Whether you've just baked some hearty bread or purchased a deliciously crusty and airy loaf from the bakery, it won't be delectable if it goes stale. Keep bread fresh enough to enjoy with dinner tonight and for breakfasts and sandwiches even weeks later.
- Skill level:
Allow freshly baked bread to cool completely before storing. Wrapping it too soon can cause condensation to form and seep into the bread, making it soggy.
Keep rolls and loaves at room temperature in paper or sealed plastic bags or an airtight bread box for up to a week. Storing bread in the refrigerator will slow the growth of mold, but can also dry it out and make it go stale more quickly.
Stow bread for longer periods in the freezer. Wrap the loaf in foil before sealing it in an airtight plastic bag. Keep the loaf whole to prevent freezer burn, unless you intend to use it one slice at a time (in which case you can store slices in a re-sealable plastic bag to easily remove the amount you need).
Thaw frozen bread at room temperature. To warm it before eating, allow the crust to recrisp in a 350 degree F oven for about 10 minutes. You can also crisp up slices of bread quickly in the toaster.
Tips and warnings
- If bread does go stale but hasn't spoiled, use it to create breadcrumbs, stuffing, bread pudding or croutons. Check websites like Cooks.com for easy recipes and instructions. (See Resources)
- While you can still eat some food items such as hard cheeses once you've trimmed mold from the surface, bread is not one of them. Discard it immediately at the first signs of mold, which can appear in a variety of colors from white to greenish-blue to black.
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