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How to Store Fresh-baked Bread Like a Pro

Milk Bread Babka

How long does bread last? Where should I store bread? Do breadboxes work?

There’s no shortage of questions when it comes to storing your freshly baked  loaf of yeasty goodness. And you’ve come to the right place for answers. Bread is our passion, and we’re eager to share all our tips on how to keep bread fresh as long as possible.

How long does bread last before going stale?

The answer to that question hinges in part on the bread type. Enriched breads (think brioche or a cinnamon roll) stay fresh longer than their leaner counterparts (think a baguette or ciabatta). That’s because enriched doughs contain more fat and sugar — components that positively impact bread’s water retention. Fats also provide a more tender bite.

That said, homemade bread stored at room temperature (more on that shortly) typically lasts two to four days. Store-bought breads stay good a bit longer — usually around a week — thanks to ingredients like enzymes, emulsifiers and gums that can extend their shelf life.

Where to store bread in the kitchen

The freezer

The freezer is the best option for storing any type of bread that won’t be consumed quickly. Freezing slows staling and brings the molding processes to a halt, keeping your bread fresh for weeks or even months. For best results, we recommend wrapping your bread in plastic wrap or foil, then placing it in a self-sealing freezer bag. Ensure the bread is completely cooled before wrapping it in plastic wrap.

But be wary of long-term freezer storage. Over time, the freeze/thaw cycle of a freezer can impact the water within the loaf, causing freezer burn. Don’t store bread in the freezer for longer than three months.

At room temperature

Your next best option is to store bread at room temperature, preferably in a dry area away from direct sunlight or heat. Mold thrives when temperatures are above 70°F. Therefore, you should keep bread away from direct sunlight or appliances that give off heat or steam.

Avoid the fridge

You might be tempted to store your bread in the fridge. Don’t do it. Yes, refrigeration can extend the shelf life of your bread, but it also accelerates the staling process, quickly turning your fragrant, tender bread into a leathery, flavorless loaf. Unless your bread contains meat or other perishable foods, avoid the fridge.

Best ways to package your bread

Packaging also makes a big difference in how long you’re able to keep a French baguette fresh or prevent homemade buns from molding at room temperature. It can also be a bit of a balancing act.

Bag it up

On one hand, trapping too much moisture promotes rapid mold growth. On the other hand, too much airflow will quickly dry out your bread. Your best bet is to keep bread in a plastic bag that permits some airflow.

Recognize, however, that a crusty loaf is likely to soften with this method. If you want to maintain that crusty texture, consider storing your bread in a paper bag, but plan to eat it quickly and/or freeze any leftovers.  

Store it in a breadbox

A breadbox or bread bin offers another layer of protection, but it’s still wise to wrap your bread for to retain moisture. Storing the bread cut side down or saving a heel to cover the end can also help keep the crumb from drying out.

To slice or not to slice?

Sliced bread is more prone to mold, so slice the loaf as you go to preserve freshness. However, if you plan to freeze your bread, slicing it before freezing allows you to easily take what you need and leave the rest in the freezer.

Bread gone stale? Revive it!

Despite your best efforts, there will be times when bread dries out before you’ve had a chance to enjoy it. Try one of these methods:

  • Wrap the bread in a damp paper towel and microwave for 10-30 seconds.
  • Drizzle water over the crust to lightly dampen the exterior. Set the oven to 450°F and warm the bread for 10 minutes.
  • Spritz the bread with water and wrap it in foil. Set the oven to 300°F and reheat the bread for 15 minutes.

You can also repurpose stale bread. It’s perfect for French toast, bread pudding, croutons, holiday stuffing, casseroles and the list goes on.  


You can also recrust bread that’s gotten a bit too soft in the bag. Recrusting is also a great way to recapture the fresh-baked texture and smell of bread you baked and froze a while ago.

Start by partially uncovering and defrosting the bread (if applicable). After thawing, remove bread from any plastic wrap or freezer bag. If the bread has already been sliced, cover the cut side with foil. Then, place the loaf directly on the rack of an oven heated to 300°F. Bake large loaves for roughly 10 minutes; shorten bake times for smaller loaves accordingly.

Note: The recrusting process should only be done once.

Better your baking

When you’ve baked something delicious, you want to keep it fresh to the very last bite. We hope this article leaves you more confident you’re storing your bread the best way possible.

Looking for even more ways to shore up your baking skills? Learn more about why bread goes stale and ways to slow it during storage.


Fresh-baked Bread Recipes

Explore these bread recipes you can make from scratch.

Review & Comments

Susan Jeanblanc | Reply

I left a comment in the contact area so hopefully it gets read. I love the Platinum Instant Yeast. It’s the best yeast I’ve used. I bake bread almost every weekend. My bread has turned out perfect everytime. When I used other yeast in the past, I always seem to have had problems with rising. I just can’t say enough good stuff about the Platinum Yeast. It’s perfect! Thanks Red Star for an awesome product.

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