Stale bread in your pantry? Don't turf it. Re-bake it for that fresh-out-of-the-oven experience or use the stale bread slices or chunks in recipes.
Bridget Hugo from BreadBread Bakery in Brixton and Farmdrop reveal how best to store your bread, and more:
How to make sourdough bread last longer
Never know the best way to store bread? If stored properly, traditional sourdough bread (the proper stuff that is, that’s been fermented slowly and is full of natural acidity) can last four to five days.
Founder of BreadBread bakery in Brixton, Bridget Hugo has been working with slow 24-hour fermentation since she created the sourdough pizza base at Franco Manca. Here she reveals her expert tips for storing your sourdough bread loaf and keep it fresher for longer.
Did you know, the natural acidity of sourdough bread discourages bacteria, so it takes longer than yeasted bread to develop mould? Each loaf baked at BreadBread is a ‘slow’ product. It’s been treated with respect and given ample time to develop into the tastiest, most digestible bread. Our slow-made sourdough is particularly stable, which means it keeps especially well.
The best way to store bread is…
Ideally, you should store your loaf in a cotton bread bag or wrapped in a large tea towel, so that the bread can ‘breathe’. Leave your bread in a relatively cool place so it can maintain normal ambient moisture levels.
It is not recommended to store bread in the fridge. A fridge is an extremely dry environment and will harden the bread quickly.
Storing bread in a plastic bag is also not ideal particularly in a warm place as the bag may cause ‘sweating’. Moisture and warmth encourages bacteria.
If you have several loaves to store, wrap them in clingfilm and put in a cool place. For longer term storage place cling-wrapped bread in the freezer.
Try re-baking your bread
No bread is ever ‘fresh’ for long. The loveliest bread is eaten just-cooled, about 2 to 6 hours after it has been removed from the oven. After that, the crust will become either soft and flakey, or dry and brittle or simply tough and dull – depending on the bread type and age of the bread.
Not everyone is lucky enough to live near a bakery offering fresh loaves. However, you can replicate that fresh-out-the-oven experience simply by re-baking your loaf in your oven at home, a much-overlooked trick! Though easy to execute, it takes a bit of planning.
Surprisingly, it takes about the same length of time to re-bake bread as it takes to bake bread from the raw dough, albeit at a much lower temperature. You also need to time for the loaf to cool down again. Hot bread, like crazy paving, is not all it is cracked up to be. The starches, when heated, revert to their original state and are less digestible, so you should leave it at least one hour to cool. This means you will need to get your bread in the oven a couple of hours before you need it.
Re-baking your loaf both refreshes your bread and your options on how you use or present it.