The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Storing Fresh Bread

Melana's picture

Storing Fresh Bread

Hi! New member from North Central PA. I been baking bread weekley for about 2 years. My baby (as my husband calls it - sour dough starter from grapes)is a year and 2 months old As I was getting my starter going, I took it everywhere with me "even on vacation with my real kids!". Anyways, I've been looking for an informative site for baking breads and this is the one I chose to stay with. Any ideas on storing fresh bread through the week? Best way to freeze it?? Any help thanks!


Teresa_in_nc's picture

I'm impressed you made your starter from grapes! Keeping a starter that long is also impressive.

Here in the South, I can't leave bread out on the counter as it will mold too quickly. So I store it in the fridge in plastic bags. I have learned to cut off slices and package them 3 or 4 to a heavy freezer zip bag for future use - especially when I'm making way more bread than one person should eat. (I do give it away, too.)

Always double wrap your bread when freezing it: wrap in foil or plastic wrap, then put in a heavy freezer zip bag - or - put in one zip bag, then into another zip bag for double protection.

Hope this helps!

Melana's picture

Thanks Theresa in NC-I usually do not freeze my bread & I end up throwing it away! I think I will try freezing excess after it cools. I share with friends & family as well - I wonder if they really eat it?? I made a Pain de Campagne Poilane recipe-it turned out good-Nice cruncy crust but the inside could have used a little more rise! However it was good-until I put it in a plastic bag for the nite. Should I store it in paper bags instead? Will the cruncy crust go away no matter???

Wayne's picture

Hi Melana:

It has been my experience that fresh bread with no preservatives will go stale rather quickley sitting out, either in plastic or paper bags. I have found that if you go ahead and slice it up, after cooling, wrap in tin foil and then plastic sealable bag and freeze it works very well. You can then take out the quantity you want and put the rest back in the freezer. Should keep for at least 2 - 3 months. Not as good as fresh, but still much better than store bought.


naschol's picture

The best way to store bread for a week is to freeze it, studies have shown. If you wrap it in plastic and store it on the counter, it will mold faster. If you store it in the fridge it will dry out quicker. However, if you make smaller loaves, the best way to store short-term is to put the cut edge down on your cutting board after cutting your slice. The crust will stay crisp and the inside soft for a couple of days. No matter how you store it, bread starts to degrade the minute you take it out of the oven. Moral of the story - eat it as soon as it comes out of the oven... ;-)


JMonkey's picture

I've found that lean breads like French baguettes will keep, at most, two days. They're still a bit crispy the next morning if I store them in a paper bag overnight, but that's about it. Bigger lean loaves like batards or rounds might keep longer, but I don't have much experience making lean breads in those shapes.

Sourdough will keep much longer. If it's a hearth bread with a crunchy crust, I usually just store it crust side down on the counter. The crust goes chewy rather than crunchy after a day or so, but it's still very tasty. Depending on the weather, I can keep it on the counter for 3-4 days, or so, and it's still good.

Sandwich breads keep better if there's some butter, oil and / or honey in them, and even better if there's a pre-ferment like a biga, poolish or pate fermente (old dough). I've got a tupperware container that's just the right size for a bread box, so I just stick it in there with the cut up against the side. It'll keep 2-4 days, again, depending on the weather.

I store sourdough sandwich bread just like this, and it'll keep 5-6 days. Amazing stuff, sourdough.

Usually, I bake 2-4 loaves over the weekend. We eat one or two fresh and the rest goes in the freezer. Usually, I just take it out of the freezer the night before we need it, and let it thaw in the bread box. It's a little drier than it is fresh, but still tasty. I've also wrapped it in a damp towel and put it in a pre-heated oven at 350 for about 30 minutes, if I needed it quickly. Thawed that way, it tastes pretty much the same as fresh baked!

I never store bread in the fridge. Bread goes stale about 3-4 times faster at 33-45 degrees, which is right about where most refridgerators are set.

A loaf of bread rarely lasts longer than a couple of days, three at the most, before it's completely consumed at our house. :-) If you go through bread slower than that, you may want to think about preslicing the loaf, and then toasting slices on a low setting whenever you need them. Works pretty well!

Best of luck!

Melana's picture

Thanks Nancy & Jmonkey!

I've sliced and frozen my first loaf of Maple Oatmeal Bread! I will try it when I run out of baking time! Your comments were very informative!

Thanks again!


Maeve's picture

Earlier this year I thought I'd found a great way to store bread - I was using those Debbie Meyer plastic bags.  They were awesome, but I don't know whether the weather has affected things in my region (we haven't seen the sun much this whole year in Central PA) but the bread used to last several days in those bags, now after maybe 2 days it would get a white film on the crust.  (it's just a regular lean-ish bread, not sourdough)

So I searched this site and googled a lot and found reference to using a metal bread box or a clay pot.  Well, I couldn't find any in local stores and I've been clearing out my kitchen for future renovations and found several old black enamelled roasting pots with lids and had an idea.  I only use those things once or twice a year, but I can't bear to get rid of them, so I washed one out, dried it well, put my bread in there and it works just fine.  Bread is still edible (just barely, I was really stretching the experiment) after 5 days.  No mold.

It also fits my loaf and several short baguettes.  Those don't last long enough to worry about fit.  :)

I now use a tip I found on the King Arthur site of baking two loafs in one pan.  I let ot cool and wrap up the other half for the freezer.

This has been working out well for me, so I thought I'd share.