Is "Bread In a Jar" shelf stable?

Asked January 29, 2018, 2:43 PM EST

My 84-yr-old, recently widowed next door neighbor man was excited about a "Bread In a Jar" recipe & 2-pint sample that he'd received from his niece. She's teaching him to cook via once/wk phone calls & sent him 2 pints of this quick bread in his favorite flavor, poppy seed. I requested the recipe & forwarded it to my daughter after he gave the recipe to me. My daughter's got a Masters degree in Public Health, so I heeded her warning about this recipe NOT being shelf stable. Then I asked my neighbor to ask his niece if she'd forgotten to mention refrigeration/freezing. He called back to say that the niece & her sister or mom (too much background noise just then) have been making quick breads this way for years without incident & without any refrigeration. Please evaluate this recipe for food safety & tell me if we're wrong. The bold font warnings were not in the niece's version--I added them. Bread in a Jar Instructions

1. Get 8 clean, wide-mouth, pint-size canning jars & lids.

2. In a large bowl, mix up your favorite quick bread recipe or a quick bread mix.

3. Thoroughly grease your jars with shortening all the way around inside each jar.

4. Pour the bread batter into the jars until they are half full.

5. Bake the bread in the jars without the lids, at 350*F for 45 minutes. Test with toothpick poked in center—toothpick should come out clean when it’s done. Ensure they are completely done before removing jars from the oven.

6. After they’re baked & out of the oven, wipe the rims with a wet cloth & put the flat lids on. Quickly screw the bands (canning rings) on. As they cool the lids will seal ***& will keep your bread as fresh as the day you made it.

7. Immediately invert jars & let them cool in this upside-down position. (I guess you should also store them upside down.)

8. ***Warning Note—The statement, “…this bread will keep…”, is misleading. The bread in the jar is not shelf stable. This is a low-acid food & therefore subject to botulism & other dangers, if it’s not either (a) eaten within a week or 2 or (b) refrigerated/frozen as one would store other bread. This is the same danger that exists if green beans are canned via water-bath canning instead of the necessary pressure canning. One cannot see, taste, feel or smell the presence of botulism, & it is an often deadly disease/poison.

Weld County Colorado

1 Response

You are right to be concerned and to follow up on your daughter's advice - there is a risk associated with this type of product. Clemson University has information available at the link below about the specific safety issues associated with bread baked in jars and alternative methods are shared.
Utah State University has information concerning research that shows Clostridium botulinum can survive the baking process and their attempts to make a safe product were unsuccessful.
Thanks for your time and effort in providing this information for your neighbor.