Bread can be eaten past the "best by" or expiration date. A package of plain bread can last five to seven days past the best by date. Bakery bread has a shorter lifespan of two to three days past the best by date.
Different types of bread stay fresh for varying amounts of time. Packaged bagels stay fresh five to seven days past the best by date, and bakery bagels stay fresh for two to three days past the date. The shelf life can be extended to about six months by placing the bread in the freezer. Hard or stale bread can still be used as bread crumbs or croutons as long as the bread is not moldy. Once mold has formed, the bread should be thrown away.