A look at all the ways to store sourdough bread: from bread bags to freezing to using a bread box.
When you first start baking sourdough bread, you are into it. Your sourdough starter is like a family member. Every loaf is a treasure that gets admired and eaten right away. But as you bake more and more, you start you realize something: you have a lot of bread. And you aren’t entirely sure what to do with it. Eating a whole loaf in two days is, let’s face it, a bit much.
Here’s the best way to store all those homemade loaves, so they stay fresh and beautiful.
Out on the counter, covered with a tea towel
This is perfectly acceptable, especially for short term storage.
Sourdough bread will keep longer than other types of homemade bread, because the acidity adds natural preservatives. I don’t know everything about the science behind this, but it is absolutely true.
With no special care, a loaf of homemade sourdough will be just fine on the counter at room temperature, for longer than you might think. It might dry out a little, but it will not mold for many days. Just keep the cut side down on a plate and cover it with a tea towel. Easy!
And of course, sourdough bread that’s a little stale can still be used. Slice it and pop it in the toaster and you can hardly tell the difference. You can also reheat the bread in a warm oven and it will become softer (for a short period of time).
For longer term keeping of your bread
There are a few storage methods that will extend the shelf life of your loaf. There is no real best way to store bread, just the way that words best for you.
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Freezing your sourdough loaf is the best way to keep it fresh for an extended period of time. “Long term” is not exactly the right way to put it. But, a baked loaf will keep very well in the freezer for at least a couple months.
Some keys to sourdough bread freezing success:
- Wait for your bread to completely cool before wrapping and freezing. Even a slightly warm loaf will cause condensation to form and ruin thee texture of the crust.
- Simply placing the bread in a freezer bag is fine, but wrapping it in plastic wrap first is even better.
- A cut loaf does not freeze as well as a whole loaf. The crust protects the interior very well.
- BUT! The most convenient method of storing the freezer is to slice your loaf and freeze the slices. That way you can just take out what you need. This will make great toast.
- Label the bag that you place your loaves in, and don’t forget about them! If they stay in the freezer too long, they will be wasted.
????????? Need more bread recipes? Browse my archives of sourdough breads.
In a bread box
If you have the counter space to spare, try a bread box. They are specially designed to let in the right amount of air circulation that keeps mold from growing but still keeps the bread fresh. You will get the best quality bread using this method, without question.
You are also store your other homemade sourdough goodies, like blueberry muffins made with discard!
(If I had to pick a best way to store bread, this would be it! It’s my favorite.)
Make sure the box you pick is just not a loaf-sized decorative tin. You want one specially designed to store homemade bread. Look for good air circulation.
For the best results, don’t slice bread before storing. You can sometimes find a bread box with a cutting board and knife attached you so can cut a slice right there.
Some bread boxes that you’ll love:
- This one has two levels and lets you put all your homemade loaves inside. It is designed with a window so you can see what you have in one glance. It has great farmhouse charm and is super practical.
- If you need something more compact, this clear plastic model is a great place to store a single sourdough sandwich loaf, but it won’t hold a large boule. Keep in mind your favorite recipes and their size before you buy a box.
In a cloth bag
This is a great way to store homemade bread. The bags are reusable, eco-friendly, and you can tuck them anywhere. You can tuck your loaves in a drawer, in the pantry, or just leave them on the counter.
You’ll want a shorter and wider bread bag to easily hold a round sourdough loaf, like this linen bag.
Some downsides to this method? You’ll have to occasionally wash the bag, which is annoying. And if you’re like me, you have a tendency to tuck your bread into a drawer and forget about it!
If you bake a lot of bread, you might give it away a lot and even sell it. So it’s handy to have packaging on hand that you won’t mind not getting back.
You can absolutely use these disposable bags to store your bread loaves at home too. But the cost adds up over time. If you have a real home bakery, you’ll want to buy these in bulk from a commercials supplier. For the occasional gifter or seller of bread, these are perfect.
- These plastic bread bags with ties are the right size for sandwich bread, rolls, or smaller baguettes.
- A brown paper bag is ideal for transporting bigger loaves. This kind has a clear plastic insert that allows you to see the bread.
- Of course, you can simply wrap your bread in aluminum foil or even plastic wrap. The air circulation is not ideal, but it will do in a pinch.
What if you don’t want to store the leftovers?
Sometimes you’re just done with a loaf and you want it gone. So try these methods to use up your artisan bread, rather than waste it.
- Run some cubes of bread through a food processor to make bread crumbs. Stale bread works best for this, so it’s a great way to use loaves a bit past their prime.
- Chop into big cubes, toss with melted butter and garlic salt, and bake for 20 minutes, or until crisp for homemade sourdough croutons.
- Make a breakfast casserole that uses a lot of bread. This recipe is a great one.
- If all else fails, feed your bread to the birds. It feels better than throwing it out.
- The fridge. It does not preserve the freshness of your loaves and actually makes them go stale faster. The fridge is like a giant drying machine and has no advantages over room temperature storage.
- A plastic bag on the counter. It will change the texture of your crust and make it much softer. Also, most loaves are too big to fit in a gallon-sized freezer bag. If you prefer a softer crust, this method may work for you. Look for plastic bread bags that will hold a homemade loaf.
And there you have it!
It’s not rocket science but I do hope these instructions were helpful to you. Enjoy your sourdough loaves, eat them, and store them well.