Bread from the grocery store or the bakery comes in bread-sized plastic or paper bags. If you make your own bread, however, you probably don't have plastic bags that are the right size and shape to accommodate it. If you're concerned about the environment, you may not even want to use plastic. Whether baking for yourself or other people, the answer is simple: you just have to be a little creative with your packaging.
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Cling film comes in a variety of colours and patterns. Let the bread cool down completely before wrapping to avoid condensation. Once bread is cooled, simply wrap cling film around the circumference of the bread in one direction, from bottom to top. Turn the bread 90 degrees and wrap plastic around it from that angle as well. Smooth the cling film down and inspect it visually, so that the entire loaf is covered. Homemade bread doesn't have preservatives in it, so you must wrap it tightly in order for it to last its longest.
If you don't want to use plastic due to environmental concerns, try recycled wax or butcher's paper. Wrap it around the bread like you would when wrapping a gift. Use some twine or ribbon to tie the wrapping in place. The waxed surface of the paper will help conserve the bread's natural moisture, yet it will still be able to get some air. Ideally, bread should be able to retain its moisture, but also be able to breathe in order to prevent condensation build-up and mould growth potential. If you practice wrapping bread so that it looks elegant, you can also use this method when giving homemade bread as gifts.
Whether the bread is for yourself or a gift for someone, reusable containers package bread well. For example, if a loaf is extremely big, or you want to show it off in your kitchen while keeping it protected, try a cake carrier. Unlike a bread box, a cake carrier is multipurpose. It can hold cakes, cookies, loaves of bread, muffins or anything else you want to put in it. It's also got a handle for easy transportation. If someone you know loves to bake, try giving them the gift of your own homemade bread in a cake carrier that they get to keep.
If you're a knitter, crocheter or other textile crafter who also bakes bread, wrap a cooled loaf in plastic or paper, then wrap a beautiful scarf or shawl around the outside, as added protection. If your speciality is fine lace or linen for table use, show off your skills. Get a beautiful basket, then line it with one of your textile creations. Stow your wrapped loaf of bread in the basket for gift-giving. If you know the bread will be eaten immediately, such as at a big family dinner, wrap the loaf while it is still warm from the oven.
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