Raise your hand if you've made homemade bread within the last month. Keep your hand up if you were able to eat it all before it got stale. If you are wondering, my hand went down. While I love freshly baked bread, it's nearly impossible to eat the whole loaf (or two!) before it goes stale. So how do you store homemade bread to keep it fresh longer than a day or two?
How to Store Homemade Bread
Because homemade bread contains no preservatives or additives, its shelf life is short. The best way to keep fresh bread crusty on the outside and soft in the middle is to either store in a paper bag (think a brown bag) or in a bread box. Skip the plastic bag or plastic wrap when storing bread, especially a loaf of bread like a baguette. Even if it helps the bread last, the plastic will turn the once crusty bread soft.
Known as a common kitchen item before sandwich bread was commercially made, the bread box is a wood or metal box big enough to fit one or two loaves of bread. The science behind it: the bread box keeps the bread at room temperature, allows air circulation to prevent mold, and a lid tight enough to prevent pests like flies and mice from getting slices of bread. Plus, it stays crispy. It was more than just a decor item on the kitchen countertop.
In a breadbox, your bread will last for a couple of days to about a week at peak freshness. If you made way too much bread to finish in a week or so, you can always freeze bread for long-term storage in an airtight plastic bag or freezer bag. However, freezing bread will affect its texture, so if you want that perfect crunchy-soft texture, stick to the bread box.
Today there are many different designs of bread storage containers that are sure to keep your homemade sourdough bread fresh.
My Bread is Stale, Now What?
So you have stale bread? Don't throw the bread out. Instead, cut it into cubes and make croutons, toast it in the toaster, or use it to make bread crumbs. Recently I took my stale bread and made it into French Toast. When life gives you stale bread, make use of stale bread recipes, like these Panzanella recipes.
This post was originally published on April 10, 2020.