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Where do you keep your bread?

I'm just wondering where folks keep a loaf of bread. I keep mine in the fridge because I assume that keeps it fresh longer. If you keep it in a bread box, how long before it goes stale?

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  1. I don't really eat bread (sliced) very often, but purchased one last week to make a romesco sauce. As the loaf will probably be around forever, I just stuck it in the freezer. If we do choose to eat it at a later point, we'll probably toast it.

    1. In a breadbox. Keeps better than in the fridge, anywhere from a few days to a week depending on the type of bread. For a scientific explanation of why you should never refrigerate bread, see http://www.cooksillustrated.com/foods...

      Only exception is if I have a really fresh crusty bread, in which case I just keep it in a paper bag on the counter. In the breadbox the crust becomes soft or chewy very quickly. Of course, that means the bread doesn't keep as long, but while it does it's great!

      3 Replies
      1. re: BobB

        I, too, use a breadbox. An old school one I purchased at the antiques store, but I had been in the habit of tossing the loaf into the fridge if we didn't get through it within a week or so. Thanks for the link. From now on I will jsut go ahead and freeze it instead. Good to know...

        1. re: BobB

          BobB, I appreciate the link but it won't let me view it unless I sign up with a credit card and I'm not going to go through all that trouble. Is there any way you could just give us the gist of it?

          1. re: JayAaroBe

            Sorry - it was an open site when I posted the link nearly three years ago. I don't recall the nitty-gritty details, but the bottom line is that refrigerating bread will make it go stale faster. The only time you should do it is if you're in a hot, humid climate with no AC and no cool, dark alternative place to store your bread.

            The same is not true of freezing bread, as long as it's tightly sealed.

        2. We keep sliced, packaged bread in a long, clear plastic bread box shaped like a loaf of bread. Or, in the summer, we'll keep it in the refrigerator to keep it from going moldy within a couple of days of purchase. (Gotta love those hot, humid, summer days in the city - and no A/C in the kitchen.)

          Good, crusty bread, we keep in a paper bag on the kitchen counter. It's just the two of us and we don't usually buy more than we can eat in a day or two.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Deenso

            You'd actually be better off keeping it in the freezer rather than the refrigerator - see the link in my post above. Individual slices thaw very quickly, just toast then for 10 seconds or so.

            1. re: BobB

              Bob, I looked at the link, but I have one more question; do you take the bread out of the original plastic wrapper, then wrap in foil and then put in a freezer bag? I hate throwing bread out, and even though I keep it on the breadbox, we just don't eat enough of it, and it ends up spoiling.

              1. re: danhole

                I've never seen the point of the foil. All that wrapping and unwrapping to take out a slice or two breaks the foil and it doesn't provide any additional protection for the brad.
                I buy artisanal breads so they go right into a freezer (heavy) slide-type ziplock and right into the freezer. I've never had any problem at all.

          2. Hi ajs228, we just keep our sliced bread in the freezer as we don't go through a loaf quickly. A quick pop into the toaster to defrost or toast makes it come out tasting wonderfully fresh. For artisinal loaves, I preheat my pizza stone in the oven for thirty minutes then defrost the loaf on the counter, and put on the stone until the crust gets nice and crunchy.

            1. I keep mine in the microwave - which, I guess, is very much like a breadbox. It seems to stay fresher that way than out on the counter.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Suzy Q

                I keep mine in the microwave too. My bread box is only big enough for opened cracker sleeves and the like. Everything else get shoved there due to space. It does keep it fresh for a week or 2. But then I have a quirk with bread that goes past its expiration date and it gets tossed. They need to make half loaves for people who like fresh bread!! Also, I like wheat, the kids like white and then you have the hotdog and hamburger buns just waiting to go stale. Drives me insane. When I do have room in the freezer for anything, either I forget about it or I just decide it has freezer burn and I toss it anyway. (I told you I have a problem). So the microwave wins. And also drives my DH crazy when he wants to use it!

                1. re: chocchipcookie

                  I'm another one that keeps my bread in a microwave. I had to give up on the bread box because my dog figured out how to get to the bread inside it.

                  For Ezekial Bread, I leave that in the fridge because it molds quickly.

                  1. re: MrsT

                    the gluten free brown rice bread i get from trader joe's goes in the freezer since otherwise, they seem to dry out really quickly. home-made breads go on the counter, on a cutting board, cut side down.

                    >>my dog figured out how to get to the bread inside it.

                    heheh. luckily my dog's too short to try that one. but he does seem to have learned how to open the fridge when i leave the dish towel hanging from the door handle.... so obviously, i don't keep my bread there. ;)

              2. The bread I buy has no preservatives and goes moldy quickly unless refrigerated or frozen. I don't like it, but that is the way it is.

                1. I buy bread without preservatives so it only keeps for a few days before going stale or moldy. I don't use it up before then so I put it into the freezer after a day or two.
                  It's easy to take out a few slices when I need them. They defrost at room temperature in about 5 minutes.
                  The fridge is a major No-No.

                  The link that BobB posted above has the scientific explanation which has been also written about by Shirley Corriher and Harold McGehee.
                  From CI:
                  "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. The water molecules in the bread freeze, which immobilizes the starch molecules and prevents them from forming crystalline structures."

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: MakingSense

                    When I feel indulgent, I buy a loaf of Zingerman's bread (available locally as I am in Michigan). On the bag, they've printed a way to refresh your bread if it gets hard--basically you spritz the crust with water (liberally--I usually just hold it under the faucet a couple of seconds) and put it in a 350-ish oven for a few minutes. I was amazed that this works very well.

