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How to store sourdough bread

As an avid bread baker, I have noticed that storing my bread the correct way helps to preserve each loaf. Here are several quick tips and tricks for storing bread so that it lasts.

loaf of bread on a cooling rack

I began baking bread years ago and in 2020 began baking sourdough bread.

There are so many things I love about homemade bread: working with the bread dough, the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven, and enjoying the warm loaf when it comes out of the oven.

Another part of homemade bread that you can’t get with store bought breads is the elimination of poor ingredients and preservatives, such as commercial yeast.

I shared in a previous post some steps we took to create a more natural lifestyle within our home and fresh bread was one of those small changes that took place.

Even though homemade sourdough bread is healthy and a good way to add in some fermented nutrients, you still don’t want to chow down on the entire loaf of bread.

When you bake fresh bread, you want it to last as long as possible and how you store the bread can make a big difference and prevent you from winding up with a stale sourdough bread.

sourdough bread sliced on a wooden table

How do you store sourdough bread for a longer shelf life?

One of the benefits of using sourdough bread is that you can omit the use of commercial yeasts and instead capitalize on the natural yeast that comes from the lactic acid in the starter itself.

You can use a hydrated sourdough starter or try a dry sourdough starter to create the perfect loaf.

To keep sourdough, or any homemade bread for that matter, from molding or eventually becoming a stale bread you need to store it properly.

How you store it depends on several environmental details, such as the humidity levels in your home.

For example, if you have a very dry environment in your home, the bread will likely go stale much quicker because it, too, will dry out.

A few ways to store bread are:

  • Wrapped in plastic wrap
  • Brown paper bag at room temperature
  • Wrapped and stored in the freezer
  • Temporarily in the microwave
  • Bread boxes
  • Ziplock plastic bag
  • In a linen bag or wrapped in a tea towel
loaf of unbaked dough on counter

How long does a loaf of sourdough bread stay fresh?

Depending on how you store your bread, it can last from 4 days to a few weeks.

If you store it at room temperature it can last a couple of days without getting moldy or stale.

Maybe you’re looking for a more long term storage solution for your bread storage.

When the bread is wrapped the right way and put in a heavy-duty freezer bag in the freezer it can last for several weeks.

sourdough bread sliced and laying on a platter

Short term storage for fresh sourdough bread

For short term storage of your bread, you can leave a whole loaf that hasn’t been sliced in a paper bag, cloth bag, linen bread bag, or clean tea towel on the counter for two days.

Do not store your bread in the refrigerator since it has less moisture than your kitchen and will allow the bread to dry out and get stale quickly. It is a better idea to leave whole loaves on the kitchen counter unsliced.

loaf of bread with slash marks in the top

Long Term storage for a sourdough loaf

You can store your sourdough boules whole in the freezer or slice your bread loaves and store them as a sliced loaf in the freezer.

For a whole loaf that hasn’t been sliced, wrap it in cling wrap and store it in the freezer in a freezer ziplock bag for up to two weeks (see note below about storing for longer).

If your bread has been sliced, it is the best method to tightly wrap the bread slices in plastic freezer wrap, place it in a plastic ziplock, and keep it in the freezer for up to two weeks. Be sure to wrap it after it cools completely so it will stay fresh and not get freezer burn.

You can store your bread in the freezer for up to six months, technically, but anything more than a few weeks in the freezer could result in less flavorful loaf. I like to use it by two weeks for this reason.

sliced bread with a pat of butter on a knife

Other Ways to store sourdough bread

  • Store bread in the Microwave– The microwave keeps the bread at a constant temperature and prevents excess air from drying out the bread. This slows down the staling process and keeps it fresh. If you don’t have a bread box, this is a great way to keep it fresh.
  • Wrapped in a Brown Bag– The best part of a simple brown bag is that it allows some good air circulation so that your bread doesn’t get soggy, but it also keeps it from getting super dry and crusty. It will last 2-3 days this way. If you are wanting a reusable option, there are linen and cloth bags available for this purpose.
  • Bread Box– Bread boxes have been around for decades and our grandmothers used to store all types of bread in them. Place the loaf inside of the bread box without wrapping it up. The box will help keep a crust crisp and prevent it from getting stale and moldy. Keep it in the bread box for several days or up to a week, depending on the type of bread.
cubed bread on a wooden cutting board

What causes bread to go stale?

When the bread loses all of its moisture it will go stale.

Keeping it wrapped or in an airtight container will help prevent this.

If your loaf does go stale, there are several things you can do to use it up and not have to toss it in the trash.

no fail crusty bread recipe

How do you store bread overnight?

If you are wanting to store your bread overnight, it is best to leave it on the counter on a cooling rack.

You don’t have to wrap it in anything if you haven’t sliced it and it should still be great to eat the next day.

bread on a wooden cutting board being sliced

How do you keep the crusty layer on artisan bread?

That crusty layer on the outside of artisan bread is what all home bakers look.

That is created during the baking process when you use a dutch oven to keep the moisture levels optimal for baking and creating that layer that has so much flavor.

You don’t want to bake a loaf and then have the outside get soft overnight.

Storing your bread loaf on the counter, in a bread box, or in a brown bag is the best way to ensure your loaf keeps that crusty layer.

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