Keeping Bread Fresh
Ideally, Bread Should be Stored at Room Temperature.
- Sliced and wrapped bread should always be kept in its wrapper. The ‘best before’ date will be displayed on the quick lock or wrapper.
- Bread is best stored in its original packaging, tightly closed with a quick lock or twist tie. Stored this way, most bread will keep fresh for several days at room temperature. In warm humid areas, where mold growth is a problem, it may be best to freeze the bread and defrost slices as needed.
- Wrapped bread may be kept in a freezer for up to three months.
- Crusty bread and rolls are best eaten on the day of purchase – French sticks will go stale after only a few hours.
- Unused crusty artisan bread will dry out and the crust will become chewy very quickly. Left over bread can be used in the next day or two for things like homemade croutons, gourmet French toast, cheese bread or buschetta.
Avoid storing bread in a refrigerator. The average temperature of most domestic refrigerators is about 41°F (5°C). This is the temperature at which bread stales most quickly. One day in the refrigerator is equivalent to three days at room temperature.
The freezer is the ideal place to store bread for keeping beyond its ‘best before’ date or when mold growth is a concern.
Wrapped bread will keep for up to three months in the freezer. Defrosting a loaf at room temperature can take a few hours; this can be speeded up by wrapping it in foil and placing it in a pre-heated oven.
HOW TO REFRESH BREAD
Crusty bread, rolls and buns which have become a little stale can be freshened by wrapping in foil and placing in a pre-heated oven at 450°F (250°C ) 5-10 minutes. The bread should be left in the foil to cool down and eaten soon afterwards because reheating causes it to dry out and go stale fairly quickly. When crusty bread has lost its crispness it can be placed uncovered in a hot oven for 5 minutes.
When a loaf stales, the crust starts to become leathery while the inside loses its softness. These changes can be temporarily reversed by warming in an oven, as described above, or by toasting.
Newly baked bread is free from mold. However, mold spores, which are always present in the air, can fall on the crust and mold may develop, particularly in warm/moist conditions. To delay this process, it is important to store bread, tightly closed, in its original wrapping.
from the Federation of Bakers