Everyone who baked bread at home knows that freshly baked bread is in a whole different league compared to the stuff from the grocery store.
Homemade bread smells amazing, with a crusty exterior and soft inside. Making your own saves money and makes for wonderful sandwiches and next-level toast.
Kneading bread is also a great way to destress. It’s no surprise that many people bake bread to relax and feel better. But what do you do when you’ve made 4 loaves and have lots that you need to store for a while?
Bread is notorious for going bad quickly-leave them in the fridge for a few days and you’ll find mold blooming in your lovingly baked bread. No matter what kind of bread you make, we’ll show you how to keep them fresh!
Types of Homemade Bread
There are different kinds of bread, and the ingredients and how it is made can determine the kind of bread you end up with. The method for storing homemade bread can also depend on what kind of bread you’re working with.
Yeasted breads are perhaps the most common kinds of bread out there. These breads can be kneaded or no-knead, depending on how much time and energy. This kind of bread gets its rise from the yeast and requires resting time for the dough which allows the yeast to multiply.
It also relies on fermentation, which gives the bread its tiny holes once it is baked. As a result, yeasted breads are light and airy with looser crumbs. White or whole-wheat sandwich bread, ciabatta, Challah, Ciabatta, and even pizza dough are some examples of commonly consumed yeasted breads.
This sort of bread has no yeast and gets its rise from ingredients like baking soda or baking powder. They have a much lower rise than yeasted breads and are denser and thicker. Irish soda bread, ‘emergency’ bread, and certain rustic breads have no yeast in them.
Moreover, flatbreads like pita, parathas, and rotis don’t have any rise at all as they have no yeast and are rolled out to thin round sheets. Banana and fruit bread are also examples of non-yeasted bread.
Sourdough bread is a slow-fermented bread made from a sourdough starter. This is a mixture of flour and water and is a live culture with lactic acid bacteria.
This culture ferments and gives the bread its rise, instead of yeast. Sourdough pieces of bread are known for their tangy taste and are seen as a healthier kind of bread as it is easy to digest.
How to Store Homemade Bread
Whether you made a batch of flatbread or whole loaves of whole wheat sandwich bread, knowing how to store fresh baked bread is the key to making sure you always have a supply of ready-to-consume slices.
This section of the article will look at the ways on how to keep homemade bread fresh. If you want to keep bread from molding, keep on reading!
Storing Yeasted Bread:
Here are some ways to store bread that get their rise from using yeast as a leavener.
At Room Temperature:
If you baked yeasted bread with crusty whole loaves, store them unwrapped at room temperature. You don’t need a special bread storage container; any secure box will do. If you have a plastic bread container, that’s great but don’t bother buying a separate one for your bread.
Once you slice your bread, store your bread in a paper or plastic bag at room temperature. You can find bread bags for homemade bread easily that aren’t expensive.
Similarly, soft-crust loaves should be placed in airtight plastic bags or tightly wrapped in plastic wrap or foil and stored at room temperature.
This is best for storing bread for a day or two, especially if you live in cooler places. If the weather is warm, store them in the fridge or freezer.
In the Fridge:
You can store yeasted breads in the fridge for a couple of days using the methods mentioned above. However, this can cause the bread to lose moisture and dry up. Also, your bread will get moldy after 4-5 days.
Should you refrigerate bread? Yes, but not for longer periods.
In the Freezer:
Freezing homemade bread is the best way to store fresh bread for weeks at a time, without losing flavor texture. First, wrap the loaf in plastic wrap or foil.
After that, place it in a self-sealing bag and put it in the freezer. Allow the partially unwrapped bread to thaw at room temperature, letting any condensation escape.
Slicing bread before freezing will allow you to take out a few pieces when needed reduces the thawing time since the slices can be separated easily. You can even use a defrosting tray for quicker thawing.
Once frozen, use the bread within 6-8 weeks of freezing as longer storage means some loss of flavor and softness.
Storing Non-Yeasted Bread:
You can store non-yeasted bread in the freezer or fridge like their yeasted counterparts. Here’s how to store fresh bread without having them go dry.
At Room Temperature:
Like yeasted breads, you can store non-yeasted bread in a cupboard or your pantry unwrapped. Whether you want to store soda, pita, or emergency bread, place them unwrapped in tightly sealed bread boxes. This will keep them soft for two days.
