How to Store Homemade Bread
Congratulations on making your own bread! One of the many benefits of making your own is that there are no preservatives, which is great if you like fresh food with no chemicals, but unfortunately the shelf life is shortened. Fortunately there are some options for storing your treasure so you can actually keep it around longer than a day or two.
Bread Box. This is simply a closed container that allows a little air circulation, but keeps insects and dust out. In the ’50s and ’60s, almost every kitchen had a bread box, because bread that has no preservatives does not do well in the refrigerator. The bread dries out because the cold causes the because the starch molecules to crystallize. You can still use a bread box in your modern kitchen: either find one at a consignment shop, or purchase a new one to match your décor. Make sure it’s big enough for your loaves!
Plastic, either as a wrap or a bag, does not allow for the passage of air and maintains the bread at a soft texture, therefore the loaf inside does not dry out. This is okay for softer breads such as sandwich bread but does not work well for sourdough or other crusty breads. It will make the bread soggy from the trace amounts of moisture that collect inside the bag. Plastic is most likely not the best choice for homemade bread storage.
Paper is a cost-effective simple choice. We recommend wrapping the bread in a linen or cotton tea towel first, then placing it in a bag. This will keep it out of the dry air, and allows for air circulation.
Ceramic is optimal because of its ability to breathe, yet a good-sized container often takes up precious counter space and can get a bit pricey to purchase.
Cloth. A favorite choice for nice aesthetics and regular use is a linen cloth bag. It doesn’t take up much room, is fairly cost-effective, and looks pretty on your counter. If you like different sizes, it’s fairly easy to make one of your own.
Freezer. If you find that you will not eat the loaf in a day or two, the freezer works well for longer-term storage. We suggest this procedure: cool the bread completely, then slice it. Wrap the loaf in plastic or zipper bags and place in the freezer. Take out slices as needed and to bring to room temperature or toast.
If in fact your bread does go stale, there are many recipe options to try: seasoned baked croutons, bruchetta points, bread crumbs, or cube it and use in recipes such as bread pudding or a strata. Click here for some other creative ideas!
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