The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bread storage 101

Newfieguy's picture

Bread storage 101

Hey Everyone,

I just bought a bunch of those magic bread storage bags at Bed Bath and Beyond and brough them home and gave them a bash and found it did not make any difference at all. 

They went bad in 5 days which is actually a little shorter than it normally takes for them to go bad so it was almost like they made it worse. 

What are the secrets for bread once it is made?  Does anyone have any magical storage stories to share on what works?  Fridge, no fridge, bags, special boxes blah blah....





Dillbert's picture

not a problem.  the answer is magically clear:

don't bake more than you can eat in the next 4-5 days.

works like a charm . . .

AnnaInMD's picture

home made bread to stay fresh since we don't use any preservatives.

I leave my bread on the board with cut side down, after two days I run the crust through the faucet, don't get the cut side wet, throw it into a preheated 300 degree oven and rebake for about 10 minutes, comes out fresh as on day 1.

plevee's picture

Bread is just raw toast and homemade breads tast much better toasted than any supermarket bread.

LindyD's picture

If you find you can't finish a loaf within two or three days, the next time you bake scale your dough to a smaller size, bake a few (boules or batards), then freeze the extras.  That way you'll always have fresh bread.

Sourdough does have more staying power than yeasted bread - I can get about a week out of a sourdough loaf.  Towards the end of the week it is lightly stale, but it still tastes better than the stuff sold at the stores.

ryeme's picture

I slice and freeze my bread after the first day. This also enables me to choose from four or five different kinds of bread for my morning toast -- a great luxury.

LindyD's picture

How do you wrap the slices?  I tried that once but found that ice crystals started to form on the slices, even though they were wrapped well (or so I thought) and stored in a zip lock bag.

ryeme's picture

Either in one ZipLoc or 2 bread bags, depending on loaf's size and my patience.

And yeah, often there are ice crystals, but they disappear when bread is toasted. Still far better than almost anything you can buy.


MmeZeeZee's picture

1.  Rye Sourdough lasts longer.

2.  A nice canvas bag should work if it breathes... but five days is a lot.  After that you need to appreciate the changing texture.

3.  You can freeze bread if the crust texture is not too important to you.

4.  Try using it in dishes designed to use old bread: bread pudding, quruti (soaked in yoghurt-cheese dip and topped with hot, boiling ghee or butter right over fresh vegetables), etc.

5.  Toast, or you can put it in the zapper for three minutes with a cup of hot water.

Okay, those are my suggestions.  I bake for a family but then the army calls my husband away suddenly and we end up with a LOT of leftovers all of a sudden that way...

thegrindre's picture

Bread should be kept in an air tight container and placed in the fridge. Most folks don't like a cold firm bread but it is the poroper way to store bread.


Personally, I like my bread cool and firm. I hate soft 'Wonder' type bread. I don't like bread to stick to the roof of my mouth. I reserve that entertainment for peanut butter. LOL



spriolo's picture

I'm not sure that air tight and fridge is proper.  My grandma would be screaming if you stored her bread like that.  She's been doing it for like a zillion years.


I keep mine on the counter (or in the bread drawer) in side a plastic bag.  No problem!

EvaB's picture

think proper storage is in the fridge, that lets the bread pick up stray smells, and tastes.

And what did we ever do before the ever present ice box came into being?? Stored it on the counter, or in a bread box, and used it up, baked every day or every other day etc.

Bread shouldn't be stored, its for eating! Freezing is a last resort if you have too much, I find it works just fine to make a loaf every couple days, or a batch of buns, the only bread eaten around here is mostly in sandwiches for work lunch, and the rest of the time, we rarely eat bread, when we grill its hamberger or hot dog buns and on the really odd occasion we do have a bun or biscuit (bakign powder) with chilli or soup.

thegrindre's picture

I believe you've missed the gist of this thread. It's called, Bread Storage 101, not bread consumption.


As for myself, I bake about 2 loaves a month and bread storage needs to be utilized properly for I've never lived in the dark ages before Refrigeration.

Living in the modern times of today, bread should be stored in an air tight container in the fridge. It's a food, it's a fact. I want my bread to last a good week and doing it the modern way, retains my bread for longer periods of time.

