The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Storing Bread

jowilchek's picture

Storing Bread

I make bread weekly, but having a problem storing it. We don't mind the fact it gets a wee bit stale, we use it only for toast after the third day. But what is the best way to store homemade breads, sourdoughs, artisian, and plain old white sandwich breads? I have a plastic bread box that seals air tight, also my antique oak bakers hoosier cabinet has a bread drawer with tin lid (with holes punched in the tin).
How do you store your left over breads?
Love all the information on this site and everyone is so helpfull!!
Also, I have a recipe that call for "spelt flour" what can I use in place of "spelt" flour? (I have never heard of it, and don't recall ever seeing it at the grocery)

grind's picture

All I do is place the bread cut side down on the counter.  Cheers, Tony.

jowilchek's picture

Thanks to all of you, I will try these suggestions and see which one works best for my climate. Thanks again!!

jyslouey's picture

and store it in a plastic box for immediate consumption.  I keep the other half in the freezer.  When the first half is gone, the frozen half wrapped in foil and put in the toater oven to be reheated. 

wwiiggggiinnss's picture
wwiiggggiinnss (not verified)

Freezer too.

I keep some to eat right away, but after the bread cools, it's wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and into the freezer it goes. When I want more, I just pull it out of the freezer and give it a couple hours to acclimate. It doesn't take long to do so and tastes much fresher than a loaf that's been at room temp. for days.  

G-man's picture

I store my bread in the refrigerator if it lasts longer than a couple days, and put it in the toaster for a few seconds when I cut it.

AW's picture

For sandwich loaves, I keep them in plastic bags. For crisp crust bread I store half in the freezer and leave the other half out, cut side down, on a wooden board. I am contemplating a new little contraption based on a gorgeous bread storage contraption you can buy at Poilane, which is insanely overpriced.

AW's picture

See Laurel's Kitchen cookbook for a really nice way to refresh your breads. Essentially you dampen a towel, wrap your bread in it and reheat it. There are also nice dishes, like bread pudding and panzanella, to make with old bread.


joem6112's picture

I've been storing about half a loaf after slicing in a Glad container, one of those that is about a quart size, in the refrigerator. The other half in the freezer in a food storage bag. Too many disappointng mornings hoping for toast and coffee and finding moldy bread. Then having, UGH, oatmeal!!

Breadandwine's picture

Hi folks

A few points on storing bread - from my experience.

A bread bin is the best way I've found. It must be allowed to breathe - an airtight container will just breed mould. As will a plastic bag.

If you're looking for a roll-top bread-bin, make sure there's no lip at the front - makes it hard to get rid of the crumbs!

Any bread to be kept for more than a day should be kept in a freezer. Freezers and bread were made for each other.

Bread goes stale quicker in the fridge, I've found.

About spelt flour. Here in the UK it can be bought in any large supermarket (often in the specialised section). Failing that, try your local HFS. Spelt is a nutty flavoursome relative of wheat. It's good stuff! It hasn't been tampered with as wheat has, over the millenia, and is often able to be tolerated by those unfortunates with a wheat allergy or intolerance.

If you do find some, be aware it rises quicker than a wheat dough - so keep an eye on it.

Cheers, Paul

jowilchek's picture

Thanks Paul,
I guess I will try the bread drawer in the hoosier cabinet with the punched tin lid.
I have learned a great deal about Spelt recently...and like the idea of the nutty flavor, I read on a website about colon health that it is much easier to digest than wheat, and that is what excites husband has medical issues. I have been adding Kansas organic oat bran grain to all my white breads for extra fiber, and Kansas organic wheat bran grain to all my wheat, and rye breads for extra fiber and that has helped him alot (he loves bread and the idea of not being able to eat it is devestating) but since I have added the bran he hasn't had the pain like before.
I thought an addition of Spelt would make the homemade bread even better for him. Will just take some of my favorite recipes and experiment till I get the right formula's.
Thanks again for all the information and if you have a good recipe with Spelt I would love to try it.

Chuck's picture

Different breads store for different amounts of time, and there's not much you can do about it. A very lean dough (such as French Baguettes) made with just flour/water/salt/yeast will only store for a day (or two of you're lucky, or maybe three if you're really really lucky). Breads with plenty of fats (oil, butter, perhaps even lecithin) may store three or four days without any issue.

Breads reversibly "lose water" internally because of some chemical reactions that have almost nothing to do with the way they're stored. You don't want to leach away even more water though, as that would make what's already a problematic situation  worse. On the other hand you don't want to get too warm or create any condensation or do anything else that might encourage mold. So something like the old metal bread box or a plastic veggie bag that has "breathing holes" all over it (or even a regular plastic bag but not sealed) is the best you can do.

With a thin soft crust, everything matters. But a thick crunchy crust (which is the goal of many home bakers:-) seals so well you only need to worry about the exposed crumb at the cut end. (Of course, don't leave the loaf in an obvious draft.)

No matter how you store it, bread will get at least a little bit "stale". You can only do so much with better storage. What you really need is a way to un-stale bread after the fact. The solution? A microwave oven! (?) Slice it, then zap the slice for a few seconds before eating it. Some suggest putting a small cup of water in the microwave too; others say don't bother as if you've stored the bread right more water doesn't really help.

This is counter-intuitive (it tastes "dry" so nuke it - ???)  ...but it works!

wwiiggggiinnss's picture
wwiiggggiinnss (not verified)

Yup, and that also works with hard-crusted breads (you know the ones: those you accidentally steamed into making a 4mm crust!).

If you have someone that complains that the bread is too hard, pass it through the microwave for a few seconds and voila! Magically soft.