Even a day after it's baked, bread just doesn't taste quite the same. A baker will tell you to just eat it as fast as you can. But besides that, what's the best way to keep it fresh – fridge, plastic bag, bread bin?
Counter to common practice in North America, food experts say it's not usually a good idea to keep bread in the fridge, with one key exception: when outside temperatures and humidity are high.
In that case, fresh bread belongs in a cool place, as it will help it from forming mould, says German nutrition expert Birgit Brendel.
Keeping it in the fridge may cause the loaf to turn stale more quickly and may also lessen the flavour of the bread, but that's really the lesser of two evils, says Brendel.
At normal temperatures and average humidity levels, fresh bread is best stored in a closed container, which is not hermetically sealed, however.
Beyond that, you can help keep things fresh if you make sure that when you cut a loaf of bread, you don't leave the cut side exposed to the air. Storing it with the cut side down will keep it fresh longer.
While plastic bags will slow down how quickly the bread dries out, they are generally not suited to keeping bread, as the air can’t circulate in them, which increases the risk of moisture accumulating and mould setting in.
Also, the moisture within the bread is more likely to evaporate and get trapped in the plastic, which becomes a breeding ground for germs. The common paper bags from bakeries aren't ideal, either: They draw moisture out of the bread, leading it to dry out more quickly.
Suitable containers are stoneware or ceramic pots as well as enamelled steel or stainless steel boxes, while packaged bread is best kept in the original packaging.
Ceramic and pottery containers are the best way to store bread, as they’re breathable and will allow for the exchange of air and humidity. This will prevent mould from growing and help keep bread from going bad.
If using a bread bin or other container, try to regularly clear out old crumbs and crusts – a wipe with some water and vinegar every week or so is a good idea.