How To Determine Shelf Life Of Baked Goods

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Thawing Methods For Frozen Foods

How to Extend the Shelf Life of Your Baked Goods | WTF Ep. 137

Safely thawing food is just as important as all the other freezing tips we mentioned above, so take a bit of time to plan ahead.

1. Refrigerator Method

Thawing frozen food in the fridge is the slow method, but it is ultimately the safest, since it keeps food out of the Temperature Danger Zone. What is this zone of danger? Well, bacteria grows most quickly in the range of temperatures between 40° and 140° F / 4.4° and 60° C and can even double in only 20 minutes. So, food that is left unrefrigerated for more than two hours in the mentioned temperatures, is more risky in terms of bacteria.

Luckily, if a frozen item is small, it only needs to be thawed overnight, which is why we recommend freezing in small portions. Most food will take about 1 to 2 days.

Another good thing about using the fridge thawing method, though, is that it makes it safe to refreeze the food even if you dont cook it. Of course, quality will be low since moisture would have been lost during the thawing process. If any food has been thawing out of the fridge for more than 2 hours, do not refreeze. However, you can always cook the food after thawing, and then refreeze it in its cooked form.

2. Water Method

3. Microwave Method

The third method for thawing is to defrost using a microwave. If the food was previously chopped into pieces, rearrange and separate the pieces during the thawing process. You will need to cook immediately after thawing.

Best Baked Goods To Ship

The best baked goods to ship are sturdy and arent prone to melting. Whole baked goods stay fresher than cut baked goods, so shipping a pie vs. a slice of pie is always best. Ideally, you want to ship baked goods you can wrap individually. We provide a list of the best-baked goods to send in the mail with examples by their type below:

  • Bread – Quick bread such as banana bread, pumpkin bread, and zucchini bread does great in the mail.
  • Cakes – Unfrosted cakes such as pound cakes, bundt cakes, and coffee cakes arrive intact and fresh after shipping.
  • Pies – Fruit/nut pies like cherry, apple, blackberry, and pecan are perfect for mail-ordered sweets.
  • Cookies – Most cookies with eggs in their recipe ship well. Cookies without sticky mix-ins such as oatmeal raisin, snickerdoodle, and chocolate chip ship best.
  • Bars – Brownies, blondies, and magic bars are some of the best baked goods to ship.

Who Influences The Shelf Life

Everyone in this food production chain has an influence on food quality and safety. It is not possible to be confident that food is safe unless a food control plan is in place that identifies and controls hazards throughout the food chain. The role of each person in the food chain should be considered.

GROWERS AND PRIMARY PRODUCERS provide the raw materials. Variable quality of these can make production of a consistent final product difficult. Consistent quality can be maintained by developing raw material specifications.

OTHER SUPPLIERS for example, of packaging materials or ice for chilling also have a responsibility to supply safe and consistent materials. They may also provide advice about different materials and their effect on shelf life.

MANUFACTURERS are responsible for determining a suitable shelf life for their products. This should be based on a study that considers all stages of the production chain.

DISTRIBUTORS transport the food product from the manufacturer to the retailer. It is essential that food is stored safely and securely in the warehouse, transported at the correct temperature, delays are avoided, and packaging is not damaged.

Consideration should also be given to the possibility of contamination of the food from other goods carried in the vehicle.

RETAILERS store and handle the product immediately before it reaches the consumer. They must store products according to directions that the manufacturer supplies.


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Replenish The Stock Adequately

The sales of baked goods are volatile, fluctuate with seasonal demands and varies from bakery to bakery. For example, your baked goods sales may spike around late evenings, weekends or on festive occasions like Christmas. Since the ingredients are perishable, they have a shorter shelf life. It is advisable to plan the stock according to the expected consumption rate and past sales trends. Manually estimating the amount of stock either results in understocking that impacts sales, or overstocking that ultimately leads to wastage. Forecasting modules in POS systems provide a better understanding of the inventory requirements. It is data-driven and provides insights based on past sales and inventory consumption. You can get customised reports based on item-wise sales and in-hand physical stock. POS systems give data related to projected inventories required and eliminate the ageing issues of the raw materials.

Shelf Life Of Common Baking Ingredients

How Should I Store My Homemade Baked Goods?

Published: May 25, 2020 by Leslie Kiszka / This post may contain affiliate links.

Part 2 of my Baking Basics series:An extensive list of commonly used baking ingredients in the pantry, fridge and freezer and their shelf lives so that you know when its time to replace them for the best baking results.

We all know expiration dates are a thing, but some people take them more seriously than others .

When it comes to baking ingredients, fresher is always better especially when were talking about leaveners, as it can make or break the results of your recipe. Its hard to keep track of the shelf life of everything in your pantry, fridge and freezer, so I wanted to provide you with charts about all my most commonly used ingredients as a point of reference.

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Create An Elevated Unboxing Experience

While your primary concerns are food safety and product quality, you also need to consider your customers unboxing experience. Memorable tins and packaging build excitement. A great presentation prompts customers to post their unboxing experience on social media, providing you with free advertising. It can also help boost brand loyalty and encourage repeat sales.

