Recently got into baking? You definitely need to learn how to store your freshly baked bread.
Homemade bread usually doesn’t have preservatives like the store-bought kind; hence, it is more susceptible to molds.
How to store homemade bread? Leave freshly baked bread to completely cool at room temperature before storing. Cover the cut side of the bread with aluminum foil or store it cut side down in a bread box. It will stay fresh at room temperature for about three days. Storing bread in the fridge causes it to become stale and dry. Transfer it to an airtight container, such as a sealable plastic bag, and freeze it instead.
How Do You Keep Homemade Bread Fresh?
To keep homemade bread fresh, consider the type of bread, the sliced and exposed surface, the type of material to use, and the storage temperature.
These factors can help keep a close watch on the quality of your bread as soon as you take it out of the oven.
If you can no longer keep bread fresh, think of different uses for the bread instead.
Type of Bread
Different baking methods and ingredients allow the creation of varying bread types.
If you would like to consider baking bread that can store better long term, choose sourdough bread.
Compared to ordinary loaf of bread, sourdough uses commercially available yeasts, which react with gluten to make the dough rise.
Sourdough bread has a longer shelf life than most store-bought bread without any preservatives.
This property is attributed to the fact that sourdough has a high acidity, creating an unfavorable environment for mold growth.
Sourdough bread stays soft also because of its acidity, which slows down starch retro-gradation.
When you cut your bread, you are exposing a more porous part of it that easily leaks moisture out.
Consider making slices from the middle outward, so you can press two halves back together and no open end is left exposed.
Storing the bread cut side down on a wooden cutting board is another way to store sliced bread at room temperature.
The choice of homemade bread storage is also very important.
Storing the bread in either plastic bags, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, paper bags, or pieces of cloth results in variable moisture retention outcomes.
Plastic and aluminum wrappers are beneficial for moisture retention. However, they can be quite disadvantageous for keeping the crust crunchy and crispy.
Wrapping the bread with these materials will inevitably soften both the interior and the crust.
Using paper bags and pieces of cloth can harden some types of bread.
Paper and cloth are both porous, allowing the flow of air and moisture in and out of the wrapping.
Another way of storing the bread is by putting them into rigid containers, such as a bread box or a breathable ceramic container.
Room temperature storage is the most basic storage instruction for most homemade bread recipes.
Since room temperature varies from place to place, consider an ideal room temperature range between 60- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit.
Warmer temperatures can make your bread become stale pretty quickly, while colder temperatures can cause your bread to dry out.
Also, consider the humidity that comes around these warmer and colder temperatures.
Too much humidity in the air encourages the growth of mold spores on the surface of your bread.
Other Uses of Bread
Stale bread does not need to go to waste.
If you can no longer commit your bread for long term storage, consider other uses for other recipes.
You can make French toast for a delightful afternoon snack or croutons and bread crumbs. Add croutons to salads and soups, and coat your deep-fry dishes with the bread crumbs.
Other recipes for stale and dry bread include Panzanella, bruschetta, bread pudding, breakfast strata, casse-croute, ribollita, and homemade crackers.
Steps on How to Store Homemade Bread
Follow these steps for keeping homemade bread fresh from the time you take it out of the oven until you have to repurpose it or throw it away.
Step 1: Cool It Down.
Storing the bread in sealed containers while it is still warm causes it to become damp.
Dampness and moisture cause rapid mold growth. You wouldn’t want your bread to start attracting fungi during its first day, would you?
Hence, let it sit in a cooling tray on the countertop until it’s completely cooled.
A little air will not cause it to dry out while it is still warm. Plus, it will give your bread its best consistency and prepare it for the long term.
Step 2: Protect the Bread.
You bake because you love bread, and you would eat it almost as soon as you take it out of the oven.
However, before you slice bread, think about giving it the protection it needs so that it stays fresh.
The denser, thicker crust reduces the escape of internal moisture that keeps the bread from becoming stale.
It also covers the bread and prevents unwanted dust and insects from getting into the soft parts.
When you slice bread, cut down the middle so that you can put the two cut sides together and there would be no exposed parts.
Step 3: Leave at Room Temperature.
Homemade bread stores better at room temperature. It goes stale and hardens up faster when you put it in the fridge.
Step 4: Freeze It or Find Another Use for it.
If you bake lots of bread for long term storage, it stays fresh better when stored as cut slices in airtight plastic bags in the freezer.
If you don’t like the idea of storing the bread in the freezer, it would be best to find another use for it instead.
Step 5. Throw It Away.
Since it is homemade bread, you won’t find any tags indicating the expiration date.
As soon as you see white spots, smell something bad, or taste something strange, throw the bread away.
With these indications, the bread has already gone bad.
How Long Can You Store Homemade Bread?
The shelf life of bread varies because of many factors.
The most accurate duration in which you can keep homemade bread at room temperature is about three to seven days.
Gluten-free bread has a higher moisture content, and, therefore, a shorter shelf life.
Homemade bread can last in the freezer for up to six months.
Can You Leave Freshly Baked Bread Out Overnight?
Yes, certainly. Bread can last more than two days at room temperature, so keeping the bread out overnight should be alright.
Consider leaving it in a place where there isn’t too much air circulation and humidity, and where you are sure that no insects can reach it.
Learning to store homemade bread is easier than learning to bake the bread.
There isn’t much to think about when trying to keep loaves of bread fresh longer.
It is always just about keeping them at room temperature and using the right materials.
Try using sourdough if you haven’t yet, so you can make longer-lasting homemade bread.