When was the last time you had to toss out a seemingly brand -new loaf of bread due to poor taste or mold?
Go ahead, raise those hands. I’ll wait.
If you are like me, the answer is more recent than you’d care to admit. It always makes me feel doubly wasteful when it happens, because its both money AND food wasted. Not a great feeling, in my book.
Short of turning it all into croutons, what can be done?
I did a little digging into the subject, and thought I’d share a few crusty nuggets of truth around the best way to store your bread for maximum freshness.
Unfortunately, your bread is going stale from the MOMENT it exits the oven.
Sad, but true.
This is due to a whole host of chemical & physical processes that begin as the bread starts to cool. The starches begin to crystallize in a process called retrogradation. As it ages, the gelatinised starch that initially binds with water during the baking process starts to release the bound water again. This moisture rises to the surface of the crust where it evaporates, leading to changes in the bread’s weight and flavor. And your fresh bread is now feeling a little… crunchy.
Also worthy of note- wheat breads tend to stale faster than rye breads, and breads made with light, refined flour will age faster than those made with dark, coarse or whole grain flours. With this in mind…
Unless frozen, bread does NOT store well at low temperatures. For all of you out there storing your bread in the refrigerator, you are speeding up the stale-ization process. The combination of cool and circulating air found in your ‘fridge actually makes that retrogradation process we just discussed happen even more quickly. One positive- your ‘fridge will stave off the process of mold, so if you are only using your bread for the occasional piece of toast or PB& J sammie, you may be fine with keeping your bread refrigerated.
OK, so this image is silly, but you get the idea, right?
Bread FREEZES very well. If you want to store your bread for an extended period, freezing is definitely the recommended option. Frozen bread keeps well for several weeks. For the best results when you’re freezing fresh bread, ensure that you get it down to below 0 Fahrenheit as quickly as possible. A couple of helpful hints: if your bread is sliced before freezing, it will thaw much more quickly than if it is unsliced and, for best flavor when you want to use it, thaw it at room temperature (preferably overnight). Oh, and also, store bought bread typically freezes well in the packaging it comes in.
Need a bread bin of your own? You can get the one pictured above (comes as you see it or in white) here!
The best way to store fresh bread for quick use and maximum freshness is in a good, old fashioned ventilated bread bin.
Yep, its true.
The key reason that you find bread bins in the market are NOT air tight is that you must allow for air circulation to prevent premature mold from forming. You might even consider placing wood or plastic slats in the bottom of your bread bin to increase air circulation, reduce moisture & prevent mold. Regular cleaning of your bin with vinegar and water (to remove bread crumbs, which lead to increased mold) is encouraged.
If you are looking for the perfect bread bin for this purpose, might I suggest you click here to take a closer look at ours.
So, there you have it! Give a bread bin a try – and let us know what you think of the results!