In the Fridge:
You should store breads like pita and other ‘drier’ bread in bread bags in the fridge for a couple of days. However, don’t store things like banana bread in the fridge as this will dry the bread out.
In the Freezer:
To keep non-yeasted fresh and soft for longer, wrap the bread tightly in cling film or plastic wrap. If your bread is sliced, wrap each slice separately. Then, place the loaf or slices in freezer bags before stacking them in your freezer.
How to Store Freshly Baked Bread
This is the best way to store fresh baked bread for a few days without freezing it.
- After pulling out from the oven, allow your bread to cool on the counter.
- Once the bread reaches room temperature, store the bread unwrapped in a breadbox.
- Do not wrap it in plastic wrap or paper bags as this can make your crust soggy.
- Place your breadbox in a cool and dry place, like a pantry shelf, and store for up to 3-4 days.
Slicing your bread from the ends before storage can dry it out. Instead, cut your loaf in half and slice the bread as required from the center, then place the cut ends together to prevent loss of moisture.
This method keeps your bread dry, soft, and tasting fresh without the need to store it in the fridge. It works well for both yeasted and non-yeasted bread and is the easiest and least fussy way to store your bread.
Storing Homemade Sourdough Bread
When storing sourdough bread outside at room temperature, it is best to use a cloth bag or wrap it in a tea towel, as this allows the bread to breathe. Keeping it in a cool place will slow down the appearance of mold, and will also keep the bread nice and moist.
It’s generally a bad idea to store this bread in the refrigerator as this will dry it out very quickly.
Instead, store your bread for longer in the freezer. Wrap it in some cling film tightly before placing it in a large freezer bag or Ziploc bag, and then put the bagged bread in the freezer.
If your bread seems hard or very dry after thawing, you can re-bake it. Spritz the load with a bit of water and place it in a preheated oven at 200C. For smaller loaves, bake for 30-40 minutes; and for bigger loaves bake for 40-50 minutes.
Using Stale or Old Bread
Toasting older bread is also a great way to make them taste fresh. You can also make a compound butter with herbs, aromatics, and spices toast the bread with the mix to make a lovely appetizer.
You can also repurpose stale bread in French toast and bread puddings. Convert them into croutons, stuffing, or toast them until crispy and grind them in a food processor to make DIY breadcrumbs.
Meatloaf, Panzanella (AKA Italian salad), and even soup thickeners are things you can utilize your unloved bread into. Last but not the least, you can always use hard bread as dog treats as your puppy will love it!
Frequently Asked Questions
Below you’ll find answers to questions we get asked the most about storing homemade bread.
01. What is the Best Place to Store Bread in the Kitchen?
You can store your bread in a box on the counter, in your pantry or kitchen cupboard, or any cool spot in a breadbox. For longer-term storage, keep your bread wrapped in plastic in the fridge or freezer.
02. How Long Does Homemade Sourdough Bread Last?
When kept at room temperature, sourdough breads stay soft and fresh for 4-5 days, depending on the temperature. You can also freeze your bread for around 6 weeks safely.
03. How Long Does Homemade Bread Stay Good for?
Homemade bread stays fresh for 3-4 days outside on the counter or in a cupboard. When kept in the fridge, your bread will stay good for an extra 3-5 days. To keep your bread fresh for even longer, keep it in the freezer.
04. How to Slice Homemade Bread to Prevent Tearing or Breaking?
Wait for the bread to cool completely and use a bread knife in a sawing motion (back and forth) to cut slices from a loaf of bread.
05. What is the Best Place to Store Homemade Bread to Prevent Drying?
If you plan on eating your bread over the next few days, it is best to store it at room temperature in a box or large and secure container. If you need to store it for more than 5 days, wrap it tightly in foil or plastic wrap, put it in some kind of secure bag, and keep it in the freezer.
06. How Do I Store Homemade Bread Without Plastic?
If you have some kind of bread that needs air circulation, don’t store it in plastic bags. Instead, use something like a cloth bag or wrap it in an old soft tea towel.
You can even use a clean pillowcase that you aren’t using. Then, place it in a casserole dish with a lid or Dutch oven and store it in the kitchen.
Baking your own bread is a great hobby, as it is calming and gives you fresh amazing-tasting bread. Homemade bread is also free from preservatives, which makes it a healthier choice. Once you know how to store homemade bread, you will have a supply of homemade bread forever.
Baked way too much bread? Wrap it up and toss it in the freezer and keep yourself fed for the next couple of weeks!