The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Storing Artisan bread

pageta's picture

Storing Artisan bread

I've been making the Tartine loaves with some success, but it takes a couple days to get through the first loaf at our house. The first loaf is fine with just putting foil on the exposed portion, but by the time I get to the second loaf, the crust is pretty tough. I know when I buy artisan bread from Trader Joe's, if I put it into a bag on the second day, it keeps fine until it is gone, but with the round loaf, I do not have any bags that are big enough. Do I really have to make this bread one loaf at a time two or three times a week in order to keep it around? Or is there some way I can store it and be more efficient? Would slicing the whole loaf and then freezing it work (as then it would fit in a smaller bag)? It didn't mold, and the flavor was still good - the crust was just argh.


Zoologuy's picture

Will your loaf fit in a bag if cut in half? TJ sells their biggest loaf as a half (demi-miche) loaf. Both halves of the size boules that I make fit in a recycled produce bag. White drawstring trash bags would be big enough for anything that comes out of classic 14"x16" oven. Or consider bringing back the old standard breadbox.

AnnieT's picture

I find the best way to store sourdough boules is to cut them in half and turn them cut side down on the board, much easier to get nice slices. Then I cover what isn't used with a teatowel - the other half loaf usually gets double bagged and frozen. To thaw it I leave it on the counter overnight, still in the bags, and next morning I take the half loaf out of the bags and place the inner bag on the cutting board, cut side of loaf on the plastic and again cover with the teatowel. The crust stays crisp and the bread is good for several days. Hope this helps, A.

LindyD's picture

Hi pageta - welcome to TFL.

Cut your boule in half, wrap well with film wrap, and pop it in the freezer.   When you see you'll need bread the next day, take the frozen boule out of the freezer just before you go to bed and let it naturally thaw (still in the film wrap) overnight.   You'll have lovely fresh bread in the morning.

I bake at least two loaves/boules at a time and this method has worked very well for me over the past year.    Just wish I had more freezer space as it's nice to have "bread insurance" for those days when it's too hot to turn on the oven. 

AnnieT's picture

Hi Lindy, glad to see we agree on freezing bread. One of my sons swears he can tell when bread has been frozen but I'm sure he wouldn't be able to tell using this method. I like to have several half loaves in the freezer - not that it often gets too hot to bake here on Whidbey Island, but today the forecast is for high eighties so no baking for a day or two, A.

sunyfun's picture

I usually wrap up one whole loaf in Freeze-Tite Wrap and then some heavy tin foil (I re-use both for future loaves) and freeze.  I remove the wraps and thaw on the counter and then I crisp the loaf up again in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.  The loaf comes out just as fresh as the day you baked it.

longhorn's picture

I am definitely a freeze, thaw, reheat person. While I know my loaf profile well enough that I can (at least usually) recognize a loaf that has been frozen, I find the reheating (10 to 15 min at 300 to 350) gives a crust that is very comparable to (or even preferable to) fresh baked (because the high hydration boule crust softens as the loaf ages). I typically make three to four loaves at a time and freeze all regular/whole wheat loaves and halves that will not be eaten in two days. I typically keep the darkest loaf and freeze the lighter ones, using the reheat to adjust the crust color. If the loaves are dark (like Tartine) I use lower temps (i.e. 300 and typically ten minutes) and if the loaf is light higher temps (which are sometimes higher than 350) for 15 minutes or so.


AnnaInMD's picture

I use the aforementioned method of setting the boule on its cut end. When the crust gets too hard, I run it through the faucet and bake in a preheated 300 F oven for 10 minutes. The crust comes out beautifully again.  After that I store in a plastic bag, the quality of the bread itself stays moist and yummy, the crust, alas, will be soft but good for a sandwich.


b166er's picture

I think I like the suspense of making the bread just as much as eating it. "OMG, is it going to turn out!!!!" The endless tragedy/comedy dramas in my kitchen are EPIC!!! Because of this, I tend to give away one of my loaves to a friend or family member. This way, I get to bake more.

Another trick I've used is to pinch off 800g's of dough for 2 pizza crusts for a single dinner (and leftover lunch) for my GF and I. That gives you enough dough for two small boules (or one large one I guess). I like a high crust to crumb ratio, so I opt for 2 smalls. I've done 600g for focaccia as well. I also plan meals that call for more bread. Such as grilled cheese, french toast, fancy little toasts with fancy little toppings. Kind of like what Tartine did with their "Days old Bread" chapter.

In the end, I just eat more bread. To combat this influx, I eat more veggies too and demand more exercise. So, I end up being a little healthier and happier so it all works out.


Grumio's picture

I live alone, and seem to like making bread more than eating it - actually quit baking for a while because I got so annoyed with wasting food - and what worked for me was to quit making loaves. Now I make focaccia, and as soon as it's fully cool I cut it into serving pieces, put 'em all in a zip-lock bag & freeze them. The nice thing about that is that it thaws so quickly.

My other strategy is to make a kilo of dough, cut it into quarters, & refrigerate those in oiled tupperware containers. Pizza, a couple of rolls, put two back together for a small boule, I've even tweaked them into something like naan.


goldbread's picture

Hi all. I followed the advice in this old-ish thread. I baked 2 boules the other day and froze one by wrapping it in plastic wrap, then putting it in a ziploc bag. The question is, and there were some differences of opinion here, how to best thaw the frozen bread. One person said they thaw it still in the plastic wrap and another said they unwrap it to thaw. My question is, which way works best? I would assume keeping the bread wrapped will retain more water.

Any thoughts?

Danni3ll3's picture

The bread loses moisture if you thaw it unwrapped. Then it dries out that much faster. 

goldbread's picture

Much appreciated.