The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Storage of whole grain loaves

sheep1's picture

Storage of whole grain loaves

What is your favorite way to store whole grain loaves?

I've been trying various methods and haven't quite come up with the best way yet...

I mostly have been following Peter Reinhart's pre-ferment techniques in his Whole Grain Bread book, and only use whole grain flours, water, salt, yeast, oil and sometimes (or not) a little honey.

The problem is the bread tastes and has a nice texture the first day but the second day, the bread has to be heated to make a nice impression- on the second day, the crust is hard and dried out (but not like the day before, a crusty crust) and the inside is not as moist.  I've made many loaves that "make good toast".

The whole grain bread I buy by local bakers (San Francisco area) have a good flavor and seem to last a few days in just plain paper bags (except for the cut end getting a little dried out).  

I've taken one of the bags from a bakery that uses a sort of waxed paper bag, and tried using that for my loaves, it helps, but not as much as I'd like.  I've tried plastic, but the crust gets too soft the next day, although the inside stays moist. 

On another note, is my problem not storage, but not getting a good crust in the oven?  I've been using a pizza stone with a water container for steam.  The crusts are okay, but don't look like the bread I've been buying nor in the photos I see here.  I'm thinking I need a cloche...


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

inside a plastic one.  Keeping things loose inside.  If you find the bread getting too moist, open the plastic bag or only use it at night.

rgconner's picture

intended for veggies. They breath just a little and keep the bread soft, with a crust that crisps up nicely in the toaster.

 Local humidity plays a big part. The humidity here is nonexistent, usually 20 to 30%. So brad left out gets dry on the cut end in half a day.

Jon OBrien's picture
Jon OBrien

I've yet to find a way to keep bread crusty for long. I suspect it's just not possible to manage it for more than about 12-18 hours.

I've resigned myself to being content with finding something which keeps loaves in an edible condition for a reasonable amount of time. One of these: has just enough ventilation to stop the loaf going soggy and encouraging mould growth but not enough to make it dry out and the crust to go hard. Being able to reduce the volume of air inside, up to a point, helps with that. The 'slicing guide' is pretty useless though, in my opinion. Especially if you don't have a non-slip surface to use it on as it just slips all over the place while you're trying to use it.


which helps to keep a loaf moist, without creating an atmosphere which is moist enough to encourage mould to grow but not so dry as to make the crust go hard.

Edo Bread's picture
Edo Bread

I have great success with these: In my climate the hold just enough moisture and keep my bread perfect. I have a bunch of them.

Jon OBrien's picture
Jon OBrien

Your comment anent climate seems to be apposite.

Looking to see if the bags are available in the UK (if they are, they're not being very well promoted) I came across this review: "I had high hopes for this bamboo bread bag....but was so disappointed. Live in the tropics...maybe it will work in another climate...".

According to this site: the average humidity in your part of the world is lower than here, although higher than I'd expected, so perhaps that's why the bags aren't on general sale in the UK. Also, aircon is quite rare in UK houses as, although it can be quite humid here, it's not usually uncomfortably hot for extended periods. I believe it's common in the US. Do you have aircon in your house?

Boulder climate:

Farnborough, UK (the closest weather station to where I live):

barryvabeach's picture

Edo Bread,  do you find that your bread lasts much longer in a bamboo bag?  If so, any idea how long - an extra day or so? 

sheep1's picture

Update:  Sourdough.

Within the past 2 weeks, I've switched to whole grain sourdough baking.  Much to my surprise, the loaves are lasting longer out at room temp than when I was baking with the same flours, same methods but using commercial yeast.

I've read before that sourdough loaves last longer, but was a bit skeptical of this claim.

One other tweak that might be helping is that I've now been baking longer to get a browner crust.

It takes two of us about 3-4 days to eat a 1lb. loaf of bread- the past couple of loaves I've made have been stored at room temp with just a piece of aluminum foil covering the cut end.  I am so surprised at the quality of the bread just doing this- the inside is moist, and the outside is a nice crust, not as "crusty" as the first day, but good enough for me.

Thanks for all the suggestions here!