Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Dec 12, 2007 08:47 PM

How Can I Keep Rolls Fresh?

I purchased rolls (made at a grocery store bakery) today...the sell date is 12/12/07.
I will not be serving them until this Saturday evening, 12/15/07. How can I keep them fresh without freezing them? So far, I kept them in the original (flimsy) bag they came in, but put that inside a large Zip Lock freezer bag, hoping that would help. Any better ideas?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Hi ct!
    I am a big bread eater, and keeper. I am disabled, so I have to store groceries for long periods of time, as I only get shopping done for me about every three months.

    If your rolls are okay today, then, put them in the fridge, and they should be fine on Saturday, with just a little warm up in the microwave or oven.

    Hope that helps!
    village idiot

    7 Replies
    1. re: villageidiot

      Thanks for the tip....that's what I'll do.

      1. re: villageidiot

        I read somewhere that refrigerating fresh bread does something to the molecular makeup of the bread and makes it go stale or changes the taste. I'll try and find a link.

        Okay, I could not find a link but refrigerating bread causes it to dry out and go stale faster.

        You'd be better off leaving the bread out. It should be fine for a couple of days.

        1. re: BlueHerons

          I read the same thing about not refrigerating bread and can't remember where. I'd keep them in the freezer to keep as much freshness as possible. If they're kaiser-type rolls they'll harden pretty quickly.

          1. re: BlueHerons

            I'm an ancient graduate of Food Science and it is true that refrigerating bread hastens the staling. I can't remember why either but is one of the things that has stayed with me due to its ironic nature. Freeze.
            On a separate but related note, I don't like the plastic bags that comes with most of our bread. Even our local village baker uses plastic. It totally changes the crust and leads to immediate degradation. Ever notice the French use paper?

            1. re: BlueHerons

              From Harold McGee:

              "Staling proceeds most rapidly at temperatures just above freezing, and very slowly below freezing. In one experiment, bread stored in the refrigerator at 46 degrees staled as much in one day as bread held at 86 degrees did in six days. If you're going to use bread in a a day or two, then store it at room temperature in a breadbox or paper bag, which reduces moisture loss while allowing the crust to remain somewhat crisp. If you need to keep bread for several days or more, then wrap it well in plastic or foil and freeze it. Refrigerate bread (well wrapped) only if you're going to toast or otherwise reheat it."

            2. re: villageidiot

              Microwaving bread changes its moisture, but it can be freshened up by wrapping it in foil for 10-15 minutes in a moderate oven.

              1. re: villageidiot

                Actually, putting bread in the refrigerator will make it harden and go stale much quicker than leaving it out. The best way to preserve bread's freshness is to freeze it, even if it's only for a day or two. You can also take out a couple of frozen slices from a loaf and return the bulk to the freezer.

                Nuking bread is tricky. It can go gummy in a heartbeat! I warm mine in the toaster. I bought some frozen soft pretzels and they are terrible microwaved, but great when toasted!
                Sorry for the redundancy. I should have read the rest of the thread first.

              2. I would not keep bread in the refrigerator. If you bought it in a grocery store, the sell by date is not a "use by" date and there are probably enough preservatives that the bread will be fine on your countertop until this weekend.

                1. What's wrong with freezing bread?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: RicRios

                    That's my question, I've found that freezing works much better than refrigerating for keeping bread as close to the original freshness level as possible. In fact, if we're not eating freshly baked breads or rolls the night we bring them home, my wife and I now always put them in ziptop bags and freeze them as soon as we get home. Letting them thaw on the counter or on the defrost setting in the toaster oven works well.

                    1. re: RicRios

                      Nothing wrong with freezer is just packed & there's absolutely no room for the bread!

                    2. Actually the refrigerator is the worst possible place to store baked bread products. And it's not because of moisture loss as so many think. Below is an excerpt from a Cooks 'Food Science' article on 'How to Store Bread. To find out the best storage methods according to their study click on link below the excerpt. Hope this helps.

                      "While a couple of the bread keepers did a good job at minimizing moisture loss, within just three days all of the artisinal loaves were shrunken, discolored, and firm - in other words, they staled. The bread stored in the refrigerator fared even worse, hardening within a day or so. Why? According to food scientists, the major reason that bread stales is not moisture loss, but rather a process called retrogradation, in which the starch molecules in the bread crystallize. Retrogradation occurs about six times faster at refrigerator temperatures (36 - 40 degrees) than at room temperature, thereby making the refrigerator the worst choice for bread storage. However, the retrogradation process does slow down significantly when bread is stored below freezing temperatures."


                      3 Replies
                      1. re: crt

                        That's a helpful article ... but what if I need to remove (or limit) moisture in the bread? Within a week a loaf of sandwich bread, homemade or store bought, will develop mold. It's not the house, it's happened in six different houses.

