After working hard to maintain an active starter and bake delicious bread with it, you don’t want it to go to waste! Here’s some advice for how to store homemade sourdough bread multiple ways. Find which way is right for your home and keep your bread fresher longer!
Becoming confident with using sourdough wild yeast to bake loaves of bread is a wonderful skill. Filling your home with the aroma of freshly baked bread makes all of the effort well worth it.
If you want to learn how to make your own sourdough starter and fresh sourdough bread, check out this post.
But once you have your tangy, soft loaf of homemade sourdough bread, how should you store it? There are several ways to store sourdough bread so it’s hard to say what is the best way.
It will depend on the type of bread you are baking, is it soft or crusty? Also, the environment of your home, is it a dry place or do you have high humidity levels? It’s a good idea to try different ways to see what is the best choice for you.
Homemade bread will not last as long as the bread you can purchase from the store. So even when you try the best methods for storing homemade bread, it will only be fresh for a couple of days.
There are several ways to store homemade sourdough bread:
- Bread box
- Bread bag
- On the counter
- Wrapping it up
- In the freezer
Here are some different ways to store homemade sourdough bread along with how to freeze it and even how to use it when it goes stale after a few days.
Bread boxes are a traditional way of storing homemade bread and also serve a decorative purpose. They keep bread fresh by providing room for air circulation, keeping the bread nice and soft.
These are better option than an airtight container which doesn’t allow the air to flow and can make the crust soggy.
I like to store our soft sandwich bread sourdough loaves in our breadbox where they will keep for a couple of days.
Linen Bread Bag
A 100% linen cloth bag is another way to store bread. They allow the air to circulate and keep that crispy crust of your loaf of sourdough bread.
Store whole loaves this way for a day or two. Once you cut into them, store them in the linen bag with the cut side down.
For crusty loaves of sourdough bread, you can store them right on a wooden cutting board. Just place the cut end down on the board and leave out on the kitchen counter. This will help maintain a crisp crust and a soft interior.
If you’re concerned about your pets being tempted by the bread sitting out, drape a tea towel or one of your clean kitchen towels over it.
This is my favorite way to store crusty artisan bread. It will keep for a couple of days this way.
Store-bought bread usually comes in a plastic bag so many reach for them to store their homemade bread in. However, plastic bags trap moisture inside and will make your sourdough loaf more on the soggy side.
If you do want to use a plastic bag, just be sure to only use them with soft loaves of bread, not crusty loaves.
You can use a brown paper bag, which is better than plastic, but these can allow too much air flow, leaving the inside of the bread with not enough moisture.
However, plastic bags and tin foil are wasteful. Beeswax wraps are a much more eco-friendly option for wrapping entire loaves of bread. Even after the bread has been sliced, you can wrap it back up.
Tips for Storing Homemade Sourdough Bread
- Never store bread loaves in the fridge. The bread will dry out very quickly. Room temperature is the best way to provide a longer shelf life.
- Store fresh bread in the microwave, a dutch oven, or on a cake stand on the counter.
- A fresh loaf of homemade sourdough bread is at its best quality when eaten within the first day after baking. It is not meant to last as long as store-bought bread, which is full of preservatives. The staling process begins quickly so the bread will only last a couple of days.
- Whole loaves of bread can sit on the counter for a day or two until you’re ready to slice them.
- Always completely cool bread to room temperature before wrapping up or storing.
How to Freeze Sourdough Bread
I often bake several loaves of bread in a day and freeze some for later. It’s nice to be able to grab a loaf from the freezer when we need some bread in a pinch.
The only way I freeze any homemade bread for long term storage is in a pillowcase! I’ve been doing it for years and it works great. I got this tip from a wonderful book that I highly recommend, Zero Waste Home.
I simply place one or two loaves inside a pillowcase, wrap the remaining fabric around, and set it in the freezer just like that. When I need a loaf, I just open up the pillowcase to get one and wrap it back up if there’s still another loaf in there.
I have a couple of 100% cotton pillowcases that are just for bread use. When you remove the bread, wash the pillowcase with other linens to use again.
I do not wrap the bread in anything prior to putting it in the pillowcase. I just freeze it in the pillowcase and that’s it, no waste!
Here are some tips for freezing homemade sourdough bread:
- Always allow the bread to cool completely before wrapping and placing in the freezer.
- You can freeze an entire loaf of bread or cut into slices. Slices thaw faster.
- Wrap the bread in something such as a pillowcase, beeswax wrap, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or in a plastic bag to avoid freezer burn.
- Defrost frozen bread at room temperature for best results by setting out on a cutting board or a cooling rack for a couple of hours.
- If in a rush, defrost in a 325 degree F oven for about 20 minutes. Or in a microwave on a defrost setting for a few minutes.
What to Do With Stale Sourdough Bread
Homemade sourdough bread will only be fresh for a couple of days. Don’t toss your bread once it’s gone stale, if it lasts that long! There are other ways to continue enjoying your homemade bread:
- Bread crumbs– Skip the questionable crumbs at the store and make your own from your homemade bread! Simply grate up end pieces or stale pieces with a cheese grater or food processor. Store in a glass canning jar in the freezer. Keep adding breadcrumbs whenever you have any. To use, just measure out what you need from the jar, no need to thaw, and use in your recipe! Mix into meatloaf, meatballs, or to top a macaroni casserole.
- Bread Pudding– This is a delicious treat and quick to whip up on a whim. Cube up stale bread. For two cups of bread, mix in a separate bowl a cup of milk, two eggs, 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, a drizzle of vanilla and a dash of cinnamon. Mix in the cubes of bread, pour into a baking dish, and bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 to 45 minutes or until lightly brown and set. Double the recipe if you have more bread! Top with homemade whipped cream for an extra special treat.
- Croutons– Homemade croutons are amazing, you’ll never buy them at the store again. Start by cubing up stale bread, drizzle with a little olive oil, and sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. Spread on a sheet pan and bake at 375 degrees F for about 10 minutes, or until lightly brown. Use on salads for a crunchy, healthy addition.
- French Toast– This is a great way to use stale slices of bread! No one will know once they’ve been soaked in milk and eggs with a touch of vanilla and cinnamon. After being cooked up on a hot skillet and topped with butter and pure maple syrup, you’ll no longer have stale bread but a delicious treat in the morning!
Enjoy your homemade sourdough bread and try one of these methods to find the most effective way to keep your bread fresh. Not every method will work in every kitchen but once you find the best place to keep your loaves, you will be enjoying fresh sourdough bread as often as you like!