour. Sometimes it can have cheese melted over it, sometimes it may have seeds or fruit, but most commonly you will find loaves of savoury bread topped with a dusting of flour. This can be the case in small bakeries with their fresh bread, but can also be found on your packaged and sliced loaves in the grocery store. A lot of the time, people may view this as white mold on bread, or vice versa, and mistake mold for flour. Today I am going to look at how you can tell whether it is mold or flour on bread, why they are both there, and if either of them are bad to eat.

Why does my bread have flour on it?

What's the White Stuff on Bread_Alices Kitchen

Quite often bread, particularly fresh loaves, is dusted with flour on the top. This can be for several reasons:

Makes the loves distinguishable

Often bakers a producing high numbers of multiple bread throughout the day, and so using certain flour on certain breads can help them to distinguish the loaves.

Prevents sticking whilst baking

However, the main reason behind this is because dough is dusted with flour prior to baking. This is to help prevent the dough from sticking to the baker’s hands whilst he works with it, but also to the tray or basket when it goes into the oven to bake. A lot of the time the bread will be left with excess flour that will remain on the surface of the loaf, resulting in a white powder on the bread.

Gives it a rustic appearance

As a result of flour often being left on freshly baked bread, it is now associated with classic, traditional bread being made in a small, local bakery – which people love! Because of this, flour is often dusted on the top of bread after baking to give it a rustic, freshly baked appearance. This is why lots of bread, including grocery store packaged bread can also have a dusting of flour – simply for the aesthetics.

Why does my bread have mold on it?

Believe it or not, mold is actually a type of fungus and belongs to the mushroom family. As I am sure you know, mushrooms have hundreds of different types and species within the family, and similarly, so does mold. As mold develops, it turns into a colony of spores and this is how the fungus continues to grow. Mold often starts as small white spots, and then over time it will grow larger and fluffier and slightly more blue or green in colour.

What's the White Stuff on Bread_Alices Kitchen

Mold can develop on bread if bread is left in damp conditions, particularly if stored in a plastic bag or container, as these hold moisture. Spores develop and live off the moisture on the bread and the mold slowly breaks down the nutrients of the food and from there it can grow. Spores can travel through the air within the packaging, meaning that mold on one part of the bread may transfer to another part of the bread, leaving the mold on random patches. Heat, humidity and light are all bad for bread and help speed up the spores to grow faster. To prevent white spots developing on bread, your best bet is to store it in a cool, dark place.

How do I know what the white stuff is on my bread?

It can be a difficult challenge being able to tell whether the white spots on bread are flour, highlighting how fresh and delicious the bread is, or if the white stuff on bread is mold, highlighting how stale and ready for the bin the bread is. Sometimes it can be reasonably easy to distinguish between the two, and sometimes it can be slightly harder. There are a few ways to inspect just what that white stuff on bread is:

Appearance

Flour, as it is fresh, tends to be a bright, clean white color. On the other hand, mold is usually a dull, dirtier shade of white and can appear slightly greyer. Eventually this white color turns into a greenish-blue color and at this point it is a lot easier to determine that these white spots on your bread are mold.

Appearance over a few days: As mold grows, it is easier to tell the difference between mold and flour if you inspect it over a few days. Mold will continue to grow, and slowly change colour, whereas flour will remain the same. If you notice changes in the white spots on your bread, then steer clear!

Location on the bread

Not only will the mold grow and flour remain the same, but the location of where the spots sit on the bread can also help you distinguish between the two. Mold can appear just about anywhere on your bread, and on sliced bread you may notice is within the crusts too. Mold will be randomly situated anywhere and sometimes it will form in multiple places. Flour will always be primarily on the top of the load, and if it is a freshly bakes load then it may also have dustings of flour around the edges too. As you slice the bread, you should not really find flour anywhere but the crust of the bread.

Scent

Like any moldy or damp food or belongings, moldy bread will have quite a musky, fusty odor to it. The fresh, fluffy scent of bread will be masked by a mustier smell. It is important to bear in mind that whilst smelling the white stuff on bread will help you to figure out what it is, if it is mold then inhaling the spores can be dangerous.

Is it safe to eat the white stuff on bread?

What's the White Stuff on Bread_Alices Kitchen

Of course, the answer to this varies on whether the white stuff is mold or flour. Once you have used the above method to try to distinguish what it is that’s on your bread, it is useful to know if you can then eat this.

Flour

As expected, flour is perfectly fine to eat. Bakers wouldn’t dust their bread with it and use it as the base ingredient for their dough if we couldn’t eat it. Although inhaling raw flour may seem odd, you actually don’t really notice it on the bread so if the white stuff does turn out to be flour, then don’t hesitate to eat up!

Mold

Whilst certain molds are completely safe to eat and can actually be the staple to certain foods such as blue cheese, this is not always the case. Both health experts and scientists have suggested that eating mold on bread can be very dangerous. It is not possible to know what type of mold is growing on your bread, and so the safest option would be to assume that the mold is not consumable. As bread is a soft food, the spores can develop easily and the roots of the fungus can grow deep into the bread, meaning that even if you cut off the visible white spots, you cannot eat the rest of the loaf and should dispose of the entire thing.

The dangers of mold

Mold can cause allergic reactions leading to sneezing, blocked noses, sore throat, and coughs. It can also cause people to have respiratory issues which may develop worse if exposed to more mold, or for people who already have an allergy towards mold.

Final Thoughts

The white spots on your bread really can make or break the loaf. If the white stuff is flour, then it probably means you have a nice, fresh loaf, which will smell and taste wonderful. If, however, the white spots on your bread turn out to be mold, you should steer clear. You can distinguish between the two by the colour and by looking out for any development that happens. Inhaling or eating mold on bread can be very dangerous to your health, so once spotted, moldy bread you be disposed of as quickly as possible. To avoid this and to keep your bread fresh, store in a cool and dark environment and hopefully you will never have to hover over the question of, “what is the white powder on bread?”.