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Storing bread

j
Janet from Richmond Jul 3, 2007 05:50 AM

I'm not sure if this is the right board or not, but I have (what may be) a dumb question.

Like most of us, I prefer nice crusty bakery bread made fresh as opposed to standard loaf bread for everything from toast to sandwiches, to serving with pasta, etc.

The problem I have is if I don't use the bread that day, I have no idea how to store it properly for future use. I'd love to get a nice crusty loaf and have it on hand for several days of toast and sandwhiches.

  1. s
    sweetTooth Jul 3, 2007 05:17 PM

    Here's what I do with most crusty type breads that I buy from Trader Joe's. First, they are often the par-baked kind. As soon as I get home, I put the bread in a large zip top bag, squeeze as much air out as I can and zip up. This bag goes in the fridge. When I use this later, a quick trip in a hot toaster oven refreshes it to close to fresh texture. I cannot leave a loaf out in a paper bag here in Southern California. It will get dry and hard in a day or so. Some of the breads at Trader Joe's come in a plastic bag inside the paper bag. The plastic bag is secured with a wire twist closure thing. Those bags go straight in the fridge. I've had particular luck with their par baked rustic rolls. Kept for a week and reheated well. I can also not keep bread out on the counter in a plastic bag as it will get moldy before I can finish it.

    1. SweetPea Jul 3, 2007 03:57 PM

      I don't recall where I got this info from, but... we store it in a plain brown paper bag at room temp (out of the dog's reach). Works better than anything else I've tried.

      1 Reply
      1. re: SweetPea
        Karl S Jul 3, 2007 04:53 PM

        Yes, plain paper bags approximate a bread box. For certain breads (e.g, I recall NY rye/pumpernickel breads, which were moister than other breads), bakeries used to use waxed paper bags instead.

      2. m
        MakingSense Jul 3, 2007 08:57 AM

        The one thing you absolutely CANNOT do is put it in the refrigerator!!!! NO, NO, NO. According to Shirley Corriher, "the long, straight starch in bread called amylose, changes to a hard crystalline form near refrigerator temperatures." Other scientists agree and I will murder my family for this transgression. It can stay at room temp for a few days or go into the freezer but it just ruins bread products when they go into the fridge.
        What we don't use, we freeze and then take out what we need as we need it. It defrosts in a few minutes in a plastic wrapping on the counter. As good as fresh for sandwiches or the table. If we want it crusty, a quick trip through the toaster or oven is all it takes.

        6 Replies
        1. re: MakingSense
          Karl S Jul 3, 2007 09:46 AM

          As I noted, for some reason certain potato breads appear to be the exception that proves the rule re refrigeration of bread. I imagine it has to do with the nature of potato starches, which differ from wheat starches. For some reason, Martin's potato breads/rolls keep for several weeks in the frig and can be warmed to good effect. It's really odd.

          1. re: Karl S
            Davwud Jul 3, 2007 10:48 AM

            I keep flour tortillas in the fridge with no problem. Of course, they're store bought packaged ones so they'd probably live anywhere.

            DT
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            1. re: Davwud
              m
              MakingSense Jul 3, 2007 11:00 AM

              They don't seem to get weird in the fridge like other breads, do they? Wonder why? They have them on the shelf and in the refrigerator case in the stores unlike other breads. Good question.
              Always worries me a little that they don't get moldy either...

              1. re: Davwud
                chowser Jul 3, 2007 11:23 AM

                I think it's the preservatives in them, and the trans fat for some. I was looking for more natural (no preservatives, easily identifiable ingredients, no trans fats) tortillas and couldn't find any in a regular grocery store.

                1. re: chowser
                  archangelcat Jul 3, 2007 12:00 PM

                  If you have a Trader Joe's nearby try their Truly Handmade Flour Tortillas. These don't last long, because they don't have preservatives, and they are scrumptious. As far as keeping bread, I freeze half the loaf and if it's artisan bread I freeze whatever I don't use the first day of purchase.

                  1. re: chowser
                    c
                    cmkdvs Jul 3, 2007 05:51 PM

                    We have two or three excellent local brands with nice minimal ingredients lists (no trans fats, among other things). I pick up a bag of Micaela's every time I'm in the store, because some days they're out; they freeze well, for months.

            2. Davwud Jul 3, 2007 08:03 AM

              If it starts to go a bit stale on you, you can wrap it in paper towel and nuke it for a few seconds. That should freshen it up.

              DT
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              1. Karl S Jul 3, 2007 06:12 AM

                A bread box is a must have. The only breads that can be refrigerated well are potato breads, for some reason (though I wouldn't be surprised if that were also true for rice breads - wheat bread that have had cooked rice and rice cooking water worked into the dough).

                The older way to do this is simply to bread with the cut end facing down on a wood cutting board.

                Btw, stale quality bread is a treasure of cooking possibilities. In pre-modern times, bread was more valuable in stale than fresh form, so it was considered a rare and costly treat to eat fresh bread.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Karl S
                  m
                  mightycheesehead Jul 3, 2007 07:46 AM

                  My preference is to freeze bread in portions. You can freshen it up in the oven (or BBQ - in the summer) for that nice, crusty bakery-fresh taste.
                  Since I am only feeding two, I often slice a loaf in half. Eat half and freeze the other half for a later date.

                  1. re: Karl S
                    The Dairy Queen Jul 3, 2007 08:06 AM

                    I have a loaf-shaped tupperware container. Do you know if that's better or worse than a traditional bread box? I imagine that a bread box doesn't have as tight a seal and might let the bread "breathe." But, I don't know if that's best or not! Any thoughts?

                    ~TDQ

                    1. re: The Dairy Queen
                      Davwud Jul 3, 2007 08:34 AM

                      No better, no worse. Not that I've found anyway.

                      DT
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                      1. re: The Dairy Queen
                        rworange Jul 3, 2007 09:57 AM

                        Doesn't tupperware or plastic take away the crustiness and turn it soft?

                        I freeze bread but same deal ... the crustiness is sacrified ... of course, toasting makes everything crunchy.

                        1. re: rworange
                          The Dairy Queen Jul 3, 2007 10:13 AM

                          You know, the only bread we really put in the tupperware is "soft" grocery store-type sandwich bread that folks at my house like for their lunches. It's not that crusty to begin with. I've never really tried to put, say, a crusty baguette in there, partly because it's not the right shape, but, also, because I, like you, suspect it would lose its crustiness.

                          ~TDQ

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