Staling. A sequence of physicochemical reactions in bakery products subsequent to baking. It limits their shelf life (q.v.) and results in a diminution of the quality of certain sensory properties that are essential to consumer acceptance. These properties include crumb texture (q.v.) which becomes harsher, drier and more crumbly, flavor (q.v.) which both diminishes and undergoes a deterioration, and crust (q.v.) character which in the case of bread products loses its crispness and becomes soft and leathery. The rate at which many of these changes occur depends on product composition and processing, including the addition of antistaling agents (q.v.), and on storage conditions.