The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Stale bread

NewToBakingBread's picture

Stale bread

I'm on to 20th or so loaf of bread and I'm beginning to get some good results but there is still one problem that is present in all of my loaves of bread, no matter what ingredients go into them. They go stale after less than a day! I start a loaf in the morning and it's out of the oven by about 3pm. Fresh, it's beautiful, but the next morning, only good toasted. I've tried storing them in different conditions, in a plastic bag in the bread bin, in the fridge, everywhere! It is particularly noticeable with white bread; I make 3/4 whole grain and it is less noticeable because the crumb is denser. I've tried adding oil and butter and it makes no difference. Please help me.

cranbo's picture

What kind of recipe or formula are you using? What percentage of protein, fat or sugar does it contain? 

Protein, fat, sugar (milk, butter, oil, honey, sugar, etc) and mashed potatoes will increase life and reduce staling. Sourdoughs also stay fresher longer. 

Try incorporating more of any one of the above into your recipe, that should help; however, a lot depends on what your recipe/formula is, and the style of bread.

You can't expect a baguette to be fresh for more than a day,  it's just not built for it!

One more tip: try freezing your fresh baked bread, then toast. 



Vicious Babushka's picture
Vicious Babushka

Double wrap by putting in a tied plastic bag, then another ziploc bag, and put in the freezer. Squeeze out as much air as you can. I have found this can keep for up to three months. Freshen up by heating in the oven for about 10 minutes.

DavidEF's picture

You may try adding a little more of the enriching ingredients, and maybe several different kinds. You could use milk in place of water, add some butter or oil, add some sugar or honey, etc. all in the same loaf. Also, make sure you put the bread in a plastic container, if you want it to not dry out. Plastic bags are okay, too, but the better sealed it is, the less likely it will dry out. Artisan breads, like the baguette cranbo mentioned, are not meant to be stored in plastic, and are not meant to stay fresh more than a few hours. As far as freezing the bread, I didn't sense that your problem was with that long of a term of storage. Freezing may be an okay way of extending the life of the bread, but there are drawbacks. I would advise against using it for bread that you will be consuming within a week or less, because there are other ways of getting the bread to last that long.

If you haven't tried it yet, and your schedule permits, try long fermentation or at least a pre-ferment. Sourdough is practically always considered long fermented, but you don't have to use sourdough to get the benefits of long fermentation, which include better flavor, better nutritional value and longer shelf life. You can make a pre-ferment, such as a biga or poolish, or you can mix your dough as usual, but retard it in the fridge for 12 hours or more before doing the final rise and baking. You can use any of these methods with lean or enriched doughs, but lean doughs generally are considered to benefit more from it.

dsadowsk's picture

the chew of a partially stale loaf. Bread can be great in all its stages. Think of it like your children: adorable as babies, fascinating as they grow up, giving you pride as they become adults. (OK, so a loaf of bread won't sideswipe your tree on the way out of the garage, but you get the idea.)

BreadBro's picture

Definitely consider making bread with a sourdough starter if you feel like your breads are going stale too quickly. My miche, made with a wild yeast starter, stays moist for about a week before it starts to decline (that is, if it isn't eaten before then!). Sourdough breads also have the added benefit of improving in flavor as they sit. I find the sourness is most pronounced 2-3 days after baking.

dabrownman's picture

Sourdough is so popular.  I let mince sit for 24 hours to fully develop the flavor and then freeze it while keeping a quarter out of the loaf to eat over the next fe days at its peak.  Straight dough breads like baguettes only last a day and then one more for French toast and then it is crouton time.

Enriched breads are great to make the bread last longer but they aren't all that healthy either.  Sourdough will set you free..... from staling without all the enrichment's.