The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Keeping bread/Storage

Cob's picture

Keeping bread/Storage

Okay, I am always faced with the dilemma of how to store bread.

In plastic bags: Sweet breads, non-crusty things. Cut and uncut. Will soften, but that's usually the plan.

In perforated/paper bags: Crusty breads, anything to be refreshed in the oven, left entire.

But what about crusty breads if they're cut with exposed crumb?

My problem concerns fat-free, rustic breads whose crumb quickly hardens and stales. I don't enjoy their softened crust and prefer to refresh them quickly in the oven, but when they're cut, how do you store them? Especially those SD's that keep a week.

Is it a scrilege to add fat to SD's? That's the only way my bread can keep for days. I don't know another way to keep the crumb soft for days in a paper bag. Or do you cut away the exposed part? (Even then, I can find the inner crumb quite staled).


meirp's picture

Everything you wrote is true. For French-style breads either eat the bread faster, invite friends and family to eat the bread faster, or bake smaller loaves and keep unused ones in freezer until you're ready to unfrost, recondition in oven on low temp. for 10 minutes and eat them. I don't think it's sacrilege to add oil/fat, but then it won't be pure French-style with that amazing texture. You can still make great SD loaves with added fat, including with crispy crust; however, once again to mantain that crust, I find paper bags to be the best.


BobS's picture

I often slice, then freeze, my loaves.  We thaw slices in the toaster as we need them.  You can also make lunchtime sandwich with two frozen slices; by lunchtime the bread will be thawed and the filling kept cool. 

Windischgirl's picture

Cob, are you storing the breads standing up, cut-side down on a cutting board or counter?  The staling comes from the cut surface being exposed to air; eliminate the air contact and the bread stays fresh.  A European relative taught me that trick--no bags needed (although you could slide a paper bag over the end of the bread if you like). 

If the end of the bread is a little stale, it still makes wonderful toast.  My heritage is from a culture that, if a piece of bread dropped on the floor, you had to kiss it in blessing...and then eat it--wheat was considered that precious.  I'm such a goof that way that I can't bear to throw bread out.  If all else fails it gets tossed into the yard to feed the birds.

Cob's picture

Are you Italien? Lol, I guess, for Catholics, bread is sacred.

Anyway, I love that idea to stand up bread on a cutting board but it's inconvenient since I've only the two, one for breadmaking, the other for general use.

dabrownman's picture

Pumpernickel's and hi % rye I slice thin before freezing wrapped tight in plastic wrap - about 8 1/4" slices per bundle skince there are only 2 of us. Most other SD breads I usually cut into quarters,  Slice one quarter for eating right away and freeze the other quarters wrapped in plastic wrap.  I just thaw them on the defrost cycle of the MW if in a hurry or let them thaw out on the counter.for slicing as needed.  SD is pretty good at not going stale but it is better frozen and thawed rather than 3 days my book.

isand66's picture

I wrap my breads with plastic wrap after they are completely cooled and I can usually get a rustic style SD bread to keep for about 1 week this way. 

Cob's picture


You're doing what I thought with 'SD's that keep'. I cannot see how SD's can keep without the curmb hardening in a paper bag!

Sjadad's picture

Cob - I also store SD loaves cut-side down on a wooden board. And since I rarely cut my breads so evenly that they rest completely flat on the board, I usually crimp a piece of aluminum foil over the cut-side first. This method keeps the exposed crumb from going stale, while allowing the crust to stay crisp. 

Hamelman is right when he says that SD bread changes/develops over time.  It's neither better nor worse two or three days out of the oven, just different. I enjoy experiencing it over the course of many days. By the fourth of fifth day, if it's around that long, it still makes wonderful toast. 

Janetcook's picture

I live in a dry climate and my SD loaves will stay fresh for up to a week, if they last that long, by simply being stored cut side down on a piece of wax paper in my bread box.  IY loaves will stale faster.


Cob's picture

Thanks everyone for the suggestions.

For people who freeze slices and part-loaves, you're doing what I am trying to avoid. 75% of my freezer is stuffed with bread that do not keep at RT or leftovers I cannot bear to throw. There's no room for freezing any more bread. And, yes, I bake daily......!

I just wonder how people store SD's that keep for ages. I'm sure they must just keep them any old how because people always talk about SD toast, breadcrumbs, crostini, croutons, etc. rarely ever consumed 'fresh'. I just want SD/bread to be eaten as it is, out of the bag. Paper or not!