No matter what type of bread you love best, it all starts as a fragrant and steaming loaf fresh from the oven.
How do you keep it fresh enough to enjoy for days afterward? Use these top tips on how to store bread, as well as unbaked dough, so it is softer longer and retains its lovely homemade taste.
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🥣 How to store bread dough
You can store most yeast doughs in the refrigerator for up to three days. The cold temperature slows the rising time and usually increases the yeasty flavor of the bread.
Use a plastic container with a lid. Make sure it is large enough to allow the dough to rise without spilling over.
You may need to add a bit more yeast if you'll be holding it for an extended period.
Follow the recipe instructions through the shaping process.
- Place shaped dough in a loaf pan or other container that's been sprayed with non-stick spray.
- Lightly oil the top or brush with melted butter.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 24 hours.
- Bake as directed in the recipe. There's usually no need to let it rise more when it comes out of the refrigerator.
If you know you're going to freeze the dough unbaked add about ¼ teaspoon extra yeast to the recipe. This isn't absolutely necessary but I find that my frozen doughs rise and bake up better if I do.
🧊 How to Freeze shaped dough
For long-term storage, freeze the dough after shaping it. It will be fine for up to a month. After that the yeast starts to die off.
- Make the recipe through the shaping step.
- Place the shaped dough on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- Flash freeze.
- Wrap shaped dough tightly with plastic wrap.
- Freeze up to 1 month.
To thaw it, remove it from the freezer, and place it in the refrigerator overnight. If it is to be made in a pan be sure to fit the shaped dough into an oiled pan and cover with plastic wrap.
Let rise. It will likely take a bit longer to rise since it's cold.
Bake according to instructions.
🍞 What are the best ways to store bread
There are several ways to store baked bread.
You can keep it in the pantry or in the freezer. While many people keep bread in the refrigerator so it stays fresh longer, it is not the best way. Refrigeration can dry it out and make it hard.
🥐 How to store bread in the freezer
The freezer is a great way to keep baked bread fresh for up to three months.
To do this, wrap each loaf in plastic or waxed paper and place it in an airtight container or zip-top bag before freezing. When you’re ready to use it, thaw it at room temperature and serve it as soon as possible.
Try slicing the entire loaf before freezing. Then freeze the slices separately on a baking sheet before placing them in the freezer bag.
You can also put parchment paper between the slices.
This way, you can pull out just what you need for a single meal and won’t have to thaw an entire loaf every time.
🥖 How to store in the pantry
If you plan to use the bread within a few days, store it in the pantry.
Place the loaf in an airtight container or wrap it well with plastic wrap or use resealable plastic bags. Keep it at room temperature.
The bread will mold faster in a warm environment than it will in cooler temperatures.
Always store bread away from direct sunlight or heat sources. If you need to keep it in a warm spot, make sure to cover it so that the crust doesn’t become dry and hard.
💭 Things to know
- To keep your bread from going stale, store it in an airtight container and place a piece of cucumber or apple with it. The moisture from the fruit will help it stay soft for longer.
- If it gets too hard, you can revive it by spritzing it with a few drops of water and wrapping it in foil before placing it in a warm oven (300°F) for several minutes.
- Don't refrigerate! Time in the fridge will dry out your gorgeous loaf.
- Homemade bread molds very quickly so it's best to eat it or freeze it within a day or two.
- A good bread box is a must for keeping bread fresh and mold-free!
It depends on how you store it and the type. If you keep it in an airtight container or wrap it well and store it at room temperature, a loaf of homemade bread will only be good a couple of days while commercial loaves should last up to five days. If stored in the freezer, a loaf can stay fresh for up to three months.
Yes, bread can spoil if it is stored incorrectly or left out at room temperature for too long. It is best to use it within two days for the best results.
You can tell if it has gone bad by its smell and appearance. Bread that is moldy or has a sour odor should be thrown away. If the interior of the loaf looks dry, it's time to discard it as well.
📚 Recipes to try
Now that you know how to store bread properly try one of these recipes!