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how to

store | freeze | refresh 

Below you’ll find my favorite methods on how to store, freeze, and refresh bread so that it tastes freshly baked.

how to

store your bread

Days 1 & 2:

  • For bread that has just been baked, leave it out, uncovered, at room temperature. The crust on freshly baked bread will remain at its best texture for at least one day.

  • Once you slice into sourdough bread, I recommend wrapping it in a tea towel or using beeswax wrap - which is my favorite alternative, as it is naturally porous and won’t cause as much moisture to be trapped.  They sell a knock-off version at Trader Joe's that works well.

  • If you choose not to slice into the bread on the day of baking, keep your loaf in the paper bag it came packaged in. While the crust won’t be quite as crisp as the day of baking,  the paper bag will allow air to circulate, yet also help it not dry out too quickly.

Days 3 & 4:

  • If you do not plan on consuming your whole loaf of bread within the first few days of baking, I generally always advise storing it in the freezer (see the following methods below).

  • AVOID STORING BREAD IN THE REFRIGERATOR AS IT CAN DRY OUT THE BREAD AND MAKE IT STALE FASTER

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how to

freeze your bread

When it comes to sourdough bread, your freezer is your friend!  I highly recommend freezing whole loaves, and enjoying them at a later date.  The frozen loaf out of the freezer can taste just as good as the freshly baked loaf! 

If stored properly, bread can be kept in the freezer for about three months.

HOW TO FREEZE WHOLE LOAVES OF BREAD:

To freeze an entire loaf of bread, allow the bread to cool completely, then wrap the loaf tightly in plastic wrap, followed by wrapping in aluminum foil.  This is my favorite method for short or long term bread storage. 

HOW TO FREEZE SLICED BREAD:

After slicing your bread, transfer it to a large Ziploc bag. Placing a small piece of parchment or wax paper between each slice will ensure the slices don’t stick together. 

This method allows you to take one slice out at a time and toast it in your toaster or favorite method of choice.

how to

refresh your bread

This is my favorite method for refreshing whole loaves of bread. It sounds a bit crazy, but this method will result in a very crisp crust that tastes and feels like you just baked it!

HOW TO REFRESH WHOLE LOAVES OF BREAD: 

  • Allow your frozen loaf to thaw (keep it in the plastic and foil) at room temperature for 3 - 4 hours or overnight.

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees for at least 20 minutes with a rack in the center position. 

  • Just before you are ready to put the loaf in the oven, remove the wrapping and quickly run it under cold water to lightly coat all sides of the loaf. This light coating of water steams in the oven and results in a crisper, fresher crust than placing a loaf in the oven dry.  NOTE:  Do not complete this step until your oven is completely preheated and you’re ready to place the loaf in the oven. 

  • Place the whole loaf of bread directly on the oven rack and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crust is crisp.

  • Remove and allow the loaf to cool completely on a cooling rack – at least an hour – before slicing. Store leftover bread as directed above.  

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what to do

with leftover bread

  • Grilled cheese or panini -  Jalapeno Cheddar makes a great grilled cheese!

  • Crostini - slice your 4 - 5 day old bread into thin slices, put in a ziplock and throw in the freezer to be used at a later time.   Simply brush slices with olive oil and bake on a sheet pan at 350, turning often, until crisp.  Great with a cheese plate, tapenade or as bruschetta.

  • Croutons -  cut leftover bread into squares, put in a ziplock and keep in the freezer.  Pull out what you need and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic.  Bake on a sheet pan at 350, tossing often, until crisp. 

  • Breadcrumbs - Bake slices as described for crostini.  When cool give them a whirl in the food processor.

  • French Toast - our favorite weekend breakfast!

  • Bread Pudding

resist the urge to

slice into warm bread

It is very important to allow bread to cool completely to room temperature before storing or slicing.  Place it on a cooling rack and resist the urge to slice into it.  Slicing fresh warm bread out of the oven, while extremely tempting, affects its texture and flavor - it will be gummier and less airy; and will result in a loaf that dries out much faster.

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