Bread is one of the staple foods that almost no household can skip for so long. Sometimes, it’s for quick breakfasts, sandwiches for lunch, toast for hangouts and gatherings, and so much more.
Unfortunately, bread is also one of the food items that spoil easily and fast if not properly stored.
If you are a bread lover, then you should love fresh bread. The softness and sweet, melting taste that comes with fresh bread are not one to be traded for anything.
This is why as a bread lover, bread maker, or simply a bread eater, you should know the best methods to keep your bread fresh.
When bread becomes hard and dry, it is very unpleasant to eat, how much more when it gets moldy and becomes unhealthy as well.
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What Makes Bread Go Stale
The simple and major reason why bread gets stale is the loss of moisture. Here is what the process looks like from the creation of the bread to the point of staleness.
Bread contains flour, which in turn contains starch molecules. These molecules are crystalline, that is, they have a structure and are organized.
However, when water is mixed with the flour to achieve that fluffiness we all enjoy, it causes a complete scattering of the structure formed.
Now, after the bread is ready and begins to cool down, the water level in the starch continues to decline making these molecules rearrange themselves in another structured state, even though they cannot return to their initial structure (as flour or dough).
This makes the bread loaf also become crystalline and that is when you notice your bread getting dry, hard, and stale. This is just a summary but you can get more details on how bread becomes stale.
Different Methods of Keeping Bread Fresh
There are so many ways to ensure that your bread stays fresh. One of the common ways is through a bread box. However, some people do not like breadboxes for different reasons.
For some, it’s because of the space it occupies, for others, the preservation period of bread boxes is not sufficient or maybe you buy bread that has sufficient preservatives in it already so you do not see the point.
However, bread boxes have their advantages and there’s a wide range of options to choose from if you decide to try it out.
Gladly, bread boxes are not the only option for keeping bread fresh. There are many other options, some more advisable than others, and some more suitable to certain bread types than others.
Here are how to keep bread fresh without a bread box:
Freezing your bread is one of the best options for keeping your bread fresh, especially for a very long period. Freezing your bread can make it last for up to 2-3 months while retaining the flavor, and up to 6 months although it would not be as flavored anymore.
Before freezing your bread, you can cut it up into slices, and then wrap it in a plastic bag or aluminum foil.
Cutting your bread into slices before freezing helps to easily bring it out and toast or thaw before eating.
You can also mark and date your bread loaves before putting them in the freezer so that you take out the oldest first. If you are storing homemade bread, remember to allow it to cool down completely before putting it inside your freezer.
2. Plastic Bags and Aluminum Foil
Plastic bags or aluminum foil are also very great options to preserve bread. This method is even more advisable for keeping homemade bread fresh.
You can make use of Ziploc bags to keep your bread; all you need is to make sure that you squeeze out all the oxygen in it. After doing this, you can keep your bread in your drawer, on your counter, or in other closed spaces.
3. Airtight Containers
Making use of containers to keep bread fresh is an easy and non-costly option. All you need is to make sure that your containers are airtight and stored at room temperature.
Using this method will preserve the taste and freshness of your bread. Your containers must keep air away from the bread because that is when the growth of molds will be prevented.
Airtight containers can help store your bread for up to 3 days while retaining the taste and flavor of your bread.
4. Cloth Bread Bag
Cloth bread bags are a common option for keeping bread fresh and are also very cost-effective.
These bags reduces the exposure of your bread to air and can store your bread for 2-3 days; after this, the bread might begin to get dry, depending on the temperature or humidity in the room.
When selecting your bread bag, you should check for those that have drawstrings because they hold air in better.
5. Paper Bags
Making use of paper bags to store your bread can also keep it fresh. This is why many stores use paper bags to sell bread. To use this method effectively, after placing your bread in a paper bag, you can put the bag inside another plastic bag.
Doing this will aid air circulation, but not too much that it affects the bread negatively. The only issue that arises with paper bags is that they can tear easily, especially when you open and close frequently or if you have kids that might not be very careful in handling the bags.
However, it is still a good way to keep your bread fresh for a couple of days.
6. Don’t Refrigerate
Yes, freezing is a good option for storing bread, but refrigerating? Not so much. Refrigerating bread makes it stale faster because while it might not seem like it, the fridge is a dry environment and hence, hostile for bread.
Within a day of storing in your refrigerator, the bread may begin to get stale which is why it is best to avoid this method.
These methods are not exhaustive, that is, your bread being fresh is not restricted to these five.
Now that you know how to keep bread fresh without a bread box, you can store your bread longer while retaining your bread’s flavor, and with the method that works for you best.