I don’t know about you, but I cannot live without bread in my pantry, so I can quickly take it out whenever I crave a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a slice of grilled cheese for breakfast.
However, there are a few things you need to know to store your bread and maintain freshness.
Bread Shelf Life
Each type of bread has a different shelf life. Banana bread and other loaves containing eggs or butter have longer shelf life than leaner ones like French bread.
This is because fat is a natural preservative that helps the bread preserve or freeze for long periods.
The type of flour used to make the loaf also matters. For instance, because almond flour has a higher fat content, the bread made with it will likely last longer in your pantry than bread made with all-purpose flour.
- Note: Store-bought bread lasts 5-7 days, while homemade bread lasts for 3-5 days at room temperature.
The shelf life of the bread also depends on where you store it, which leads to the next point.
Best Place to Store Bread
The perfect way to store bread is at room temperature in a dark, dry, and cool place, like a pantry, bread box, or drawer.
I recommend keeping your bread sealed in its packaging to retain moisture. If you don’t have the bread’s original packaging, wrap it in aluminum foil or plastic wrap.
However, one drawback to storing the bread in a pantry is that it will be out of sight, making it harder for you to notice any mold growing on the bread. The danger of ingesting mold cannot be underestimated, producing harmful mycotoxins that cause digestive upset or other illnesses (source).
You also don’t want to feed this to animals because mycotoxins can also sicken them.
Please don’t even think about storing your bread in the fridge. When it comes to preserving bread, the fridge has the opposite effect of what it’s supposed to do: it speeds up the staleness of the bread.
Due to a process called ‘retrogradation,’ caused by the fridge’s low temperatures, your bread can stale up to 3 times faster in a fridge than in a pantry!
Never place bread on top of a fridge, microwave, or any other appliance that produces heat or light unless you want your bread to dry out and grow mold in no time!
Keeping the bread in these places causes plastic-bagged bread to grow mold faster and paper-bagged bread to lose moisture and dry out, leaving you with either a disgusting moldy loaf or a miserable, unchewable loaf.
What About the Freezer?
Freezing is one of the best ways to preserve many loaves of bread for a long time.
Any extra bread should be put in the freezer after a few days of keeping it in your pantry. However, nothing beats freshly-baked bread, and storing your bread for a short period in your pantry is the best short-term way to preserve its freshness.
Freezing lowers the temperature and prevents the bread from getting stale. If I have an extra product, I like to freeze it instead of storing it in the pantry for long-term storage.
Freezing is also a great way to keep the bread from forming mold. You can freeze bread in its original packaging, freezer-safe plastic bags, or thick aluminum foil.
Also, pre-slice your bread before freezing because it will thaw faster than whole loaves. But if you want to freeze this gorgeous loaf of bread whole, make sure to allow yourself enough time to defrost before enjoying it.
Zip-lock bags are an excellent option for storing all the bread you haven’t finished. To make it easier to remove slices one at a time, I recommend using a piece of wax paper in between each slice.
- Note: Freezing is an excellent way to prevent mold growth. But if mold is already on the bread, it won’t do more than make mold dormant while in the freezer; it won’t kill it.
Breadboxes for Storing Bread
Breadboxes or bread bins are containers made of wood, stainless steel, ceramic, or clear plastic, which are designed to keep bread fresh for longer.
The boxes feature tiny holes that don’t allow much air to circulate, preventing mold growth. It’s a great way to add style to your kitchen and keep your bread fresh.
These boxes were kitchen staples until manufacturers started to produce bread with food preservatives.
But breadboxes are here to stay, and they’re still a great way to preserve the freshness of your bread in the pantry! They also come in many stunning shapes and sizes, so you shouldn’t have a problem fitting at least 1 breadbox into your pantry.
Airtight Containers Can Also Do the Job!
If you want a simpler and cheaper way to store bread in your pantry, airtight containers are the way to go.
Some air containers allow you to mix sliced bread, loaves, and rolls in one place, which is excellent if you don’t have the biggest pantry in the world and want to save up some space.
However, avoid storing freshly-baked bread in airtight containers before it’s cooled to prevent mold formation.
Eco-friendly Option: Reusable Bags
Another great way to store bread in your pantry is to put it in a reusable bread bag. You can find tons of them on the market that come in beautiful shapes and suitable sizes. They’re also machine washable and freezer-safe.
Reusable bags act like paper bags since they’re made of breathable materials but with no waste. So, ditch those easily-torn paper bags, take your reusable bag with you to the store or bakery, and toss the bread right in!
Storing bread in your pantry is super easy yet tricky, so pay attention to the storage tips and tricks I mentioned if you want to do it properly and ensure zero waste.
I hope this small guide helps you preserve your loaf for as long as possible so you and your family can enjoy it to the last slice!
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