Do you like the smell of your own homemade baked bread in the kitchen? Baking your own bread is very rewarding, and cheaper on the long run, but doing it every day like a baker would do is a bit complicated. Baking once or twice a week should be enough to ensure you have your bread slices for breakfast, lunches and dinners. So are you fed up of stale bread for breakfast? How to keep your bread fresh longer? Here are 7 tricks on how to keep your bread loaves soft and fresh.
1. Protect from air: First advice is — of course — not to let bread in contact with air. If you don’t want it become stale, wrap it in a paper bag or a dish towel. Plastic bags tend to make softer and develop mold. The good old breadbox works very well, you can also cover it with a coton dish towel.
2. Freezing: Keep bread in the refrigerator for your current use, the freezer for later use. Bread lasts well over a week in the refrigerator. It may be a little bit on the stale side, but never gets moldy. If you slice it before it’s frozen it easy to remove only what you need and keep the rest of the loaf frozen. To thaw it without completely drying, just moisten the surface lightly with water and put the crusty loaves in the oven for a few minutes at 360°F (180°C) before serving and it will taste like freshly baked!
3. Adding a shortening agent: Try enriching your bread dough with some shortening. A rich dough containing milk, shortening even eggs and some sugar stays moist longer than a basic dough made with water, salt, yeast and flour. This maybe one of the best way to keep bread fresh. Of course, it changes the composition of the bread, but buns and milk-breads are known for keeping better.
4. Apply butter on the crust: Another hint is to take some shortening or butter and rub it to the crust when you take the bread from the oven.
5. Place an halved apple into your bread box: This “Grand-Ma” trick prevents bread from drying too fast. You can try replacing apple with sugar cube, a piece of potato or a celery branch.
6. Don’t slice bread in advance: If you have some guests for dinner, don’t slice your bread in advance, the moisture contained into your loaf will escape and the bread will end up dry.
7. Try a longer fermentation time: Another trick is to use a longer fermentation and rise time on your bread dough. Not only will your bread have a better flavor, but it will stay fresher, tasting longer and be less susceptible to spoilage. To do this, simply add only a fourth of the yeast the recipe calls for, and let it take up to 24 hours to rise — you can even put it in the fridge for up to two days.