Storing Homemade Bread.



You’ve made that perfect loaf. It’s so delicious and soft and moist and you’d like to keep it that way. Here’s how.
First off, you will want to cool it completely. It can’t even be the least bit warm when you package it up or you will risk either making the surface of the bread wet or providing the perfect environment for mold to grow. So, the first order of business is to let the loaf (or muffins, or rolls, or whatever you have) cool at room temperature on a rack. Have fun keeping people from cutting into it during this time!!
Now, there are a few options when it comes to actually wrapping up your bread.
Paper
This is uncommon, but it can work. It deters mold growth, but long-term, your bread may dry out a little bit if it is cut into. It is also harder to continually open and effectively close a paper-wrapped loaf. But even taped-together wax paper or plastic-lined paper will work. It is a beautifully rustic and charming way to wrap bread. Also, with breads that are supposed to be crusty, a paper sack is the very best way to store them.
Foil
This is an option, but not a great one. It is only really effective when you first wrap the bread in a paper towel. It doesn’t allow for much breathing, and it can leave metallic stains on your bread’s crust. But it can work in a pinch, and it is easy to wrap and un-wrap bread that has been preserved in this manner.
Plastic
This is a very popular practice, and is very sustainable as a plastic bag can be rinsed out, dried, and used again. But it is still a good idea to still wrap even cool bread in a paper towel before sealing it up in a plastic bag or even in plastic wrap. Moisture control is the biggest concern of any bread wrapping procedure, and homemade bread is even a larger problem when it comes to wrapping with plastic. If you do store your bread in a plastic bag, be sure to press out all the air before sealing it and if you wrap it in plastic wrap, be sure that there is no room for air between the plastic and the crust of the bread. This way also may not be a good option for sourdough breads.
Breadboxes
A good old fashioned bread box is the best option, but may not be the smart option for a smaller budget. Also, you can’t store bread in a breadbox unwrapped for longer than one, maybe one and a half weeks. This is a great option for the busy house that consumes a lot of bread. Easy acess, and no soggy or excessively dry bread. You will have to choose a nice-quality breadbox that is a good candidate for unwrapped, homemade bread storage. This means it must seal well when the door is closed and be easily cleaned. Some breadboxes these days are merely pretty ways of storing store-bought loaves, and therefore do not have the characteristics that make a breadbox a good place for airtight bread storage. Ceramic breadboxes are said to be superior because they stay cool, breathe well and hold the perfect amount of moisture. Wooden and metal models will work, too, but pick a strategic location in your kitchen for your breadbox. Somewhere out of the direct sunlight, away from drafts, and away from other cooking smells and spills.
You can also freeze bread for long term storage, but again moisture control is key because you may end up with a very soggy loaf of defrosted bread if not enough attention is paid.
You can freeze a loaf of bread sliced or unsliced, very little difference has been found between the two practices. With both you will want to purchase high-quality freezer bags and press as much air out of the bag when you initially seal it and whenever you open and close the bag afterwards. With a sliced loaf you can defrost just how many slices of bread you think you will need and then seal and replace the remaining slices in the freezer. Defrost bread, loaves or slices, in the refrigerator.
So, in any practice of storing bread the highest concern is moisture. Wrapping the bread in a paper towel before sealing it away or merely placing a folded up paper towel in a bag or sack will help to absorb any excess moisture. If mold does develop in a small area, and it is white or green in color, you can just carefully cut it away with a small piece of the surrounding bread. Black molded bread should be tossed out immediately.

Hope this was helpful.
Until Next Time,
Tracy M.

3 comments:

  1. Very good information - thank you. Your loaf of bread has the prettiest heart in the center!

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  2. The best way I've found is to use this:

    http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/expandable-bread-keeper

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  3. I read this post last week & ran out of plastic bags yesterday, so I tried the paper. I just slipped the loaf into a brown lunch bag (tight fit), secured it w/ a clothespin & after surveying it, sprayed it w/ some cooking spray to prevent drying. We go through bread pretty quick, so I think we'll beat the elements.

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