There is nothing like the taste of fresh bread, but there is a secret to perfecting this recipe. Fortunately, we’re okay with revealing the tips up our sleeves.
Fun fact: If your loaf is starting to get a little bit stale towards day five, pop it in the oven quickly to draw out some moisture and breathe some new life back into it. But before then, here are some tips on how to store your bread to make it last longer.
Does bread keep longer in the fridge?
It is quite a common misconception that popping your loaf in the fridge will make it last longer; it actually does the opposite. During the baking process, starch will absorb water and create that delicate texture we all love.
This process will slowly undo itself after baking, which is what causes bread to go stale in the first place. Putting it in the fridge is going to accelerate this reversal and cause your loaf to go stale faster.
Does putting a loaf in the freezer make it last longer?
While the fridge will make your bread go stale faster, freezing it will stop the process entirely. It will last up to three to six months, but the flavour will dull over time. A handy tip is not to microwave the bread to thaw it. Instead, let it sit at room temperature.
What ingredients make it last longer?
The obvious answer is preservatives, but not everyone wants to include these in their recipe. A loaf without preservatives will last about two to three days at room temperature, depending on climate.
Calcium propionate, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate are some of these ingredients, but if you want a more natural option to help prevent the bread from going bad, you can try lactic acid bacteria, which has anti-mould properties.
How to store your loaf
On the counter is the best place to store your bread if you intend to eat it within the week. If you keep the bag well sealed you can get up to four days of life, but the fridge will halve that. If you want to want to enjoy it gradually over time, it should be stored in the freezer. The tip is to store it in the least cold parts of the freezer, like in the door.
If you are storing bread on the counter, keep it out of direct sunlight and find a nice cool corner of the bench.
What container is best?
You want your container to be airtight to keep mould-creating nasties out, while still retaining some oxygen in the container so the bread can breathe. Tins and boxes are great options for this and look great on the bench. If you want to keep it in a bag, make sure it is paper-based, not plastic.
Banneton Man stocks natural linen bags and baking tools for bread that are designed to provide the perfect combination and keep your loaf fresher for longer. Oh, and did we mention they look great in any kitchen?