If you’ve recently jumped on the (delicious) homemade bread bandwagon, chances are you’re up to your ears in crusty, stretchy, carb-y deliciousness. Good for you! But the question remains: what’s the best way to preserve freshly baked bread? In this informative post, I’m going to teach you all the best ways How To Store Sourdough Bread (or really any artisan bread) so that a fresh loaf is never far from reach.
How Long Does Sourdough Bread Last?
Sourdough bread (especially homemade or bakery-style loaves) are made without all the preservatives that are in commercially produced breads, so they actually start to go stale the moment you cut into them.
That said, the lifespan of your loaf all depends on your storage method. Below, I’ll go into detail about how to best preserve your bread at room temperature and in the freezer.
How To Store Fresh Sourdough Bread At Room Temperature
You can keep an uncovered loaf on the countertop for about 24-48 hours because the thick crust will protect the innards. If you cut into your loaf, make sure to store it on a cutting board or work surface with the cut side down to protect it from air.
By day 3, you’ll want to give your loaf a bit more protection. I love using a bread box, which allows the air to circulate and keep the crust crusty while still holding a bit of the moisture in. You can also use a fabric or linen bread bag, a large, clean kitchen towel, or even a paper bag for the same purpose. Your loaf will do well like this through day 4.
How To Freeze Sourdough Bread
If you plan on keeping your bread longer than about 4 days, the freezer will be your best friend. I suggest slicing your *completely cooled* loaf before popping it into a zip-top bag. (You can also place the whole loaf in the bag, though you’ll then need to defrost the whole thing instead of taking out a piece at a time.)
Press out all the air, seal the top, and place in the deepest, coldest part of your freezer. Bread stored this way should last for 3-6 months, though I think it usually tastes the best within about 6 weeks.
How To Reheat Sourdough Bread
If you’re heating a piece or two of bread, my suggestion is typically to toast it. If you have frozen the bread, there’s no need to defrost individual slices before putting them directly in the toaster!
If you have frozen an entire loaf of bread, simply pull it out of the freezer and leave it at room temperature for a few hours until it defrosts. If it has been well stored, it should taste just as good as if it were fresh! That said, sometimes bread gets stale, even if you’ve taken all the proper precautions.
If you are trying to revive a whole loaf of bread that feels stale, give it a quick bath under cool running water. Sound strange? I get it, but even the folks over at Bon Appetit give this method the thumbs up.
If your loaf is a day or two (or 3 or 4) old, giving it a rinse under water. If the loaf has been cut into, try to face the cut side away from the faucet. If the interior of the loaf gets wet, don’t worry — we’ll get it all sorted out.
Place the now damp loaf in a preheated oven at about 250-300F, placing it directly on the grates. Bake for 6-8 minutes if damp, or up to 12-15 minutes if you’ve soaked the interior on accident. The water will mostly evaporate away, but will revive the crustiness on the exterior and the soft, stretchiness of the interior!
- Cool COMPLETELY. No joke, the hardest part about making homemade bread is letting it cool sufficiently before slicing into it. If you cut into the loaf while it is still warm, it’ll end up drying out much more quickly. Unless you plan on eating the whole thing on the day it was baked, let it cool to room temp before cutting.
- Slice before freezing. If you live in a smaller household like me, I suggest slicing the bread before freezing it so you can pull out just a slice or two at a time, as needed.
- Consider a bread box. Bread needs to breathe, but you want to walk a tight line between allowing it sufficient airflow and drying out. That’s where a breadbox comes in! The humidity of the small box will rise when you place the fresh loaf inside, but the door will still allow for some airflow. This is the best way to keep bread fresh for up to 4 days at room temperature.
- Bread bags are useful, too. If you don’t want to splurge on a whole box, consider using a bread bag. The porousness of the cloth will allow some air in while maintaining some of the moisture of the loaf.
- Wash your loaf. If your bread has dried out, don’t fret — there’s a super simple solution! Rinse the bread under cool water, then warm it in the oven between 250-325F. The water will create steam to help crisp up the exterior and give new life to the stretchy interior. Sounds a bit wild, but I promise, give it a try!
Frequently Asked Questions
You sure can! In fact, I suggest you freeze your bread if you think it’ll take more than 3-4 days to consume.
A freshly baked loaf of crusty bread should be fine at room temperature for 24 hours. If you have removed a slice or two, just be sure to store the bread cut side down to help keep it from drying out.
Trick question! Unless you’re dealing with a loaf of sweet quick bread (like banana bread), baked bread should never be stored in the refrigerator. Why, you ask? Well, refrigerators circulate cold air, which dries things out. Dry bread is stale bread, and we don’t want that!
The tanginess of sourdough isn’t just delicious; it also helps to preserve the loaf naturally. You should be able to keep a loaf of sourdough at room temperature for several days without it growing mold. That said, I recommend freezing it if you plan on keeping the bread for more than about 4 days to preserve optimum freshness.
More Bread Posts
- How To Store Banana Bread
- The Ultimate Primer on Making Sourdough Bread From Starter
- Dutch Oven Sourdough Bread
As always, I love seeing your creations and hearing from you! If you try any of the methods for How To Store Your Sourdough Bread outlined here, please let me know how it turned out by commenting below or tagging me on social media! You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and Pinterest - for more delicious recipes sent straight to your inbox, sign up for my newsletter!