                    1. re: coney with everything

                      Coney, I too am in MI. When I break down and buy a loaf of Zingermans (it's ungodly expensive, but that's another thread) I must admit that I do exactly what they say not to do on their paper bag. I put it in a plastic bag. I know, I know, it makes the crust loose its texture. But I live alone, and left in the paper bag it will be stale in less than two days. At $7-$9 per loaf I am not going let a single crumb of it go to waste, and stored in a plastic bag I can usually keep the loaf until the end. For me the hassle of "refreshing" the bread every time I want a slice is worse then the soft crust caused by storing in plastic. Of course YMMV.

                      1. re: kmcarr

                        ITA about ungodly expensive; I look for whatever's on sale (usually Busch's has at least one kind on sale).

                        We usually eat enough of it the first couple of days that by the time it needs to get "refreshed", it's a one shot deal. And the crust is the best part!

                  2. I live in SW Florida...bread is kept either in the freezer (the Flax & Fiber bread that I eat very sparingly) or the fridge (Nature's Own Honey Wheat that my son eats); bread boxes probably don't exist in SW FL...bread would be moldy in a day or two, even with a/c, I think!

                    1. We make much of our own (gluten-free) bread, which we keep in the fridge. We generally go through the store-bought (gluten-free) bread so slowly that we generally divide the loaf in half and put half in the fridge and half in the freezer.

                      1. We keep ours in whatever original package it came in in the cabinet. I am a toast fanatic and my husband's favorite snack is PB&J so it gets used up before it gets moldy or stale. On the rare occasion it does get stale it becomes bird or fish food.

                        1. When I lived up North it was in the microwave.
                          Here in FL I put it in the fridge or freezer. It turns green in 2 days if I don't. I try not to eat a lot of sliced bread and if I do, it's toast. Husband likes it when I toast 1 piece of bread and slice it vertical, into 2 perfectly thin, crispy, toasty slices of crunchiness, and then make him a sandwich... My Mom used to call it an "old Weight Watchers trick" - of course this was years before they came out with extra thin sliced bread.

                          1. Bread just doesn't taste good when it's been in the fridge. The only way to salvage it is toasting, and I can't do that at work. So I keep mine at room temp on the counter and use it for sandwiches in my packed lunch. I only buy specialty/artisinal loaves when I know we'll eat them in a day or two.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: mojoeater

                              Try freezing the specialty/artisanal bread. That's what I buy and we don't go through it quickly enough either. Besides, I like to have more than one type so we have a choice. Our bakery even has a slicer if it's going to be used for sandwiches.
                              Make your packed lunch sandwich on the frozen bread and you won't be able to tell the difference at lunchtime.
                              We've done it for years.
                              I agree completely about fridge-bread. It's awful!

                              1. re: MakingSense

                                Yes, if you freeze it fresh, all the moisture is retained and it is very fresh when you remove and defrost. Crusty rolls don't do that well in the freezer, they become flakey. I freeze Wonder Stoned Ground wheat and remove slices as I need them, it usually stays freezer burn free for a few months.

                            2. We tend to eat bread sparingly but some of the loaves at the farmer's market are impossible to resist, so we freeze it.

                              1. The fridge is the worst place to keep bread. The bread gets moldy very quickly because of cold and moisture.

                                I always freeze bread. Crusty loaves from Sullivan Street Bakery for Bruschetta or Crostini, Pullman Loaf from Orwashers for sandwiches., Challah Bread for French Toast.

                                Wrap in Saran Wrap and then store in a heavy duty freezer zip lock bag in your freezer. It keeps very well. .

                                1. I absolutely love bread, but bread is highly perishable. I buy a loaf the day it's baked and we eat as much as we can that day. The next day, perhaps some of it's left for toast, french toast, croutons, bread crumbs etc. -that's why they call it "day old bread." Overnight, it sits in the paper bag it came in, inside a tin-lined drawer.

                                  At botttom, it's bread. It's not meant to be stored or to last. Refrigeration or freezing changes the texture too much for me. If you want it for days buy some Wonder Bread, or something similarly bread-like, and made with plenty of preservatives. You can keep them wherever - that's why the chemicals are in there.

                                  Personally, if I want bread two days in a row, I go to the bakery two days in a row.

                                  1. Bread box or freezer; shelf life depends on the type of bread. Never the fridge (except for Martin's potato rolls, which are not ruined by the fridge for some reason); the fridge is abusive to bread.

                                    1. I freeze immediately upon getting it home, especially crusty rolls and breads. There's no sense in allowing bread to get a little stale before freezing it. For bread I bake myself, I will let sit overnight, then I'll slice it (if in loaves) and then freeze. Bread freezes well but so I treat it as a vegetable out of the garden, deteriorating gradually as soon as it hits the air. I used to refrigerate my bread but then I heard that while it would retard mold growth, it would make it go stale faster.

                                      As Fleur said above, keeping in heavy plastic will ensure that the bread will keep its original texture and flavor in the freezer.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: junescook

                                        Wrap it tightly in foil first, then bag it.

                                        As for homemade or preservative-free bread, put the cut surface of the bread down on the cutting board; you can tent a paper or waxed paper bag over it.

                                        It should be noted that bread that stales on the counter retains more of its water than bread that is dried in a slow oven (like 275F); the latter is more useful for croutons and what not, as it will soak up more liquid than the former.

                                      2. I have a family of sandwich eaters so bread doesn't last long enough to go bad in my house...keeping enough on hand is my problem. Bread for normal consumption (toast, sandwiches, etc.) goes in a dark corner of my kitchen counter. Day old bread that I buy to make homemade croutons goes in the garage until I am ready to use.