Make sure your bread is COMPLETLY cooled before storing it, though.

That's bread storage.



budagl's picture

My wife only likes the bread I make when it is fresh and warm.  After it has cooled down, her appreciation also has cooled down.  So, if it isn't a rye bread, I either make bread pudding or french toast with the left overs. 

nhtom's picture

When making multiple loaves, freeze all but the one you'll be consuming for the next few days.

I understand that refridgerating bread compromises the loaf more so than freezing.

cgmeyer2's picture

i live in phoenix az.  i have to store my bread in the frig after 3-4 days; otherwise, it will mold.


Dillbert's picture

but you may find different opinions


thegrindre's picture

I'm sure public opinions and world views can be found by the millions and are not always correct.

They once thought the world was flat.

And, that the sun revolved around the earth.


Packing in salt was one form of food preservation. Smoking was another. Both have been found today to be very hazardous to your health.


Refrigeration has been a proven form of food preservation, hence, again, the topic title, Bread Storage 101.

It's a food. It's a fact. If you want your bread to last a few days longer, wrap it in an air tight bag/container and store it in the fridge.


Thank you,



MmeZeeZee's picture

...excess consumption of salt has been proven to raise the risk of hypertension but eating salted and canned foods, in and of itself, has not been linked to a particular health risk.  Likewise, some smoked foods have carcinogens in them but people who eat huge amounts of these are still not at higher risk of cancer than those who eat a lot of food processed in other ways.

Not that I disagree with refrigeration.  My fridge is probably one of the last things I'd give up.  What did they do before refrigeration?  Well, they died a lot earlier, for one thing, though probably not due to the lack of refrigerated bread.

thegrindre's picture

This has been a most wonderful and helpful forum board about breads of all kinds and I've enjoyed all that the community has given. I've learned a lot just in the few weeks since I've found it.

Thank you all so very much for sharing.


And, I want to keep it friendly but, your statement, "...excess consumption of salt has been proven to raise the risk of hypertension but eating salted and canned foods, in and of itself, has not been linked to a particular health risk."

Isn't hypertension a health risk? I'm not sure I understand what you mean, then.


Your second statement, "Likewise, some smoked foods have carcinogens in them but people who eat huge amounts of these are still not at higher risk of cancer than those who eat a lot of food processed in other ways."

I tend to agree with you on this point so, why do it? Smoking cigarettes, cigars, and/or pipes all have about the same risks. They're about equal in the fact that they all have excesses amounts of carcinogens in them.

Why would you condone eating carcinogenic foods any more then you would condone 'smoking'?

Eating healthy foods is much better then taking risks.

I've long since tossed out my open fired backyard BBQ and don't buy anything that's been smoked, anymore.


The United States is the leading nation in the world for cancer. We are top of the list... Why? I'm sure it's very debatable but I believe that some of the contributing factors are our food and how we process some of them. The government isn't always right and what they allow in some of our foods is a crime.

Maybe we should take heed to those third world countries that eat healthier then we do that have far less cancer problems.

Fresh vegetables, fruits and breads are so much better for you then carcinogenic risks.


(Oh, I ain't giving up my refrigerator either. LOL)



MmeZeeZee's picture

"Isn't hypertension a health risk? I'm not sure I understand what you mean, then."


It's possible to use salting as a method of food preservation without consuming excess salt.  You just end up eating less salt elsewhere in your diet.

As for smoked food, it's a tradition for many and when eaten as part of a diet that is mostly fresh fruits and vegetables and organic grains and so on, I don't see how that's going to up your risk.  After all, refrigerators have a carbon imprint which... well you get the picture.

Again, I am absolutely FOR your point of refrigerating food (including bread when necessary).

I just don't think it's fair to demonize a particular class of foods which, when eaten in moderation, is not going to be harmful, even though they contain minerals or chemicals that may be harmful when consumed in excess.  Moderation, moderation.

Maybe I feel strongly about it because we can't afford much fish and what we can afford is often smoked... kippered snacks, LOL.