How Does It Work

Two main factors influence the shelf life of bakery products:

  • Microbial spoilage: Product contamination with air-borne mold spores starts immediately after leaving the oven. As time passes, microbial growth continues to increase. Eventually, green spots form on the crust.
  • Staling and moisture loss from product: Bread staling can affect both bread crust and crumb. Crust staling is generally caused by moisture transfer or migration from the crumb to crust. The result is a soft, leathery texture. On the other hand, crumb staling happens when hydrated starch reverts to the crystalline form.
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    How To Freeze Foods Properly

    Although proper prep can require a bit of time, it is completely worth it to save money in the long run. If you bought a huge package of chicken breasts, dont just throw it into the freezer. Not only does it take up a lot of space, you would have to thaw the entire package even if you only need two chicken breasts for this weeks dinner.

    Put in a little time to freeze properly, and youll actually be saving time when youre ready to thaw and cook.

    Basic Freezing Smarts:

    How To Manage The Shelf Life Of Baked Goods With A Bakery Management Software

    How to extend the shelf life of bread

    While you pay a lot of emphasis to your recipe, invest in good equipment and adopt storage strategies to keep your recipes fresh, a restaurant POS system ensures that the most essential elements in your recipes are not neglected. It not only optimizes the shelf life of your bakery goods but also ensures that you serve only the best to your customers.

    Lets look at how you can manage the shelf life of your baked goods with a bakery management software.

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    Why Its Important To Extend Shelf Life

    Extending the shelf life of food has been a worthy human pursuit probably since the beginning of time. We have no use for spoiled food, and it can expose us to potentially dangerous pathogens and bacteria that can make us sick. On top of that, learning how to preserve food for longer can help us curb food waste, eliminate the shameful pantry cleanout featuring heaps of old, moldy and stale food, reduce losses and improve profits in a commercial set-up. Using these smart preservation tips will help ensure that your home-baked creations stay fresher for longer!

    What Is Shelf Life

    Shelf life is a guide for the consumer of the period of time that food can be kept before it starts to deteriorate, provided any stated storage conditions have been followed.

    The shelf life of a product begins from the time the food is prepared or manufactured. Its length is dependent on many factors including the types of ingredients, manufacturing process, type of packaging and how the food is stored. It is indicated by labelling the product with a date mark.

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    Add In A Bit Of Pectin

    Pectin is a carbohydrate found in raw fruit, acting in nature as the glue that holds cell walls together. It is most commonly used as a gelling agent in jams and jellies, but it can also be used to help preserve the life of your home-baked sweets and savory breads. A tablespoon or two of powdered pectin can help improve the consistency of baked goods while also giving them a longer shelf life. Do a bit of experimenting to find the perfect amount for your recipe.

    Do Determine The Most Likely Failure Modes

    How long are baking ingredients good for? I

    The shelf life of a product is typically impacted by just one or two failure modes. For example, the shelf life of potato chips is often ended by off flavors associated with lipid oxidation. Simplified shelf life testing should start by tracking lipid oxidation at various water activities and temperatures. Once the impacts of lipid oxidation have been considered, you can examine any other potentially limiting factors such as texture.

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    Keep It In The Freezer

    Freezing has been used as a preservative method by those in cold climates for centuries, and its still a fantastic way to keep your baked goods in great shape without affecting flavor or adding anything that might cause unpleasant side effects. The key to freezing baked goods so they maintain their freshness is to limit the items exposure to air. For example, youll want to wrap a loaf of bread as tightly as possible with foil and then keep it stored in a freezer-safe, sealed plastic bag.

    How To Send Baked Goods In The Mail

    If youre sending sturdy baked goods locally, you can put pastries in priority mail. However, overnight shipping is the ideal way to send baked goods to preserve their quality. For fragile or temperature-sensitive items like cheesecakes, overnight shipping isn’t just beneficial, it’s required. Whether youre packaging your goodies for the mail or for shipment, follow our step-by-step instructions for shipping or mailing baked goods.

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    Learn More About Shelf Life

    In this 30 minute webinar, food scientists Mary Galloway and Zachary Cartwright talk about how to get answers to your shelf life questions. Learn how to:

    -Troubleshoot issues and complaints to find out why shelf life is ending sooner than expected

    -Predict how recipe changes will impact shelf life

    -Compare the effect of different ingredient options

    -Evaluate whether a specific packaging option will help you achieve or improve shelf life

    How To Store Baked Goods So They Stay Fresh

    Extending the Shelf Life of Baked Goods

    Mostly not in the refrigerator.

    We know, we know. You’ve been socialized to appreciate the wonders of modern refrigeration-so much so that you get nervous leaving your lunch leftovers on your desk for a few hours. But when it comes to enjoying breads, pies, cakes, and cookies in their freshest possible state, it might be time to pull the plug on your appliance reliance. Here’s where to stash the goods for optimal freshness.


