You have just baked a delicious loaf of bread. Here are my favorite 9 ways to keep your sourdough bread fresh.
If you have ever baked your own bread, you have probably been wondering about the best way to keep your beautiful sourdough bread fresh.
After you put all this time, effort, and love into making yummy homemade sourdough bread I am sure you want to do everything you can to keep it fresh for as long as possible.
Keep on reading because I am sharing with you my favorite ways how to get more out of your fresh-baked bread!
Which Breads Keeps the Longest?
Did you know that not all breads are created equal? These are the main types of bread:
Our grandparents knew that sourdough bread keeps fresh the longest. The acidity and good bacteria in a loaf of sourdough bread discourage unwanted organisms.
Next up you will find yeast breads. They will stay fresh for a few days on the counter. Also, check out how to keep them in the refrigerator or freezer below.
If you bake a bread with baking powder or baking soda (think Irish Soda Bread or even scones or muffins), I highly recommend eating it as soon as possible. It is actually best on the day you bake it but will keep longer if you store it in the fridge or freezer.
Store-bought bread will often last longer as food manufacturers are allowed to add certain preservatives that they may or not have to declare.
What about Bread Sizes?
Shapes and sizes do matter when it comes to storing your homemade bread.
While you can make my signature no-knead artisan bread as one big loaf, it will keep longer if you make two smaller loaves out of it. Of course, that requires baking them back-to-back in a smaller Dutch oven or baking it in 2 Dutch ovens at the same time.
I bake my German-style whole-grain bread about once every 10 days. Usually, I bake it in a loaf pan. That means you end up with a rectangular shape where every slice is almost the same size.
If you decide to bake one big loaf of bread at a time, you can always cut it in half. Then, you can keep one half on the counter to eat pretty much right away. The other half you can store in the freezer so that it keeps longer.
Keep It on the Counter
My top recommendation is always to enjoy your fresh bread within a couple of days. However, you do want to wait until the bread cools down to room temperature to allow the crumb to set.
However, then it is really the best. There is nothing better than a fresh slice of homemade bread with some butter, especially if it’s homemade butter, too. A sprinkling of real salt will really elevate the flavors.
If you won’t finish your bread in a day, check out ways how to keep it fresh on the counter.
Store your bread in a Linen Bag
This is actually my favorite method. The linen allows some airflow while absorbing some moisture.
You can either make your own very simple linen bread bag or purchase a bread cloth bag online. You can also simply wrap your sourdough loaf in a tea towel.
Put your Bread in a Paper Bag
This is what a lot of bakeries do: they put their loaves of bread in a paper bag. You can either invest in buying some simple brown paper bags. Or reuse them if they are still clean and good to use.
Store it in a Stone Crock
Another great option is keeping fresh sourdough bread in a stone crock. I love using the very one that my grandparents used all the time for my whole-grain sourdough bread. It is easy to use because we bake this bread in a loaf pan.
Keeping your bread in a stone crock allows for some air circulation so that mold spores can’t settle on the outside. Just make sure to place your bread inside the crock with the cut side face down.
If you use a stone crock, I recommend you wash the inside with a white vinegar solution about once a week and dry it very well. That way you will get ahead of any mold growth.
Keep it in a Bread Box
A traditional bread box might be a bit more accommodating to different shapes of bread. On the other hand, it takes up more real estate on your kitchen counter.
However, I recommend treating it just like a stone crock: rinse it with a white vinegar solution about once a week. Then be sure to thoroughly dry it before placing your bread inside.
Wrap it in Beeswax Wrap
Of all these other methods, this is the one I use the least. However, I do want to mention it since it is a good one.
You can easily make your own beeswax wrap in the size you need or purchase one online. Storing your bread in a beeswax wrap or bag will keep it just as well as in a stone crock or bread box.
Keep it in the Oven
This might be controversial but hear me out!
The real estate on my kitchen counter is precious. Therefore, I don’t normally use a stone crock or bread box.
What I will do is wrap my bread in a linen bread bag and store it in my oven. That works for me since I am pretty much the only person who cooks and uses the oven. If I do want to use my oven, I always remember to remove the bread from it before preheating it.
If you live in a household where a lot of other people cook and use the oven, this may not be a very practical method.
Just like with keeping a sourdough starter in the oven with the light on, I have heard many stories of baked sourdough starters or charred loaves of bread. Oops! So you decide whether this method makes sense for you and your household or not!
Store it in the Freezer
If you know that you will not be able to eat your bread in a few days, it is a good idea to store it in the freezer.
Slice Your Bread before Freezing
If you live in a small household or just want a slice of bread here and there, it is best to slice bread before freezing.
You can then just take individual slices out and thaw them or toast them in your toaster.
I recommend you tightly wrap your bread in a heavy-duty freezer bag or place it in an airtight container.
That way it will keep in the freezer for about XXX months.
Freeze Your Whole Loaf of Bread
Sometimes, you might choose to freeze the entire loaf. Either because you want to keep it for a long time. Or because you have a larger family and will use it up pretty quickly once thawed.
For the best results, I recommend freezing your bread while it is still slightly warm. Wrap it tightly in a plastic bag or plastic wrap. You can also place it in an airtight container.
To thaw, you can place the frozen bread in the refrigerator overnight or on the counter.
Keep it in the Refrigerator
This is another controversial one. There are a lot of people who will tell you not to store sourdough bread in the refrigerator. Their argument is that it makes your bread stale and dry.
While I agree that it is not the optimal method to store your sourdough bread, it is actually the one I use the most.
You see, I am pretty much the only one who eats my whole-grain sourdough bread in my family. Therefore, I keep it in the refrigerator after a few days. Usually, I can keep my bread in my oven longer in the winter. In the warm summer, I move my bread to the fridge on day 3 or so.
I simply place it in a plastic bag. In the morning, I cut however many slices I need, and return the bread to the fridge.
I’d rather have bread that is a bit on the stale side than have it go moldy!
What to Do with Stale Bread
There are a lot of things you can do with leftover sourdough bread or stale bread so never throw it out!
You can read my favorite tips on what to do with your stale bread.