And The Best Bread Bags For Homemade Bread Are?
There’s some quite heated debates on how to keep homemade bread fresh, both how to store it and then if bags are your choice, which are the best bread bags for homemade bread – yep, there’s quite a few options!
Delaying the inexorably oncoming staleness even by a day is a much sought after answer, further confused by different breads needing different care.
The truth is I don’t really have this problem, home baked loaves don’t last long enough to go stale and if I want to make bread pudding or whiz some breadcrumbs up in the blender, a separate and sneakily hidden loaf has to be baked first – no joking, freshly baked out of the bread machine it vanishes faster than snow in sunshine and leaves less trace behind it!
However, you have to put freshly baked bread somewhere, even if it gets removed and eaten in short order – so what do I do with mine?
Home baked or artisan loaves generally have a crusty exterior swiftly rendered soggy by plastic, so good advice is to not use plastic bags other than for soft crusted sandwich loaves, unless as discussed below you want to give a loaf as a gift.
If the bread comes out first thing in the morning, it cools enough to cut by breakfast and any left over after that joins a second loaf in making sandwiches for pack-ups.
If I know it’ll be used within a few hours then oftentimes it gets wrapped in a clean dry linen towel – this allows it to breathe without getting hard on the corners and dry where you’ve already cut it.
When baked in the evening the loaf or loaves are cool by bedtime and they go into a bread bag like this one, or a paper bag if I’ve run out – by the way there’s a reason for not having enough of them.
Keeping in mind you’ll need one bag per expected loaf I initially got four, allowing for two in use plus two being washed and dried. Then watched as my elderly frail mom and cheeky sister removed one each from the draw!
If the end has been cut for any reason the exposed end gets covered by a plastic bag or a little film wrap to keep it moist and fresh, of course you can put the cut-off crust against the open end. If you haven’t eaten it.
The Gift Of Bread
There are times – usually around Christmas or when a neighbor has done a favor – or simply needs a bit of tlc, you want to bake a loaf and put it in a suitable bag for giving as a gift. When we moved home and had no power at first, the nicest present was a loaf of bread from one of the new neighbors and I’ve paid that forward many times since.
There are absolutely loads of plastic bread bags to choose from on Amazon and they are inexpensive enough to buy, usually being sold by the 50 or 100 pack with ties – alternatively you could use plain cotton bags which are useful for a mind boggling number of things, including keeping socks together in the wash – personally I do keep the bread bags apart from the sock bags…
For a gift use fabric coloring pens to draw or write a personal message – even better get the kids to do it, honestly they are amazing at this sort of thing. Besides, the plain cotton bags come in packs so you’ve always got spares!
Stelton Range Of Bread Bags
For storing and serving sourdough or soda bread which I tend to bake as a round loaf, I found The Stelton.
This delicious lime green round bread bag is made from soft canvass and also doubles up as an elegant serving bowl especially for outdoor eating in the summer. By the way you can find a sourdough starter recipe here and one of two sourdough loaf recipes here – they link to each other, both use a bread machine to make the dough and you finish it in the oven.
Smaller than I thought, it will still easily take a large home baked loaf from the bread machine or a single round loaf from the oven – brilliant for rolls and it keeps them crisp and still warm on the table if you fold the flaps over.
These do have one big advantage in that you can serve bread outdoors without any of the usual hassle. Fold the flap over and the Stelton will keep any bread warm, crusty and away from bugs!
Stelton have a range of awesome canvas bread bags in several different colors – take a look and check prices here.
Though I personally love it, the linen bag above is a more practical solution for most folks who have a standard rectangular loaf.
Other Top Bread Storing Tips
When bread first comes out of the oven or bread machine it needs time to properly cool down and not just the outside. I know, it’s difficult to resist but you must! As bread cools on the outside through to the inside, excess moisture moves through the bread and out –that’s the steam rising when you first take it out.
Though you may not see steam after an hour, water vapor is still there and coming out, so let it cool right through. I would never store bread in the refrigerator because changes in the chemistry of bread, which basically means changes in the molecules, are accelerated by refrigeration.
Those moved around molecules can be re-aligned by reheating bread in the oven, but you have to eat up fast because after that it’ll go stale even faster, within half an hour is not unknown for home baked bread and artisan loaves.
Freezing Fresh Bread
Historically, freezing bread was not something I could ever bring myself to do other than breadcrumbs, because of that freezer odour – every time I froze bread even in zipbags, it ended up getting tossed out, that whiff of old ice and food is just too much.
Since buying a food vacuum sealer, those times have changed. Removing all the air and getting a totally airtight seal has completely removed the revolting whiffy freezer problem.
Good advice is to slice bread prior to freezing as it isn’t always easy after thawing, I’d pop it in the oven briefly too, just for 5 – 10 minutes at a medium heat to bring it back to life, but as mentioned above, eat up fast. By the way, you can read more about food vacuum sealers here in another post.
Well that’s it, my take on the best bread bags for homemade bread if you want to keep it properly fresh for a few days. Of course if you know a better way, I’d love to hear from you and so would thousands of bread aficionados!