You’re whipping up so much homemade sourdough, you’re basically running a bakery out of your kitchen now. But with all that bread on your hands, do you know how to make it last as long as possible? The way you store your bread has a big influence on how long it will stay soft and delicious, and the best place for your loaves might come as a surprise. How to keep bread fresh? Store it in your microwave. Allow us to explain.
Where should you store bread?
The enemy of any kind of bread, homemade or store-bought, is air. That’s because it gradually absorbs the moisture that keeps bread soft, fluffy and appealing to eat. So the best place to store bread is away from air, wrapped tightly or stashed in a sealed container. Back in the day, this was accomplished with a bread box, but most people don’t have bread boxes anymore (or even the counter space to store them). A microwave does a good job of replicating the bread box, keeping air out and maintaining a constant temperature and humidity level.
Why should you not refrigerate bread?
The refrigerator makes fresh food last longer, so why not keep bread in there? Not so fast, friend: This can actually make your bread go stale even faster. The cool temperatures speed up a natural molecular process that causes starch molecules in the bread to harden, and leaves you with a crunchy, dry loaf. Room temperature is better, but keep in mind that too much moisture in the air can leave that bread susceptible to mold.
One caveat? Store-bought bread can usually be kept in the fridge without much change in texture. That’s because it contains preservative ingredients that keep it fresher for longer. (Whether that’s a good or bad thing, we’re not so sure.)
Can you freeze bread to keep it fresh?
Yes! The freezer is a great place to store bread for long periods of time, because the chilly temperatures freeze the structure of the bread like a time machine. Just make sure to wrap it tightly, ideally in a layer of plastic wrap and a layer of foil to preserve moisture and prevent freezer burn. When you want to eat it, you can thaw it at room temperature for a few hours or gently rewarm it in your oven on a low temperature.
How long will homemade bread last?
Because your delicious, homemade artisan loaves are made without preservatives or mystery chemicals, they’re really best consumed within a day or two after they’re made. But we’ve be known to enjoy our homemade bread for up to a week—just give it a quick toast and slather on the butter.