But this is far off the point that the original poster made.  It's not like anyone is going to smoke or pickle bread.  So, for this digression, I apologize!  :D

spacey's picture

Indeed, in Brazil where salted cod and salted beef are still consumed and appreciated, the first step in consuming them it is to re-hydrate the meat and discard the water... with most of the salt.

Of course, in tropical places more salt in the diet isn't always a bad thing either, as the body will sweat a lot more of it out in a given day.

spriolo's picture

I can see using the fridge if you make 2 or 3 loaves a month.  I make 4 or 6 loaves a week (sometimes one a day - nirvanna -).  I've got lots of kids and peanut butter and jelly is the number one request at lunch.  Normally they want toast for breakfast; so my 50 lb sack of flour doesn't last long. :D

The nice thing about baking so often is you get to try different techniques and tinker with the formulas.  I guess I now know that having lots of hungry mouths to feed means I don't have to worry about long term storage problems either.



spacey's picture

I make way more bread than my little 3-person family can eat, but I find that fresh bread is more appreciated, and I can give away extra bread at the office, or to friends, anytime. And this way I can experiment a lot more than I could if I limited myself to what we ate in a week.  I do kind of envy your situation.  I've never run out of bread when I'm in full home-production mode :)

Now that my daughter is almost a year and can eat bread, her favorite food is pop's bread and some cheese melted on it.


Jethompson's picture

I found years ago that the fridge is the last place to store bread.  Refrigeration has a drying effect on bread.  If you need store your bread,  Feezer is the only place.  It is best to produce only what you can consume before it dries out.  Give the surplus to a neighbor or a nearby nursing home. They will love you for it.  I used to bake for thousands of folks and used the freezer all the time.  Bread comes out nice as long as it is relatively fresh.  It will still dry out eventually anyway.  JT

thegrindre's picture

I've been storing my bread in the fridge for decades. As long as the container is air tight, it will stay fresh. That's what the fridge was designed for, keeping your foods fresh for longer periods of time.

That's a fact. I've never had my bread dry out on me as long as the container hasn't, 'sprug a leak'.



gary.turner's picture

There is more to keeping bread fresh than maintaining moisture levels. That can be done by wrapping the  loaf in plastic; woe be to the crust(iness).

Of more import to the taste is starch retrogradation. When the dough is baked, the starch crystals melt and bind to water; they gelate. This gives us that translucent, soft crumb we all work toward.  Once removed from the oven, the staling begins as the starch gel gives up its water and degrades to a crystal form again. This  happens faster at cooler temperatures, down to freezing.  In other words, staling (not drying) occurs fastest at refrigerator temperatures, and not at all when stored below freezing.

There's nothing can be done  with dry bread except makes bread crumbs, but bread that's stale due to starch retrogradation can be renewed by placing the loaf in a 300-350°F oven for about 10 minutes or less depending on loaf size.



hanseata's picture

Artisan breads should not be stored in the refrigerator, they get stale and, when wrapped in plastic, will mold faster. I usually cut cooled bread in halves and freeze one half.


highmtnpam's picture

Wrap the bread in aluminum foil or saran wrap  (Saran wrap, the brand is practically impermeable unlike other brands).  Then put it in a plastic bag.  Then freeze.  The idea is to keep out the air and ice crystals.  I use foil...but foil tears so put it in another protective layer of plastic.  When you want bread you have some choices.  You can let the bread thaw in foil and then rewarm the bread in the foil at about 370ºF.  This will crisp the crust.  Or you can thaw the bread and then steam it again and the crust will be wonderful.  Some people warm the bread straight from the freezer.  I wrap 2/3 slices, what we need for breakfast or lunch.I unwrap the bread.  I takes just a few minutes for it to thaw..Make sure and mark the type of bread.  I'm always sure I will remember, but I don't.  We had not so good freezers so I did a test of how long the bread would last before it took on "taste" It was somewhere between 2 and 3 weeks.  Now we have excellent freezer and I can leave frozen bread in the freezer for 6 months.  It never lasts that long, but it's nice to know.   Pam

Amadeus's picture

Cool and freeze anything beyond one loaf, and try using this, one loaf at a time: try