You may not have this problem, but we are only a 2 person household. I love to bake bread but we can’t eat the entire loaf in 2 days. I find after 2 days the bread is really too stale and not nice to eat. How do you keep your homemade bread fresh longer?
Well, my solution has always been to binge on fresh hot slices drizzled with honey right when it comes out of the oven. That way we only have half a loaf to finish up before it goes stale!
If you’re not a glutton like me, here are some things you can do to lengthen the life of your homemade bread.
If your recipe calls for sugar, use honey instead. Honey acts as a natural preservative and keeps the crumb tender for a bit longer.
Freeze it. Presuming you are eating your bread sliced and toasted, freezing it is a good solution. Wait for your fresh loaf to cool completely, then slice it and double bag it. It can keep for several weeks in the freezer - just pull out the slices and toast as you need them.
Buy a bread box. Refrigerating your bread is one of the worst things you can do for its quality; it will go stale very quickly. Keeping it in a plastic bag on the counter is no good either - it will “breathe” and create too much moisture and get moldy. A breadbox is a great solution and looks nice on your countertop as well. However, it will probably only extend your bread’s life by another day or two.
Embrace the staleness. The problem of stale bread has been tackled myriad ways with some awesome recipes for french toast, savory bread puddings, and both sweet (strawberry) and more traditional panzanella recipes. Once you start looking at stale bread as an ingredient, you’ll look forward to tossing the odds and ends into the freezer for later use!
Store your dough, not your bread. I highly recommend the Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day bread baking technique. Basically, you make a large batch of dough (it has a different consistency than regular bread dough), let it rise once, and then store it in your fridge. Then, as you have need for fresh bread, take out however much dough you need, let it rise again, and bake it. You can make slice-loaf bread, free-form artisan loaves, even pizzas out of the same batch of dough over the course of 2 or 3 weeks. It’s brilliant!