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    Water Activity Of Common Food Products

    Most food has a water activity greater than 0.95 which supports the growth of bacteria, yeast and mould. Knowing the water activity of a food is important when preparing a Hazard Analysis Critical Control plan. Determining the water activity of a product or ingredient is necessary when conducting a hazard analysis for many products.


    When moisture level of incoming grain exceeds FPM levels, safe storage timeframes are:

    • if moisture is > FPM and < =18% dry to below FPM within 40 days
    • if moisture is > 18% and < =20% dry to below FPM within 20 days
    • if moisture is > 20% and < = 22% dry to below FPM within 10 days
    • if moisture is > 22% and < = 24% dry to below FPM within five days
    • if moisture is > 24% dry to below FPM within three days

    Predicting Product Shelf Life Through Accelerated Studies

    According to the Institute of Food Technologists and the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods , shelf-life is the amount of time that a food product is considered acceptable for consumption when stored at the appropriate storage conditions. When determining if a food product is acceptable for consumption, several factors including organoleptic properties , microbial spoilage and chemical changes to the product during storage must be considered.

    What is an Accelerated Shelf Life Study?Shelf-life studies can come in many different forms, including accelerated studies. In these studies, accelerated conditions are applied to eligible products to predict product shelf-life at typical storage conditions. This process is performed using the Q10 value. The Q10 value of a product is the temperature quotient for a 10°C temperature difference, as expressed in the equation below:

    Q10 = Shelf-life at temperature T Shelf-life at + 10°C)

    Typically, a Q10 value of 2 is used as an initial shelf-life estimate, but this may not represent the actual acceleration factor of a specific food product. It is recommended that accelerated shelf-life studies be accompanied by a shelf-life study conducted under normal storage conditions in order to determine the actual Q10 value. This approach allows for a more specific Q10 value and can be used for future accelerated shelf life studies on similar products.

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    What Is A Shelf

    A shelf-life study is an objective, methodical means to determine long a food product can reasonably be expected to keep for, without any appreciable change in quality. A separate study needs to be carried out for each type of product.

    The two main methods used are:

  • Direct method This is the one most commonly used. It involves storing the product under preselected conditions for a period of time longer than the expected shelf life and checking the product at regular intervals to see when it begins to spoil. The exact procedure is unique for each product. Details of the steps required and types of decisions to be made are discussed in the following pages.
  • Indirect method This approach uses accelerated storage and/or predictive microbiological modelling to determine a shelf life. A brief outline of these is given later.
  • Information Booklet for the Food Industry

    What Influences The Shelf Life Of Food

    Baking Ingredients Shelf Life Guide

    Following AACC International Approved Methods, Medallion Labs conducts comprehensive testing in microbiology, moisture, biochemistry, and packaging while replicating real-world conditions as closely as possible. A dedicated team of stability scientists and food analysts will determine the most likely limiting factors and will provide the possible solutions to circumvent these factors.

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    Thoughts On How To Set Your Food Expiry Date

  • Eni
  • Hi Michael

    Sorry that you did not find my article on How to set you food expiry date helpful.

    It is very difficult to just come out and make a suggestion on what expiry date you should have. There is so much to consider including what the actual product is, the raw materials used to make it, what preservation methods you are using, storage methods, how you have manufactured the product etc. When you know this, you will have a better understanding of what you should be testing for. You also need to first understand what food pathogens are associated with your finished products and raw materials.

    To find out what food pathogens are associated with the raw materials/ingredients go in to make up your finished product, have a look at the raw material specification sheets that are provided by the manufacturer of those raw materials . For example, salmonella can be associated with chicken so if your finished product contains chicken, you would have the lab test for salmonella.

    If you google the FDA Bad Bug Book, that is a great resource in seeing what food pathogens are associated with what foods.

  • How To Conduct A Shelf

    There is no universal protocol for direct determination of shelf life. Examples of guidance documents for determining the shelf life of food have been issued from the New Zealand Government and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. The 10 steps below outline a methodical approach to setting up a shelf-life study.

  • Define objective. What is the reason for the shelf-life study? The shelf-life study can be initiated due to development of a new product, a formulation change, or an alternate package evaluation.
  • Identify mode of deterioration. End of shelf life is specific to different food commodities. For chilled foods, the end of shelf life is attributed to elevated spoilage microbial levels. Other modes of deterioration may be oxidation of fats as in fried snack foods, vitamin degradation as in fruit juices and starch retrogradation or staling of breads.
  • Define key attributes to monitor. Microbial examination, chemical analysis , physical testing or sensory evaluation can be monitored throughout the shelf-life study. Note that a key part of establishing the usefulness of any analytical measurement is the correlation with sensorial changes.
  • Select test methods. For chemical analysis, lipid oxidation could be monitored by measuring peroxide, free fatty acid, or thiobarbituric acid reactive substances formation. Sensory evaluation could be determined by various methods such as discrimination and descriptive or acceptance testing.
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