preservatives? different ingredients? HELP PLEASE! THANK YOU!
How do you keep fresh baked bread from staling after one day?
If you use high gluten flour or vital wheat gluten added to your bread flour, it makes the dough fluffier and it stays fresh for several days. Vital wheat gluten is usually easier to find, look at your grocery store.
For a typical loaf I'll use 5 oz whole wheat with 10 oz water for the preferment, and 11 oz high gluten flour to make the rest of the dough.
Once you go high gluten, you never go back.
I don't have anything new on making bread that will stay fresh longer, but I I have a great way of making day old or frozen bread look, feel and taste like it is freshly baked. I often toast the bread if it's breakfast time, but sometimes I want a whole loaf to be like new for eating without toasting.
If I have a crusty loaf that I want to serve as if it were freshly baked, I warm it in the oven at 350-400'F for 5-10 minutes. ...But... Each time you warm up bread, you lose some moisture from it. When you renew that crusty crust, you lose some moisture in the crumb.
So here is my trick to keep the bread fresh while making the crust as crisp as new. Moisturize the crust before putting it into the oven (replicating the steaming as you baked it the first time). You can do this by misting it with your mister bottle, but I have found that more moisture is better. I actually hold it under the cold water tap and fully wet the outside. I sometimes, even let it set a few minutes till the oven is hot. The crust will feel soggy, but that's what will keep the inside soft and fresh. To guage how long to leave it in the oven, just check after 5 minutes. If the crust is dry and crisp, it's done. If it is still soft or moist, leave it a few minutes longer. Heat just enough. If you want the inside warm to melt the butter, use lower heat (about 350') and longer warming time. If you just want the crust crisp without warming the crumb much, use 400'-425'. This renews your crust beautifully without losing any inner moisture. It's like having freshly baked bread a couple days after baking or any time after thawing a frozen loaf.
Since there are just two of us, we seldom eat a whole loaf at a sitting, so I use this method on partially cut loaves, too. In this case, I wet the loaf as I described, avoiding the cut end (or hold it with the cut side down so it doesn't soak up the water). You can spritz the cut end lightly or dab it with wet fingers, but don't soak it. Just cover the end with a little piece of foil and press the foil to the edge of the bread. Reheat as with a whole loaf. The one end slice might be a little crisp, but the rest of the loaf is wonderful.
Using fats (eggs, shortening, butter, lard, milk) or sweeteners (honey, sugar, agave nectar, etc.) in a bread can slow the staling process.
The most effective, in my own experience, is to make sourdough breads. Those have much better keeping properties (several days instead of one or two days) at room temperature.
Don't put bread in a refrigerator. That may stave off mold formation but it accelerates staling.
The difference between bread kept in a bread bin, and bread wrapped in a tea towel is the difference between two days and nearly a week of fresh-ish bread, I find.
Eat it up fast! heheh I know you're actually looking for a little more guidance than that on improving shelf life. Lots of good ideas in the thread so far.
Here's the list from my professional baker's manual:
I live by myself, so it's impossible to eat all the bread in a reasonable time that I bake. I let my loaves cool completely, maybe even 12/24 hours on a rack...so there is air all around. I put them in a plastic bag in the freezer. When I'm ready to use the loaf, it goes in the refrigerator and I slice what I need to eat for my meal. I always toast my bread just a little......but I like to do this even with very fresh bread; it's the way I like bread....my bread is really good like this.....I like butter on my bread....and jelly....and sandwich ingredients....and dipped in olive oil...and yummmmmmmmm......I never worry about bread going stale....but it would be nice to bake for a family and have all the bread eaten very quickly also.......
I've read that the longer the dough ferments, the longer the bread stays fresh. So one way to do that is a long slow rise by retarding your doughs overnight in the fridge during bulk fermentation.
Adding some sort of sourdough, pate fermente, preferment, or sponge is supposed to help, too because those components ferment longer. Daniel Leader suggests adding approximately 1/3 of the total flour weight in 100% starter--I do this to my multigrain bread with good results. It doesn't sour the flavor at all, since the sourdough doesn't really have time to develop--it is added at the mixing stage. But it does seem to lend a nice texture and "hold" the freshness a bit longer. For challah--an enriched dough--I've been following Rose Levy Berenbaum's recipe on her website, which includes some firm starter. The Challah really does seem to stay fresh a bit longer, and it has a lovely flavor and texture.
I slice sandwich bread after it has sat overnight to firm up. I freeze it in sandwich -size zipper bags, two slices to a bag with a piece of parchment or wax paper in between. 15 or so seconds in the microwave and the bread tastes freshly baked, or we make sandwiches on the frozen bread and it is thawed and delicious by lunchtime. We use the bags to pack the sandwiches in our lunch and then bring them home to reuse if they are not too difficult to wash out, so they don't go to waste. My only problem--I have used up every inch of our very limited freezer space!
...at about 2 - 3% of the total flour weight. Soy flour is widely used in the baking industry to help maintain freshness. I believe that even French bakers are allowed to add a small amount to their baguette formulas.
If you buy soy flour, use full-fat, organic soy flour. You want to avoid GMO soy beans plus full fat soy flour (rather than defatted soy flour) is better at maintaining freshness. (In the USA, both Bob's Red Mill and Arrowhead Mills distribute organic soy flour in one-pound bags).
When you purchase soy flour, store it on purchase in the freezer. Soy beans contain a high percentage of oil and full-fat soy flour can quickly go rancid if stored at room temperature.
Thank you all so much for your quick responses!
What about adding preservatives to bread to keep it from staling?
I'd suggest that doing that is defeating one of the purposes of making your own bread! You're baking your own to get an artisan product that is bursting with natural qualities that are not viable in larger-scale commercial operations - including avoiding the use of preservatives, chemical "improvers" etc.
I always increase the oil if I think the bread may have to last more than a day.