The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Freshness

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Sandy's picture
Sandy

Freshness

I am a new bread machine baker and I want to know how  to keep the bread fresh for at least a couple of days. Store-bought bread keeps pretty well and I noticed that by the next day or even earlier, my bread is kind of hard.

Thank you!

Darkstar's picture
Darkstar

Storing your loaves in plastic bags will help them keep soft longer. I keep my non-bread machine loaves with soft crusts in zip-top freezer bags but any plastic bag you can seal to keep in moisture should help.

 

I don't know if bread machines can make crusty loaves but those do better in a paper bag to let out just a little moisture to keep your crust crunchy/chewy.

 

I hope that helps.

Joe Fisher's picture
Joe Fisher

Good advice from Darkstar.  To take it one step further, I cut what I can eat in a few days and freeze the rest.  When I need more, I just take out what I can eat in a day or two.  So usually I'll go mad on the weekend, baking a bunch of bread.  Then I always have fresh bread in the freezer when I want some!

 

-Joe 

edella's picture
edella

I use a bread machine for kneading, but then finish the shape by hand and bake in the oven. When the bread is ready, I put it on a rack and cover with a dishcloth, then go somewhere else so I'm not tempted to cut into the bread. When the bread is cool, I pop it into  a large freezer bag and clip it shut so that its as airtight as can be. This softens it out. Several hours later, I slice the entire loaf into slices, keep some for immediate use and freeze the rest. Its OK for defrosting or else straight into a toaster. I occasionally grumble over the texture of homemade bread, but store-bought bread is soft because of the mass baking process, I suspect!

regards from edella in worthing UK

doneill241's picture
doneill241

I use a bread container that I got on Amazon. It's clear acrylic and two halves that slide together with a small white cutting board inside that the bread sits on.  At one end of the container there is a hand dial that when moved, has holes in the acrylic container that allows moisture to escape depending on the type of bread.  The container holds a 1-2 lb. loaf (it actually gets smaller as the loaf gets smaller).  Keeps the bread for days without changing the texture.

Mustang 51's picture
Mustang 51

While I was looking for ways to use my KAF gift card that I received for christmas, I stumbled upon granular lecithin in their catalog. They claim it increases the shelf life of yeasted breads. I have no experience with it, but it may be worth a try. I would like to see what those who have used it think about it. There may be some issues with it as an ingredient. I have not done any research on it yet. Someone here probably knows plenty about it and will share with us.


Paul

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Lecithin seems to me to be "another fat", with effects a lot like any other fat.


I tried putting a smallish amount (0.7-1%) of lecithin in my bread. I mixed the measured granules right into all the other dry ingredients (flour, etc.), then made the dough normally. At that level the effect was fairly subtle: a different mouthfeel and slightly longer "shelf life", but no discernable difference in texture or appearance.


My understanding is the typical amount of lecithin is slightly higher (2%), but I haven't tried that myself.


(I've heard that at even higher levels, lecithin imparts a noticeably funny flavor to the bread. But again I haven't tried that myself.)


I had a better experience impacting texture and crumb appearance by using a tiny bit of diastatic malt (barley malt flour)  ...but in the end that was so sensitive to suddenly getting the gummy crumb of "too much", especially hard since it's typically unknown just how much is already in the flour, that I stopped doing it.

jjd's picture
jjd

Apologies if these are clearly points of ignorance of someone new to the forum.


I purchased a bread machine years ago but gave up using it after a few months as the bread was not nearly as nice as loaves i coule buy.  A year ago i decided to give it another go and purchased a well regarded new breadmachine. 


I generally bake white loaves (2 lb) adding seeds to flavour.  I play around with the amount of sugar and salt but otherwise everything is fairly constant (strong white bread flour, fast action yeast, sunflower oil, water).  Try as i may i too often produce loaves that are rather dense, crumble when cut and stay fresh only 48 hours.  I know there are various issues here (i could freeze them) and i have played around with sources of yeast but would really appreciate any input.  Are my expectations unrealistic?  should i use the machine to make the dough and then over bake??


Any input appreciated


 

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

I've been fiddling with my Zo for awhile now and I'm starting to home in on things.


First, try recipes from the King Arthur website intended for bread machines.  I've had the best luck with these.


Weigh your ingredients.  You'll still need to make slight adjustments from time to time but it'll be easier to reproduce results - and figure out what went wrong if something does go wrong - if you're weighing your ingredients.


Check the protein content of your flour.  I started out using KA AP flour and when that ran out, switched to a local AP flour.  Well the KA AP is 11.7% protein and the local AP is more like pastry flour at 9.2% protein.  When I switched to the local version of bread flour for bread recipes calling for AP things improved vastly. (The local bread flour is 11.6% protein).  Vital wheat gluten can help up the gluten content a bit if your local flour falls a bit short.  Now I use the local bread flour when KA recipes call for AP flour, and the local bread flour fortified with vwg if it calls for bread flour.


Consider trying a different yeast.  The grocery store yeast I bought passed a proofing test but nevertheless seemed to be pooping out during the 2nd and third rises.  Finally I went ahead and switched to the Red Star ADY I got at Costco and there was immediate improvement.  The Red Star was just higher quality than the grocery store version.


I haven't got it perfected yet but I'm homing in on it.  Right now my scale has pooped out totally so no more experimentation until I get it replaced (it thinks a 4 lb 8 oz bag of chocolate chips weighs 3 lb 10 oz).  The last loaf was much improved in many ways but with the scale so far out of whack (didn't realize it until the loaf came out of the Zo, THEN I thought to check it) the dough was much to wet and it fell.  However everything else is better - the crust in particular was a LOT better.  Still a bit thicker than I'd like, but not at all tough, nothing like the thick dark nasty hard rind-like thing it had been.

sarafina's picture
sarafina

No matter what language you use, a slurry of flour and water and a pinch of yeast, allowed to ferment for 12 to 16 hours, when used as the base for your bread dough will extend the shelf life of your loaf. I don't know why, but it does.

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

I wrap my loaf straight out of the bread machine in a piece of fine muslin and then place the wrapped loaf in a plastic grocery store bag with the handles tied to close the top of the bag.  It keeps for a week this way.  You do need to watch out in case condensation forms but this isn't usually much of a problem - if you do get some condensation just leave the bag open for a little while, with the loaf still wrapped in the muslin.  This is real cheesecloth or flour sack cloth.  Not the cheap stuff with the big holes in it but much finer than that.