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Jul 2, 2009 02:37 PM

How To Make Organic Bread Last Longer

Anyone know how I can keep mine from spoiling so quickly? Other than freezing it, what can be done to make it last more than 3 or 4 days? Do I need a breadbox? Do they increase the shelf life? I just had to throw out (again!) a really tasty loaf from Trader Joe's that was not even a week old, and not even close to being all used.

Thanks for any advice.

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  1. Without preservatives, I don't see how bread could taste and feel fresh after four days, but maybe there's a trick I'm not aware of.

    I always slice and freeze my bread and take out pieces as needed, but I know that's not the answer you're looking for. ;-) Good luck!

    4 Replies
    1. re: kpzoo

      i'm flummoxed as well. good bread is only fresh for about a day. that's why there is toast!

      1. re: hotoynoodle

        Wow, really? Just one day? I just learned something. Thanks! :-)

        I guess maybe that after it's already been on the shelf for a day or two before it's bought
        makes the time that it's still good after I bring it home even shorter.

        Looks like the fridge may be my best bet.

        1. re: SugarFrosted

          I would never keep bread in the fridge. Dries out the loaf. Freezer's the way to go. In my experience, bread w/out preservatives keeps for 1-3 days at room temp, depending on the kind of bread. Baguette keeps the shortest - eat it while it's fresh.

          Montreal's a real bread town - we have an amazing assortment of top notch bakeries here. Can't remember the last time I bought bread in a supermarket. Good luck!

      2. re: kpzoo

        I do the same. I keep what I think I will use in 2 maybe 3 days then I cut and freeze the rest. I get 3 baguettes at a times at Sams Club. I cut 2 1/2 3-4 pieces per freezer baggie. I can take out the bag for 2 or 3 of us or just take out 1 or 2 pieces. It works great. I got through all of it before it would go bad in the freezer.

        Ditto on the Not what you are looking for but I don't know of any other way.

      3. I keep Trader Joes Organic 9 Grain in the fridge for several weeks without developing mold. Sure it gets 'stale' but that is nothing that a trip through the toaster can't cure. Being a coarse, hearty loaf, I don't expect it to be 'wonder bread' soft, even when fresh.

        1 Reply
        1. re: paulj

          Sourdough lasts longer at room temp than conventional loaves--the sourer it is, the longer it lasts. Like others commenting above, I keep my bread in either the fridge or the freezer and accept that I will have to warm/toast it to make it edible.

        2. Those of us who pre-slice and freeze are doing it right.

          Storing at room temp is second best, and it always surprised folks that the research on "staling" indicates that refrigeration if the worst of the 3 options.

          Summary digests:

          Deep technical:

          2 Replies
          1. re: FoodFuser

            The technical link makes several good points -
            - 'staling' has always been a problem
            - staling is different from mold growth. Refrigeration inhibits mold growth, but promotes staling
            - staling is temporarily reversible via heating.
            - additives such as malt sugars, fats, emulsifiers, slow down staling.

            For the whole grain bread that I expect to keep a long time, and reheat with the toaster, refrigeration works fine. Staleness seems to be less of an issue this type of bread (at least in my experience).

            For baguettes and other crusty white bread, I just try to use it as fast as possible, and after a couple of days let the leftovers dry out. This bread is just flour, salt, yeast and water, with no sugars or other additives that retard staling. Cuisines that regularly use this type of bread (France, Italy, Spain), have many ways of using stale, dry bread. All have simple soups using old bread. Spain has migas, fried bread crumbs, Italy has bread salads. All have bread puddings.

            1. re: paulj

              Agreed. Many methods, especially once one knows the bread, and what they want when "bringing it back".

              Depending on the type of bread, there are applications of the toaster, the toaster oven, and even the microwave (even augmented with a further rehydrating wet sponge) that work well. Get to know your choice of bread.

          2. I've had some luck getting baguettes to last a little longer by using the cool little vacpak Ziploc "Vacuum Bags". They're not terribly expensive.. you buy one of the boxes of Ziploc bags that have the little kazoo-shaped pump with them, and then get another box of bags in a larger size if you need them for breads, etc. Then you basically put the food in the bag... leave enough space so the top corner is 'empty' and you set the little vac pump over the circle on the bag and pump it a few times... a bunch of air leaves the bag, and the bag ends up sucked to the shape of the bread.

   <- there's a section at the top that talks about them but you kind of have to look for it a bit

            1. You might want to reconsider the freezer option. It really is the best way to keep bread over the longer term. I live alone and would be throwing bread out right and left if I didn't keep it in the freezer. I find the quality barely suffers at all, even if you are going to eat it untoasted. Plus, it gives me the option of keeping a variety of types of bread around. Right now, I've got whole wheat, english muffins, french bread, sandwich rolls and corn tortillas in there -- pretty much all my options are covered :-)

              With baguettes, a trip I learned in Paris is that for a dried out baguette, you can wipe it all over with water (I do it with wet hands), then pop it in the oven for a few minutes, and the water will revive the bread (so long as it's not rock hard, that is!)