You spent hours mixing, kneading, proofing and baking the perfect loaf of homemade bread. Unless you’re the kind of person who eats an entire loaf in one sitting, you want to store your bread to last. It would be a shame for all your efforts—more importantly, all of that crusty, chewy deliciousness—to go to waste. It’s time to learn how to store bread.
To prevent your loaf from going stale, we’re answering your biggest bread-baking questions here, from how to store bread to whether or not you can actually freeze it. Bookmark our ultimate bread-baking guide for future reference, too.
How long does homemade bread last?
Homemade bread has a much shorter shelf life than the pre-packaged sandwich loaf you buy at the store, mainly because it doesn’t contain chemicals or preservatives. How long it lasts will depend on how you store it, but according to our Test Kitchen, most homemade bread typically lasts for three to five days. After that, it starts to dry out or worse, get moldy. If your loaf has already seen better days, here’s how to fix stale bread.
How should homemade bread be stored?
First things first: if you’re putting your bread in the fridge, stop! That’s the fastest way to dry it out. As the cold air pulls moisture out of the bread, it will leave the loaf crumbly and brittle.
A better option is to simply place your homemade loaf in a plastic bag and seal it shut to trap in the moisture. However, you have to make sure there’s no condensation on the bread before you close the bag—mold loves that kind of environment. (Make sure to check this spot for mold.)
Unless your bread is 100% moisture-free before you go to store it, your best bet is to use a bread box. It creates the perfect humid yet breathable environment and keeps your bread crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.
Can you freeze homemade bread?
Yes, you can freeze bread (take it from someone who has at least three loaves in her freezer at all times). The secret is making sure your bread is completely cooled before freezing. That way it doesn’t get soggy when you thaw it. Wrap your loaf tightly in plastic wrap, followed by a layer of aluminum foil or freezer paper to keep it as fresh as possible. If you store it properly, your bread should last for up to six months in the freezer before it starts to lose flavor or texture.
Ready to make your own bread? Try our best homemade bread recipes, from delicious sourdough to no-knead loaves.