11  Storing bread

In this chapter you will discuss different methods of storing your bread, each with their own pro and cons. This way your bread can be best enjoyed at a later time.

A summary can be found in Table 11.1, with details and explanation in th rest of this chapter.




Room temperature

The easiest option. Best for bread that is eaten within a day. Crust typically stays crisp when humidity not too high.

Bread dries out very quickly.

Room temperature in airtight container

Good for up to a week.

Bread needs to be toasted for crust to become crisp again. Catches mold more quickly


Bread stays good for weeks. Can dry out a little bit when not using air-tight container.

Bread needs to be toasted. Requires fridge and energy.


Bread stays good for years.

Requires thawing and then toasting. Requires freezer and energy.

Table 11.1: A table visualizing the advantages and disadvantages of different bread storing options.

11.1  Room temperature

The most common method is to store your bread at room temperature. After taking a slice of bread, store your bread with the crumb facing side downwards.

This method works great if you want to eat your bread within a day. The crust stays crisp and does not become soft.1 The biggest downside to this method is that the bread becomes hard quickly. As time progresses, more and more water evaporates from your dough’s crumb. Ultimately, the bread will become very hard and impossible to eat. The more water you use to make the bread, the longer the bread stays good. A low-hydration recipe can dry out after 1–2 days; a high-hydration bread needs 3–4 days to dry out.

Once your bread has dried out, you can run it under tap water for around 10 to 15 seconds. This water bath allows the crumb’s starch to absorb a lot of water. Proceed and bake your bread again in the oven. The resulting loaf will be almost as good as new again.

Another option for dried-out bread is to use it to make breadcrumbs. These bread crumbs can be mixed into subsequent loaves. They can also be used as base ingredients for other recipes such as Knödel.2

11.2  Room temperature in a container

Just like the previous option, you can also store your bread inside a container. This could be a paper bag, a plastic bag, or a bread storage box. The paper bag and most bread boxes are not fully sealed, allowing some of the air to diffuse out of the container. This also means that the bread will slightly dry out.

When using a sealed bag such as a plastic bag, the bread will retain a lot of moisture. The bread will stay good for a longer period. However, at the same time, the crust will also lose its crispness. Some of the water diffuses into the bag and is then re-absorbed by the crust. If you want the crisp crust, the best option is to toast your bread.

Another problem with storage containers is natural mold contamination. The moment your bread is taken out of the oven it starts being contaminated with aerial mold spores. The spores are microscopically small and are everywhere. The mold spores grow best in a humid environment. By placing your dough in a container you have created a mold paradise. A plain yeast-based dough will start to mold within a few days like this. The sourdough-based bread stays good for a longer period as the acidity is a natural mold inhibitor.

11.3  Fridge

In my own experience storing bread inside the fridge works well as long as you use a sealed container, even if some sources say that the bread dries out inside of the fridge [16]. Supposedly the fridge encourages liquid from the crumb to migrate to the bread’s surface.

In my experience though, the trick is to use a sealable container. With a sealable ziplock bag, the excess humidity will stay in the bag and ensures that the bread does not dry out as quickly. At room temperature, this would cause your bread to mold. At lower temperatures, the bread can stay good like this for weeks. The crust however, will lose its crispness and thus toasting is advised.

11.4  Freezing

Another great option for long-term storage is to use your freezer. Slice up the whole loaf and create portions that you can consume within a day. Store each portion in a separate container and place them inside your freezer.

When you want to eat fresh bread, open one of the containers in the morning and allow the bread to thaw over a few hours. This is needed so you can easily separate the frozen-together slices. Toast the slices in your toaster or bake them in the oven until they have the crispness that you like.

This option is great for very long-term storage. Personally I like having a few slices of bread frozen as an emergency backup when I have had no time to bake.

A 2008 study hints that there might be some health benefits to freezing and toasting your bread. By doing so the starch molecules could become more resistant to digestion and thus lower your body’s blood sugar response by almost 40% [23].

1The higher the humidity in your room, the faster the crust will become soft.

2Knödel is an Austrian dish that uses old bread as a basis. Breadcrumbs and day-old bread are mixed with eggs, and sometimes spinach or ham are added. The batter is then boiled in salty water.