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April 17, 2024

How to Get the Freshest Loaf: Breaking the Bread Code


Excerpts from Paul Michael's Wise Bread post follow.

It turns out that there's a simple visual code that can take you straight to the freshest loaf in seconds. And it's all contained in the twist ties or plastic clips around the top of the bread bag.


I often wondered why they used different colors on those tags and ties. As it turns out, they indicate when the loaf was baked. The standard is as follows:

Blue: Monday

Green: Tuesday

Red: Thursday

White: Friday

Yellow: Saturday

An easy way to remember it, though, is to simply recall the alphabet. The colors run in alphabetical order, so the earlier they appear in the alphabet, the earlier in the week the bread was baked.

This whole system was set up to help the supermarkets and grocers identify which bread was new, which was getting old (so it can be put on sale), and which was out of date and needed to be removed from the shelves. As a general rule of thumb, you should only see two colors of tags on the shelves at any one time, or three maximum for those days when bread wasn't delivered. But that doesn't stop old bread from sneaking through.

So when you go to the store for your next loaf, make sure the color of the tag is the same as the day on which you are shopping. Blue for Monday, green for Tuesday, and so on. Please note that if it's Wednesday, you also want green. Sunday, you want yellow. For some reason, the system does not include those days. Some say it's because bakers did not used to bake on Wednesdays and Sundays.

In some rare instances, you may see bread tags that are one color regardless of the day on which they were baked. They may simply contain a date. In that case, here’s what you need to remember:

The date on the tag is the sell-by date, not the date it was baked.

Ahh, but what if there's just a twist tie that’s always the same color? In that case, you should see a date somewhere on the bread bag. The same rule from above applies (it's the sell-by date).

Finally, you should know that some companies have created their own color codes.

April 17, 2024 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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