Recipes

Ask Chef Mary: Where to store bread.

Dear Chef Mary,

Where am I supposed to store bread? Do I leave it out, keep it in the refrigerator or am I supposed to freeze it? Thanks, Jackie

Dear Jackie,

I hate when I walk into a kitchen and see a breadbox full of moldy bread that was recently bought. The truth is that bread needs to be kept in a cool place with little moisture. A dark and warm breadbox is the perfect place for mold and bacteria to grow.

The refrigerator may seem like the perfect place, but if the bread isn’t wrapped tightly enough then the cold temperature can penetrate through the plastic wrapping and create a tough layer that has a stale-like consistency.

Bread wrapped tightly and kept in the freezer is the best way to keep bread fresh over a week’s period. It’ll keep the flavor and the flaky consistency.

“The best way to keep fresh homemade bread is by wrapping it directly out of the oven and freezing it immediately, steam and all,” said pastry Chef Norek from Village French Bakery in Kenneth Village in Glendale, California. “Then, when you’re ready to eat it, remove it from the freezer. Let it rest for 10 minutes before you place it in a hot oven. When the bread comes out it will taste like it was just baked

Jackie, everyone has their own tricks, but the bottom line is that whatever you do, keep it wrapped extremely well. I have worked in restaurants where they date and wrap each loaf and store it in an open container away from all the hot stoves and others that wrap them tight, label each one with a date and keep them in the freezer.

Stay away from placing your breads in the refrigerator because out of habit you might throw them in without proper preparation, which ultimately leads to ruined bread.

Keep it on your counter in a cool spot and, if you don’t eat it in two days, cut it into individual portions. Wrap each portion tightly and separately then store in the freezer. This method allows you to pull out exactly how much you’ll eat and prevents the whole loaf from going bad. Like the bread loaves, try slicing bagels in half and then individually wrapping them and store in the freezer. It’s nearly impossible to slice a frozen bagel and I’ve heard many horror stories from those attempts.

Hopefully, with these helpful hints, you’ll know what to do with your bread the next time you purchase it. The key is to always keep food at its best, so throw out your old bread box and say hello to a bread basket and saran wrap.

Happy Cooking! Chef Mary

p.s. You might also try stocking up at farmers markets and freeze them for the week.