In todays post, I want to show you the best ways to keep homemade bread fresh for as long as possible.
Including tips on what you can add to your bread to improve freshness, how you can store it and a comparison of the latest products designed for bread storage.
We’ll also explore some non-plastic and re-usable alternatives and whether they are any good.
Best ways to keep homemade bread fresher for longer
As well as added ingredients, there are ways you can store your bread to keep it fresher for longer.
Once the loaf is cut it will need to be stored in a way that stops the inside of the bread fresh and where possible retaining a crispy crust for as long as possible.
Here are some methods which I have tried and tested at various stages once the bread has been baked:
Freeze freshly made bread
Freezing fresh bread if you’re not going to use it straight away is probably one of the most obvious ways of keeping the bread fresh.
By freezing it fresh, it will still be fresh when you defrost it at a later stage.
I like to slice the bread first, place the bread into freezer bags in small batches and then defrost as you need it.
Find out more about freezing homemade bread in the following post:
Does homemade bread freeze well?
Slice and wrap bread in small batches
I have a large family, so when I make a loaf of bread it tends to go in 24 hours. Once I cut into the bread, I slice up the whole loaf and seal up the slices in a sandwich bag.
Although some of the crispness is lost, this would happen naturally anyway, I find this method works well for keeping the bread soft.
Pre-slicing the bread saves on mess each time you want a slice of bread and it saves time.
Best products for keeping bread fresh
There are many products out there which claim to keep bread fresher for longer, but are they any good?
I’ve put together a quick table which outlines the products you can buy and whether they actually work.
Below the table are some of the best products which I recommend if you’re looking to buy.
|Product type||Best for||Freshness rating|
|Bread Bin||All breads||4.5/5|
|Paper bags||All breads||4.5/5|
TIP: Not sure if you have all the necessary bread baking equipment at home? Check out my recommended picks below (Amazon links):
- Scale: Nicewell 22lb Digital Kitchen Scale
- Mixing Bowls: OXO Stainless Mixing Bowls Set
- Pastry Scraper: OXO Stainless Pastry Scraper
- Loaf Pan: OXO Non-stick Loaf Pan
- Kitchen Thermometer: ThermoPro Digital Thermometer
- Stand Mixer (optional): Kenwood Kmix Stand Mixer
Recommended products for keeping bread fresh – available from Amazon
Large paper bread bags – paper bags are a great alternative to plastic and work better than most cloth bags which tend to the air through to the bread. They can also be reused a few times providing they don’t get wet and can be recycled too.
Large plastic bread bags – Although these are plastic they are probably the best way to keep bread fresher for longer. Available in packs of 100 with ties to seal up the bag. Can be reused a few times, but not suitable for home freezing.
Large Brabantia bread bin – Available in up to 12 colours and in large or medium sizes. I like this bread bin because it looks neat on the worktop and takes up less space because it has a roll top. It closes with a nice seal to maintain freshness.
Large Sistema plastic bread box – this box creates an airtight seal which does an excellent job at keeping homemade bread fresh. It’s not very attractive, but if you have space to keep the box in a cupboard, it’s worth buying.
What ingredients make homemade bread stay fresh for longer?
1 – Fat
Adding fat to dough not only makes the dough softer, it also acts as a natural preservative and helps to keep the bread softer for longer.
The type of fat you use in bread dough is personal preference, but as a rule of thumb I tend to use butter for traditional loaves and rolls and olive oil for Italian breads, pizza and bread sticks.
Some bread recipes use lard as the fat in bread, lard is very soft and works well in baking.
The amount of fat you add to your dough mix depends on the recipe, generally it’s around 30-40g per 500g of flour.
Using oil to knead dough also helps to keep it lubricated and prevents the dough from becoming too dry by adding more flour to the mix.
2 – Milk
Although milk doesn’t act as a preservative, it does help to create a softer dough to begin with which means it will take longer to dry out.
You can make bread using all milk instead of water or you can replace some of the water with milk.
Some recipes recommend using milk powder instead of milk, this has the same affect, but will need to be mixed with water.
Honey is said to have its own antibacterial properties which can keep homemade bread fresher for longer.
Other benefits of using honey instead of sugar are flavour and it helps to create a crispy crust.
Honey is also thought to assist performance of the yeast as yeast is found naturally in honey.
If you’re going to try using honey in bread making, it’s best to buy a good quality organic honey rather than a cheap processed version.
You will need to add about 2 teaspoons of honey to your dough mix per 500g of flour.
4 – Vinegar
Vinegar is widely used in food preservation so it makes sense that it may prolong bread freshness.
Adding vinegar to the dough mix helps to increase yeast productivity and creates a softer loaf which stays fresher for longer.
The type of vinegar you use is up to you, I would generally add cider or white wine vinegar so the colour of the bread isn’t impacted.
Use around one tablespoon of vinegar per 500g of flour. This amount shouldn’t have any effect on the bread’s flavour.
I hope this post has given you some tips on the best ways to keep homemade bread fresh – ultimately homemade bread is best eaten as fresh as possible, but if you need to keep it for longer then experiment with what works best for you.
The good news is, stale homemade bread has many uses and it also makes the best toast, so don’t worry if things go wrong!
You may also like the following posts for ways to use stale or leftover bread: