When it comes to storing bread, refrigeration is the worst option. In fact, bread ages faster in the refrigerator than at room temperature. The best way to keep it is to keep it for up to two days at room temperature, then pack and freeze it for long-term storage. That way, when it's thawed and heated, it will look fresh again.
Step 1. Wrap the bread in plastic film or aluminum foil
These types of packaging will retain the bread's natural moisture, preventing it from drying out and hardening. If the bread is in a paper package, discard the package and wrap it in plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
- If the bread is cut and processed, it is possible to keep it in the original plastic packaging. Manufacturers of this type of bread recommend leaving it in this package to retain moisture.
- Some people leave the whole homemade bread wrapped in paper, or even unwrapped on the table with the cut side facing down. This keeps the outer crust crunchy, but exposed to air, the bread will age in a few hours.
Step 2. Keep bread at room temperature for up to two days
It should be kept at a temperature of around 20°C, away from direct sunlight and in a cool, dry place, such as a pantry or bread box.
If your house is too damp, bread can mold quickly at room temperature. If that's the case, you might want to refrigerate it directly after eating, while it's still fresh
Step 3. Freeze excess bread
If there is more bread than necessary, before it goes bad in a few days, the best way to preserve it is to freeze it. That way, the temperature drops enough to prevent the starch in the bread from recrystallizing and spoiling.
- Try to store the bread in plastic freezer bags or thick aluminum foil, as ordinary aluminum foil is not suitable for freezing.
- Label and note the date to prevent the bread from becoming a mysterious package.
- Consider slicing bread before freezing it. That way you won't have to slice it while it's still frozen; also, it is usually difficult to slice it after thawing it.
Step 4. Don't put bread in the fridge
Scientific studies show that this takes away moisture and ages the bread three times faster than it would at room temperature. This is due to a process known as "retrogradation" where starch molecules simply crystallize and the bread hardens.
Step 5. Thaw the bread
If it is frozen, let it thaw at room temperature, unwrap it and set it aside. If desired, you can toast it in the oven or in the toaster for a few minutes (no more than five) to restore the crispness. Know that to return the crispness it is good to reheat it only once, after that you will simply be reheating stale bread.
- Some people believe that it is important to keep the lid on the bread crust to help retain moisture.
- If you've bought freshly baked bread, or baked your own, and chose to put it in a plastic bag, wait for it to cool. If the bread retains any heat, it will become soggy. It's okay to let it cool on the table for a few hours before packing it.
- Breads with oil or fat in the composition can be preserved longer; for example, those made with olive oil, eggs, butter, etc.