                        1. re: odkaty

                          I'm curious what store you shop in for "store bought bread," Katy, because all of it that I buy (standnard "gummy" white bread) will last for seventy two years without molding, it has so many preservatives in it! It's an embalmer's friend! Have you tried working with the moisture content and simply freezing it?

                          Anyway, the article crt references. Read it, don't quite agree. But they did go to a lot of hassle. I keep bread in the freezer all the time and do NOT go through the rigermarole they recommend with the foil and all that jazz. I simply put a twist tie around the original wrapper and put it in the freezer. No problem. For rolls and things of irregular mass, I stick them in a zip lock bag and put them in the freezer too. Works great!

                          Microwave to warm frozen (or any other) bread is the worst possible choice, unless you're looking for bubble gum. Turns it to rubber! Use a toaster, which is a much better alternative to heating up an entire oven to "rehabilitate" a couple of slices of bread for a sandwich. My toaster (GE "Classic Toaster" four slices for under forty bucks at WalMart, as I recall) has settings for defrost, reheat, and bagels (where it toasts only one side) and it does a marvelous job of rehabilitating my frozen bread. But so does just letting a couple of slices sit on the counter while I slather them with mayo, then stack them with whatever ingredients turn me on at the moment. I mean, it's not like defrosting bread takes hours unless you put it under running water!

                          And those good folks at Cooks Illustrated spent a lot of money and research time to discover what most people knew already: That bread boxes are simply designed to keep ugly bread wrappers out of sight. But so does storing the loaf behind a cupboard door or in the freezer, and it doesn't cost a ridiculous price or take up precious counter space. I resent forfeiting counter space a lot more than if resent forking over the money!

                          1. re: Caroline1

                            If I have to buy bread it's the all-natural preservative free stuff. I've resorted to freezing, but that's not my preference - the texture's not right for pb&j.

                      2. ctflowers...From the article I posted a link to here are the recomendations on storing bread including those 'artisan' types and which bread containers they tested and suggest...I Suggest reading the entire article as it is very informative and knoweldgeable and certainly makes sense to me. Yes I did read about you not having any room in your freezer...

                        "To minimize retrogradation, store bread at room temperature -- for up to three days -- in a container that minimizes moisture loss. (See our recommended storage containers below.) After three days, wrap bread tightly wrapped in foil, place in a freezer bag, and freeze. Thaw the slices at room temperature, or in the microwave or oven. (For a frozen full- or half-loaf, we recommend heating the bread, still wrapped in foil, in a 450-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes, then crisping it by removing the foil and returning it to the oven for a minute or two.) If you find yourself with stale bread, wrap it in plastic wrap and reheat briefly in a microwave, but be prepared to use it almost immediately as retrogradation will set in again fairly quickly. Finally, only refrigerate bread that you’re intending to reheat (e.g., toast or grill) later on.

                        Room Temperature Storage Containers:
                        For store-bought bread, the plastic bag the bread came in was just as effective as any of the bread keepers we tested - just keep it on the counter. For artisanal or home-baked bread, the reusable, washable twill bag from Best was the most successful at minimizing moisture loss and keeping the crust crisp. The two expandable bread keepers we tested (an acrylic model from Progressive International and a plastic version from Lillian Vernon) prevented moisture loss but were too small to accommodate large, awkward-sized loaves. Brotkönig’s “Freshness Paper Bags” had minute holes that helped keep the crust crisp but that also allowed the bread to lose too much moisture.

                        Recommended for Artisanal or Homemade Bread:
                        Best Twill Bread Bag: $20.00, Item #BS1010
                        This reusable, washable twill bag kept moisture in longer than the alternatives, and it also kept bread crusts crisp. The bag is lined with polyethelene plastic and comes with a Velcro fastener to accommodate a variety of shapes.

                        Bread boxes should not be used for primary bread storage, but they provide an alternative to keeping bags loose on the counter. Of the three bread boxes we tested - a classic hardwood rolltop by Kamenstein, a metal rollup by Hailo, and a stainless steel canister design (the lid is on the top) by Polder, the Polder retained moisture better than the other two boxes and had more usable storage space.

                        Recommended For Commercially Wrapped Bread:
                        Polder 616204 18/8 Stainless-Steel Bread Canister, $50.00, Item #616204
                        The canister measures 12 1/2 by 9 by 8 inches, is made of heavy brushed stainless steel, and comes with rubber corner guards to prevent scratches on countertops. Its top lid allows items to be piled on each other, effectively allowing storage space to be well-utilized--the box comfortably held two oversized loaves of Pepperidge Farm Hearty Bread.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: crt

                          I'd have to agree that a plastic bag keeps bread reasonably fresh for a few days. In fact, it actually makes some crustier breads too soft. Just a few small holes in the bag seems to help find a happy medium. Denser, larger breads will last longer too. I've had some medium to large breads be perfectly good after 4-5 days, while small baguettes can become hard in 1-2 days, even in a bag. I don't refrigerate.