How to store fresh-baked bread?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “How to store fresh-baked bread?” and will discuss some tips to properly store the bread.

How to store fresh-baked bread?

Staling and microbial spoilage of bread are the two main reasons for the alarmingly high contribution of bakery products to food waste all over the world. Within the storage period of bread, several important changes contribute to the decreasing consumer acceptance of stored bread. These changes include physicochemical processes such as the crumb firming process, water migration within the crumb, crust and the environment, the loss of flavor and microbial spoilage (1).

Fresh-baked bread can be stored in many ways: bread can be stored in a bread box, bread can be wrapped in plastic or aluminum foil and bread can be stored by freezing it.

Best ways to store bread

Freeze the bread

One of the more efficient methods of slowing down the staling of bread is freezing and frozen storage. This method is an appropriate method for long-term storage of bread (e.g. 3-4 weeks). Freezing converts the water in the bread into a non active compound and this, along with the low temperature, retard microorganism growth and prevent chemical and enzymatic deterioration of bread. However, after defrosting the frozen bread, it can not retrieve all the qualities of the freshly baked bread. During frozen storage, there is a significant loss of moisture, which affects the texture negatively after defrosting of the bread (2).

The easiest approach to preserve fresh bread is to freeze it. This will keep the crusty outside and the soft inside as they were when you purchased it. Even warming a loaf of bread in an oven or toaster may help re-gelatinize the starches and bring the bread back to its original spring and chewiness. Freeze your bread after packing it tightly in a zip-top bag and squeezing out as much air as possible. Take it out of the oven and reheat it when you’re ready to eat it. Bread may be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.

A toasting tip: slice the bread before you freeze it, then drop the individual pieces into a toaster to thaw them.

Even if you don’t intend on eating the whole loaf in one sitting, it’s a good idea to divide the bread into many smaller pieces. A loaf of bread will only be harmed by defrosting and refreezing.

Use a Breadbox to Keep Your Bread Fresh.

This may not be the most efficient way to keep food fresh and moist, but the right breadbox may help you achieve the right balance between humidity and air circulation (which you need to maintain a crusty crust). It is preferable to utilize a big box in order to provide enough air circulation. Ceramic, bamboo, and enamelware are all good options, as well. Avoid overfilling the bread box, since this may cause it to become more humid. It’s best not to put bread in a paper bag and store it in the breadbox since this will merely ruin the crust.

In a study, the storage conditions for fresh bread were compared. Storage inside a bread box showed the second highest moisture loss throughout the storage time. The bread box reduced the free exchange of air but not to the same extent as a sealed plastic bag. This was further confirmed by the humidity inside this storage container, which was traced during the storage of the breads and was found to be rather high in bread boxes (89.0%). The rather high humidity can be attributed to limited air circulation and provoked the slow moisture loss of the stored breads (1).

Wrap Your Bread in Foil or Plastic

Keep your bread from turning stale by wrapping it in a plastic bag or foil, but be aware that trapped moisture may cause the crust to deteriorate. Bread may be toasted to reclaim some of the crust’s crunchiness.

Drying out is best prevented by the storage in a plastic bag. The plastic serves as an artificial barrier and hinders the air circulation with the surrounding atmosphere. The chosen plastic wrapping should have a low permeability for water and cause the establishment of an equilibrium between crumb, crust and air within the plastic bag. The storage temperature generally does not affect the moisture loss or the humidity in plastic bags. The humidity inside plastic bags ranges from 89.9% to 91.3% for room temperature and fridge temperature (1).

How to store bread?

Day 1 or Day 2 bread

The first day after baking, I put freshly made bread out in the open, totally uncovered, at room temperature. For at least a day, if not two days, the crust on newly made bread will retain its greatest texture.

The ideal approach is to leave your bread cut-side down on a cutting board exposed, especially if you want a crisp crust on your slices. To keep the inside from drying out, but not to cause the crust to become too soft, this method is recommended.

After baking, if I choose not to slice into the bread, I usually transfer the entire loaf to a big paper bag, fold over the sides and store it in an airtight container. Despite a less crisp crust, the paper bag’s porousness will enable air to flow while also preventing the bread from drying out too rapidly.

Although there are no severe changes in the bread texture, starch retrogradation and water migration, which are further accompanied by the evaporation of volatile components, occur within the first day of storage. However, there are still no signs of mold growth (1).

Day 3 and day 4 bread

For newly made bread, the process outlined above works well, but you’ll need to cover it for a few days after it’s cooked to prevent it from drying out and becoming stale or too hard to slice.

By the third day, a bread box or a big Ziploc bag are the best options for storage. Although this is not a perfect solution, bread (or firmly covering it) in this way will result in a softer crust because the moisture from the loaf is contained. Avoid this by gently toasting your bread.

To avoid the problem of too much moisture being retained, you may wrap your bread in natural beeswax (affiliate link), which is a beautiful and superior option.

However, on the 4th day of storage, molds may appear on the bread in the case of white bread, even when stored in a plastic bag or in a bread box. Spoilage of mixed-type sourdough bread occurs after 10 days. In general, Penicillium spp. are known to commonly dominate the microbial spoilage on bread under moderate climate conditions. The excessively humid atmosphere (89.9% rh) dramatically provoked the growth of molds (1). 

Day Five and above bread

Because you still haven’t eaten all of it. Then, if you don’t intend on eating the whole loaf of bread within a few days, I usually recommend freezing it. However, in the case of mixed-type sourdough bread, it is still safe to eat, thus mold spoilage occurs after 10 days of storage, even at room temperature (1).

Don’t ever refrigerate the bread

Your bread has no place in the refrigerator, the miracle food preserver of the twentieth century that keeps our celery crisp and our milk icy. Bread that is kept in the refrigerator may stale up to six times faster than bread that is kept out in the open. Assuming, of course, that you’re seeking to keep a commercial loaf of bread “fresh.” In this situation, storing the bread in the refrigerator is the best option to avoid mold and drying out. 

The exception is the storage using moisture barrier plastic bags, which are able to avoid stalling, independent of the storage temperature (1).

Other FAQs about Bread that you may be interested in.

How long is banana bread good for?

How to make bread in the kitchen aid mixer?

Can I make toast in a convection oven?

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the query, “How to store fresh-baked bread?” and discussed some tips to properly store the bread.

References

  1. Alpers, Thekla, et al. Impact of Storing Condition on Staling and Microbial Spoilage Behavior of Bread and Their Contribution to Prevent Food Waste. Foods, 2021, 10, 76.
  2. Majzoobi, Mahsa, Asgar Farahnaky, and Sh Agah. Properties and shelf-life of part-and full-baked flat bread (Barbari) at ambient and frozen storage. J Agric Sci Technol, 2011, 13, 1077-1090.

What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.