Bread is a staple food in many cultures and households, but keeping it fresh can be challenging. Homemade bread tastes best on the day it’s baked, but if you can’t eat it all, store it right to keep it fresh until you’re ready to eat it. Nobody likes stale or mouldy bread, but with the right storage and handling, you can keep your bread fresh for several days. Storing bread properly can help maintain its texture and flavour, preventing it from losing moisture or becoming too dry or soggy. There are several ways to store bread, from keeping it on the counter to freezing it. This article will explore the best ways to store bread and keep it fresh for longer. Whether you prefer store-bought or homemade bread, these tips and tricks can help you preserve its quality and taste to enjoy it anytime and anywhere.
Make sure the bread has completely cooled before storing it
If you store hot or warm bread, it will create moisture, making the bread wet and mouldy quickly. To avoid this, wait for the bread’s internal temperature to cool to 35°C/95°F before storing it. This will usually take around 2-3 hours at average room temperature.
How do you store homemade bread?
Never store bread in the refrigerator
People often make the mistake of putting bread in the fridge. The refrigerator may seem like a good place to keep bread fresh, but it has the opposite effect. Bread will become dry and stale about six times faster in the fridge than if you kept it in a plastic bag on your counter. Mould may not grow quickly, but the bread will not taste good.
How long does homemade bread last?
Fresh homemade bread tastes best the day it is made. After 3 days, it may dry, but it can last for 3 to 5 days with proper storage in a place that protects it from air, mould, and insects.
Why does store-bought bread last longer?
Homemade bread is better than store-bought bread because it has no preservatives. But, because it doesn’t have preservatives, it can become dry and stale quickly and won’t last as long as store-bought bread.
Why is homemade bread better than store-bought bread ?
Making your bread at home has many benefits, including good health. Avoid buying it at the store if you want to eat nutritious bread. Even bakery bread is less healthy than homemade bread. Homemade bread is better for you because it has no artificial ingredients. You can customize the ingredients to your liking by adding, removing, or substituting them. Also, your family will love the taste of homemade bread. But homemade bread without preservatives can go bad faster than store-bought bread.
The smart solution is to take the best approach when storing the bread for a few days or weeks.
What causes homemade bread to go bad faster?
Bread lasts longer if stored at room temperature.
Heat and light can cause bread to go bad faster, while high humidity fuels fungal growth. Gluten-free bread is more likely to mould, and dough containing eggs and milk is easily perishable. Before storage, avoid adding butter, sugar, or icing to bread or muffins. Do not store hot bread in a sealed container, such as a bread box, as moisture can build up and cause mould. Tie off the plastic bag when storing bread, as leaving it open will shorten its shelf life. Do not store bread on the top of the fridge or in a paper wrapper, as it can dry out faster.
How can you naturally extend the life of your homemade bread?
Can homemade bread stay soft and moist like store-bought bread for many days? Commercial bakers use something to keep their bread fresh – do we need to use something similar in homemade bread?
Adding salt to homemade bread will help kill bacteria and mould, but it can also change the texture and taste. If there is more fat in the bread, it can stay fresh longer as fat acts as a preservative. French bread becomes stale quickly, while whole-grain bread remains fresh for a long time. However, making homemade bread as shelf-stable as commercial bread can be challenging. But you can try a few things to ensure your homemade bread stays fresh longer. Enclosing a celery stalk inside the bag in a humid environment can help keep the bread fresh.
Tips to help to keep your bread fresh more successfully
It is better to store the bread in a cool, dark place
Airtight plastic container or resealable bag
After the bread is no longer hot, put it in something closed like a bread box or plastic bag. This won’t stop mould from growing but will keep the bread softer for longer. The plastic will trap moisture in the bread. However, if you want to store French bread, don’t use plastic because it will soften the crust. Use a cloth bag instead.
Always ensure that the bread box is clean
To keep your bread fresh and tasty for a few days, wrap it in a cotton or linen towel and put it in a bread box. Bread boxes are better than other storage methods because they are slightly cooler and block out light. A good bread box should allow air to circulate, be sturdy, and have a tight lid. However, bread boxes are not for decoration and should not be kept in direct sunlight or heat. They need a cooler, darker, and less humid location to keep your bread fresh. If you use a bread box, find an appropriate place, like a separate cupboard or cabinet in another room. Do not put dried-out bread in the bread box because it won’t help.
Keep the bread box free of crumbs and dirt to prevent the spread of food rot. If your bread is getting mouldy quickly, you may have mould spores in the box, especially if it’s made of wood. To solve this problem, clean and disinfect the box, let it dry, and use it again. Alternatively, you can replace the box with a new, clean one.
A paper bag is NOT a good option
Some people use paper bags to store bread, but this is not a good idea. When you put bread in a paper bag, the air gets inside the bag, making the bread dry and stale if you don’t eat it immediately. You can use a paper bag if you also have a bread box, but a paper bag by itself will not keep your bread fresh. If you want your bread to be soft instead of dry, you should not store it in a paper bag. There are better ways to keep your bread fresh and tasty.
Storing bread in a warm place
In a plastic bag
Don’t keep bread in a plastic bag in warm places (higher than average room temperature of 20-22°C/68-72°F). This creates mould if the bread has not yet vented the excess moisture before being put in a bag. Higher temperatures make the problem worse.
In a paper (or cloth) bag
If you put bread in a paper or cloth bag and seal it, it can stay fresh for up to 12 hours in a warm place. The warm place should be around 38°C/100°F, but don’t leave the bread exposed to the air at that temperature, or it will dry out, and bacteria will grow. It has to be sealed. Don’t put the bread in a warm oven, either. You can store the bread in the same warm place where you let the dough rise, but make sure it’s protected from bacteria and mould in the air.
Can you store bread in a warming drawer?
Imagine you have made dinner rolls or French bread and want to keep them warm before dinner. It’s tricky to keep it in the right texture. You need to place the bread in a warming oven drawer at around 50-60°C/110-120°F and cover it with paper or cloth so it stays moist. It’s best to do this right after it’s baked when it’s still cooling. Then you can bring it to the dinner table just before serving.
Storing bread at a colder temperature
If it’s cold, cover your bread well, or it might dry out quickly. This happens faster in temperatures below room temperature (20-22°C/68-72°F). The bread might also become stiff and less fresh in cold temperatures.
Again, Never store your bread in the refrigerator
Storing bread in the fridge is not a good idea. It may seem like a good way to keep it fresh for a longer time by stopping bacteria growth, but the bread will get stale quickly because of the cold. You can still eat the bread stored in the fridge, but it will not be good for sandwiches. You can freeze the bread or store it in a cool and dry place at room temperature to keep it fresh for longer. So, NEVER put bread in the fridge to extend its life.
This article is part of “How to bake awesome bread”
I hope my easy tips will give you the confidence to step into the kitchen and prepare delicious meals to eat with a handful of close friends.
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