Bread Storage Q & A

A reader recently wrote in asking how best to store bread. I figured it’d be best to ask some real bread people. I thought that someoneart courtesy of Zingerman's at Zingerman’s, a Michigan, mail-order bakeshop that ships breads all over the world would have some insight. And Zingerman’s customer service specialist Paul LaDuca certainly did.

What’s the most important thing about storing bread?

Obviously the best way to enjoy bread is to eat it freshly baked. If you’re going to store bread, the best way is in a bread box, to keep air away from the loaf.

I tend to keep my bread in the oven. It’s like a big bread box in that it keeps almost all the air out. But you have to remember to take it out before you turn on the oven. I’ve forgotten to do that a few times and that can get ugly.

Should We Store Our Bread in Plastic Bags?

art courtesy of Zingerman'sPlastic bags are not good. They wick moisture away from the inside of the bread and pull it to the crust, which ends up softening the crust. The crust should be like a protective layer. If you cut a fresh loaf, rest it on the crumb [the non-crust, or inside].

If not plastic, what then?

If you’re gonna store it, you want to use Paper bags or something that allows the bread to breathe.

Never put bread in the fridge. While it’ll last longer, it will get dried out.

How do you avoid bread getting moldy?

Mold grows in moist conditions. It happens moreart courtesy of Zingerman's frequently in the summer because it’s hotter out and more humid, which provides a playground for those organisms.

The best storage technique is to keep bread in a controlled environment, but it’s a time/conditions thing. Having your house air conditioned helps. Air needs to be able to move around a little bit. A bread box is almost completely air tight, but it still allows a little air to move.

How about a vacuum sealer?

A vacuum sealer is not a great thing because it sucks out all of the air. It could implode your bread because there’s air in the courtesy of Zingerman's

What’s your take on freezing bread?

The freezer is a good solution. I usually freeze what I don’t need, double wrapping it in a plastic bag. Then reheating it really is like having a fresh baked loaf. Like we say on our bags, baking frozen bread for 40 minutes at 350 is like making Frankenstein—it really comes alive!

[thanks to Zingerman’s for the use of their fun bread artwork]

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