How to Store Homemade Bread

Homemade bread doesn’t usually contain any preservatives, so you can’t keep it around for as long as you can keep usual, store-bought bread. If you store it in a bread box or a purpose-built ceramic container, though, it’s going to stay fresh longer than it otherwise would!

For all intents and purposes, homemade bread can generally be treated like any other bread, with the main caveat being the obvious fact that it is baked at one’s home, and hasn’t been treated with preservatives of any kind. At least, this is the case with most recipes we’ve kept track of.

How to Store Homemade Bread

How to Store Homemade Bread Properly

Much as we recommended in the case of regular bread, here, too, we’d advise you to get a nice little bread box (like this one) to keep your homemade bread in. Naturally, make sure that you get one that’s big enough to fit the loaves you bake – that ought to be a given.

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A fancier alternative to the regular, garden-variety bread box, though, would be one of the many ceramic bread boxes we’ve seen around (ACK makes a good one). These are not only incredible pieces of eye-catching pottery, but they also do a pretty stellar job of keeping bread fresh for longer stretches of time.

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We also like this Joseph Joseph one, because it doubles as a cutting board!

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Namely, the goal of any given bread box is to provide bread with just enough air to prevent the mold from growing, while keeping dust, moisture, and unruly insects well away from it. Whether you end up going with a more modern aluminum box or with the classy ceramic one, the results will be pretty much equivalent.

Can I Refrigerate Homemade Bread?

If you don’t have a bread box at hand, you may wish to refrigerate your homemade bread instead. We did recommend against doing so with regular, store-bought kinds of bread, and we’ll do the same thing here: if you refrigerate your bread, it’s going to dry out faster.

Thing is, though, that even dry homemade bread can be put to good use. Make croutons, turn it into delicious aftermarket toast, or use it to bolster a stuffing that you just can’t seem to otherwise get right. There are many uses one could have for homemade bread, really.

If you live in a particularly humid environment and don’t mind your loaf drying out, then the fridge may be a decent consideration after all.

Can I Freeze Homemade Bread?

Homemade bread can be frozen, and if done properly, this process should avoid the drying-out issue that refrigeration would otherwise cause.

First, let your loaf cool off after baking, and then cut it into slices and/or pieces that are small enough to be stored in whatever plastic freezer bags you might have lying around. These are always a safe bet. These bags are likely to get you the best results when attempting to freeze homemade bread.

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Now, the thing to keep in mind here is that the way you take the bread out of the freezer seems to be more important than how you put it in.

Namely, once you’ve taken your freezer bag full of delicious homemade bread out of the freezer, you need to let it thaw at room temperature and open it slightly so as to let the moisture escape. This process will be shorter according to the size of the cuts: the smaller bits, the faster the thaw.

How to Store Homemade Bread

How Long Can Homemade Bread be Safely Stored?

The exact longevity of your loaf of homemade bread will depend on what you made it out of, but for the most part, you can expect to get about two or three days’ worth of shelf-life if you keep it in a bread box. That’s without it going stale, mind.

Refrigerated, homemade bread will easily keep for about a week at a time. Though, again – and we cannot stress this enough – it will dry out really quickly, effectively going stale sooner than it otherwise might have.

If frozen, however, homemade bread should be eaten within 6 to 8 weeks, which will give you more than enough time to munch on it to your heart’s content.

How Would I Know if My Homemade Bread Has Gone Stale?

As is the case with any other kind of store-bought bread, homemade kinds basically turn stale when they harden, dry out, and lose their signature crunch. If your loaf is exposed to an excess of moisture, you’re going to get mold growing on it. This is bad news all around, so try to keep your bread in a container, as we previously discussed.

Is There a Way to Turn Stale Homemade Bread Crusty Again?

The good news about stale bread is that you can kind of sort of return it to its glorious crusty crispiness if you re-bake it properly.

Preheat your oven to about 325°F (160°C) and put your loaf or cut pieces of bread to bake directly on the rack. You want to leave it in for about 5-7 minutes, and though we can’t promise you’ll get your homemade bread just as it was the day before, it’s going to be close enough to matter.

Storage Mistakes We’ve Made With Homemade Bread

The biggest mistake anyone can make with homemade bread is to throw it away as soon as it goes stale. Don’t do that!

Instead, there’s a veritable wealth of stale bread recipes available online that’ll help you get the most out of your loaf, no matter how dry or hard it might have turned. From croutons all the way to crackers, there’s a bunch of delicious stuff you can make with stale bread.

Keep Your Homemade Bread Fresh Longer!

For all intents and purposes, you can treat all kinds of bread in virtually the same way. This, of course, includes homemade bread, too. The only real difference between homemade and store-bought loaves is that store-bought ones are likely to keep better than homemade ones would.

As we’ve just explained, though, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a few days’ worth of shelf-life out of any bread you have. Besides, how likely is homemade bread to be around for weeks at a time, anyway? It’s delicious, isn’t it? Get to munching!