From French baguettes to Middle Eastern flatbreads, every country has a version of bread. It’s a staple food across the globe.
But for something belly-pleasing, bread has a short shelf life.
Thankfully, there are lots of clever ways to store them and keep them crusty and fresh for days and weeks. We’ve rounded up all here.
Before we get to all those fantastic bread storage ideas, here are some of the things you need to know about what works for bread, preservation-wise.
Bread Storage: Points to Keep in Mind
Bread has been around forever! Invented as early as 6000 BC by the Sumerians, bread has been integral to our history and culture. Naturally, we’ve figured out some dos and don’ts when it comes to storing the bread. Here they are:
Ideal Conditions: Bread lasts the longest if you place it in a dark, dry, and cool place away from sunlight. It also needs to breathe, especially if you live somewhere warm. If you seal it tight in a plastic bag and leave it on the counter, there’s a risk of it growing mold from the lack of airflow. Bread needs air, but not so much as to make it go crumbly and dry.
Sliced or Whole: How you slice the bread impacts the crispiness of the crust, the overall texture, and the flavor. If it’s pre-sliced, there isn’t much you can do, but in the case of whole loaves, you could slice it down in the middle and create two halves. Every time you want a slice, cut it in either half and press them back together to retain the moisture and freshness.
Fridge, Freezer, or Room Temperature: If you plan to consume the bread within a few days, you could store it at room temperature, anywhere between 60°F and 80°F. Colder than that, the bread will go dry and stale, and anything warmer and humid, it’ll become moldy. If you still haven’t managed to finish the loaf within a few days, just put it in the freezer inside an airtight bag.
Different Bread, Different Shelf Life
The ingredients used to make the dough play a vital role in bread’s longevity.
A loaf made with generous butter, oil, eggs, and sugar (think banana bread) will stay fresh and soft for longer because of the high fat and sugar content.
Meanwhile, a leaner baguette or sourdough will go stale more quickly.
A time-tested hack is to store a portion of home-baked bread in a breathable cloth bag made of linen and freeze the rest.
While consuming sourdough, carve it from the side to preserve the crust and keep the edge from drying out.
Where to Store Bread in the Kitchen: 10 Useful Bread Storage Ideas
Too airtight, and the bread goes moldy. Too much air and it dries out - storing bread sounds tricky, but there are quite a few places around you where you could place your bread, nice and safe, and consume it for days, weeks, and even months!
1. Store in a Breadbox
This is perhaps the first thing that comes to mind when you’re looking for the perfect place to store bread. A breadbox has been a time-tested method to make bread loaves and baked goods last longer. It’s dark and dry, with the right humidity and airflow to stop the bread from getting soggy or moldy.
There was a time when these reusable storage bins were either made of ceramic or clay. Nowadays, you can find them in a wide array of materials, including stainless steel, wood, and BPA-free plastic, to name a few. For our eco-conscious readers, we recommend high-quality bamboo as the ideal candidate for a long-lasting, planet-friendly breadbox.
2. Freeze It for Extended Shelf-Life
Freezing bread is a surefire way of preserving it for up to two to three months, provided you pick a suitable container. It’s also a good idea to slice the loaf or cut it into chunks and put waxed paper between each portion before tossing it in the freezer. This way, you won’t have to go through the trouble of defrosting the entire thing every time you want a couple of slices.
A popular freeze hack to preserve the crust and flavor is to wrap it in plastic or foil and then put it inside a Ziploc bag to keep all the air out.
3. Use the Original Wrapper
A fuss-free way to store bread is to just leave it in the original plastic wrapper, seal it tight, and pop it in the freezer. Not exactly eco-friendly, but it seems alright for a pre-wrapped store-bought loaf. In the case of home-baked or artisan bread, this option doesn’t cut it. It also won’t work if the original packaging is torn as the moisture will escape, and the bread will dry out and go stale.
4. Reusable Linen Bread Bags
Wondering how to store fresh buns? Say hello to one of the best and most plastic-free ways to keep your bread fresh for longer. In sustainability, linen bread bags tick all the boxes - biodegradable, durable, reusable, and washable.
The breathability of pure cotton paired with a drawstring closure mechanism provides an ideal storage environment for bread. These bags aren’t just designed to store bread at home. You can also take them along on your grocery runs. No hassle of transferring from the shopping bag to the container! Choose from an ultra-roomy loaf bag or baguette bag, depending on the type of bread you buy or bake. You can also find these linen bread bags on Amazon.
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5. Use Beeswax Wrap or Flour Sack Towels
The great thing about a beeswax wrap and flour sack towels is that it protects the bread while allowing it to breathe. This perfect balance of moisture and air circulation means your bread won’t soften, mold, or dry out. Besides being a fantastic alternative to single-use plastic cling wrap or aluminum foil, beeswax wraps also have natural antimicrobial properties, which shield the bread from contamination.
6. Leave it on the Kitchen Counter
If you live in a balmy, humid area, freezing the bread loaf is the smartest way to protect it from molding and prolonging its shelf life. But if you plan to polish it off within a few days, let it stay on the counter inside an airy cotton bag. For those who live in cold, dry places, it’s always good to store bread at room temperature. Using an airtight container will preserve the moisture in the bread and keep it from drying out too quickly.
7. Wrap them in Reusable Silicone Bags
Skip the single-use cling wrap and replace it with any of the plastic-free bread storage ideas above. If you want ultra-air-tight conditions while storing the bread in the freezer, seal the slices in reusable Ziploc bags. Be sure to squeeze out as much air before sealing it to avoid water crystals from forming all over the bread.
8. Invest in a Bread Drawer
Move over, bread box! The granddaddy of storage solutions is here! A bread drawer is a designated storage space in your kitchen cabinetry for bread loaves and baked goods. It’s dry, dark, and not to mention an aesthetically smart solution to your bread-storing woes.
While a bread box occupies a good chunk of counter space, a bread drawer can be set up in any corner. Don’t worry! You don’t have to rework your cabinetry to accommodate a bread drawer. With a few easy installs and a plastic cover, you can turn any spare drawer into a bread haven!
9. Store it in the Microwave
Have you been through a baking frenzy and have no place left to store your sourdoughs and loaves? You could store it in the oven or the microwave, when not in use, of course! Like a bread box, a microwave keeps the air out and doesn’t fluctuate in temperature and humidity, keeping your bread from going stale.
10. Store it in the Refrigerator
This one’s a bit controversial, but we’ll just lay out the facts and let you decide. A refrigerator provides constant temperature and humidity levels in contrast to the room temperature. At the same time, the cool and dry environment of the fridge can trigger the crystallization of the starch molecules and make the bread go stale faster. If you don’t have a better alternative, you could use the fridge, but only as a short-term solution.
“If though tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.” - Robot Browning
This quote by famous English poet Robert Browning beautifully captures the magic of freshly baked bread. We hope our list of bread storage ideas will make your loaf last longer with its crust in all its glory!