Test Kitchen tips: Storing bread
Whether you bake a lot of bread, buy from a favorite bakery or get your loaves from the supermarket, knowing how to properly store your bread can delay staling and help it to last longer.
Store the bread in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. Store your bread in a bread box if you have one, or keep the bread in it's original packaging (whether plastic or paper). The shelf life of bread will vary by type, but should keep anywhere from 2 days up to a week.
If the bread is still warm from baking, give the bread time to cool before storing it -- wrapping the bread while it is still warm can trap excess moisture, causing it to go soft, even moldy.
You can also freeze bread. Bread will keep, tightly wrapped in foil or plastic, up to a few months. Thaw the bread before using (you can toast frozen bread slices straight out of the freezer).
Whatever you do, don't refrigerate your bread -- refrigeration can actually cause the bread to stale (called starch retrogradation) faster.
To refresh a loaf of bread, warm it in an oven, or toast the slices.
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-- Noelle Carter
Photo credit: Stephen Osman / Los Angeles Times.