Even if you’re a bread-baking pro, you’ve probably found yourself wandering down the bakery aisle in an attempt to find the freshest, fluffiest loaf. Oh, the choices! Most supermarkets boast shelf after shelf of bread ranging from rustic sourdough to bubbling brioche. In an effort to find the best bread, I used to consider their golden-brown color, aroma and, of course, give ’em a gentle squeeze to evaluate freshness. I had no idea the twist ties were telling a story.
The twist tie, or plastic tag, on your bread can tell you how fresh your loaf is. The color indicates the day of the week the bread was baked. Typically, commercial bread is baked and delivered to grocery stores five days a week. This gives bakeries two days off–Wednesdays and Sundays. The color system helps the store staff as they rotate in the freshest bread and remove the older loaves. Or as we say in the culinary world, FIFO, meaning “first in, first out.” At most, you should see only two colors of twist ties in the bread aisle on any given day.
Pro tip: If there’s a date on the colored tag, it’s the “sell by” date, not the date it was baked.
Check out the (not so secret) color codes:
- Monday – blue
- Tuesday – green
- Thursday – red
- Friday– white
- Saturday – yellow
Pro tip: There’s an easy way to remember this at the grocery store: The colors are in alphabetical order by day of the week.
This certainly isn’t a foolproof system. Your local bakery may have its own method of determining freshness. But the colorful code is widely used in many commercial bread bakeries across the country.
See if this theory holds true the next time you are at the grocery store. If you happen to come across a slightly stale loaf? Well, that’s practically an invitation to whip up a pan of bread pudding. Learn how to make it the old-fashioned way here.