Great, so you’ve dived into bread baking and experimenting with new bread recipes, but now you’ve got too much. What to do?
Well, sharing is caring and one of things I love about baking is to be able to share my bread with friends, family or people that need a little help, but if you’ve done that and are still overstocked here is how to keep your bread fresh for longer.
We recommend: A cotton (bread) bag is your best bet for keeping your bread fresher for longer. Using one of these you’d normally expect to get three to four days out of your loaf, keeping it as fresh as any storage option.
Because Love Your Loaf is about fresh handmade bread it doesn’t contain the extra preservatives that supermarket or commercial breads often do, so it can be a battle to keep it fresh. But here are some top tips for keep your bread fresh.
First, you should completely cool your bread before storing it in any container because as the moisture escapes it will create damp in the container encouraging mold, especially an airtight plastic or metal bread bin.
Having tried the main bread storage options, such as the paper or plastic bags, bread tins, plastic containers and the fridge, the one we’ve found works best is a cotton bag – or wrapping bread tightly in a cotton towel. The loaf kept in a cotton bag still had a lovely firm crust and soft, springy interior for longer.
In our humble opinion the best storage for keeping bread fresh, is in priority order below:
- Cotton bag or towel
We’ve found that keeping your unsliced bread in a cotton bag or tightly wrapped in a dry cotton towel keeps it fresh for longer. Store that in a cool and dry place, nowhere damp or with high humidity or it will go mouldy quicker. You should get four days out of most fresh bread – after day four check it carefully for mold.
- Paper bag (well wrapped)
Paper bags provide a good balance of breathability and protection for your bread and yield decent results. However, it doesn’t top our Stale Stopping Super Star, the number one choice for fresh bread storage is…
- Plastic container or Bread bin
Airtight containers, such as the plastic box and plastic bag, retain the moisture and keep the bread softer. However, this provides conditions in which mould can grow.
- Putting bread in the fridge – Don’t do it
Bread goes stale quickest in the fridge because this draws out the moisture and the bread becomes stale almost three times faster than it would at room temperature – thanks science. So always store your bread at room temperature instead.
A couple of caveats
Not all breads have the same shelf life. For example, French bread can go stale in a matter of hours due to low hydration levels.
It’s not a storage solution but you could also try a longer fermentation and rise time on your bread dough, because as well as better flavor, your loaf will stay fresher and tastier for longer. The most common way to achieve this is to only add a fourth of the yeast suggested in the recipe and let it take up to 24 hours to rise — you can stretch this out in the fridge for up to two days.
How to Freeze Bread
Another way to keep bread at its best is to keep it at room temperature for a day or two, then wrap it up and freeze it. When you thaw it and heat it up, and it will taste freshly baked again
Wrap bread in aluminum foil and place that in an air tight freezer bag – removing as much air as possible. By doing that you trap in the bread’s natural moisture and keep it from drying out.
Defrost your bread then reheat in an oven or toaster actually re-gelatinizes the starches and makes the bread springy and chewy again