Once the bread has cooled to room temperature, the bread needs to be put in a sealed container. This could be a bread box or plastic bag, and the bread can be put in a plastic bag before being stored in the bread box.
The question for many is: is this enough? After all, you’re advised to keep the bread in a cool, dark place.
The good news is that the average bread box is good enough. Your home should be at room temperature, and the bread box is slightly cooler since it blocks out the sun and electric lights. Furthermore, sitting in a plastic bag in a dark pantry is fine, too.
You can store the bread at 20 to 22 degrees C or 68 to 72 degrees F that maximizes the time the loaf remains fresh and soft.
Can I Store the Bread at a Colder Temperature?
At colder temperatures, you run the risk of the bread drying out faster than desired if it isn’t properly covered. The worst-case scenario is storing the bread in the refrigerator.
It may be edible for several days, but it will make better stuffing than sandwiches. This is because it crystalizes faster at temperatures below room temperature. In fact, the bread crystalizes or stales faster at cooler temperatures than warmer ones.
What Temperature Should Frozen Bread Be Stored At?
If you want to keep your homemade bread fresh as long as possible, there are several steps you need to take. One is to let it cool on a cooling rack before you wrap it in plastic.
The next is to put it in the freezer almost immediately after it has cooled. In this scenario, the bread should be kept well below the freezing point (32 degrees F, 0 degrees C). It must be tightly sealed in plastic wrap so that it doesn’t essentially freeze dry.
Once you take out the bread to thaw, you can choose to leave it exposed to the air to thaw it faster or keep it wrapped in plastic knowing it will take more time.
How Can You Prep the Bread when You’re about to Freeze It?
Do not freeze it when it is still piping hot since the heat from the bread will prevent it from cooling down as fast and can even affect the safety of surrounding food. Let it cool down to room temperature before you try to freeze it.
The best approach is to slice it before you freeze it. Not only is this the easiest time to slice it, but then you have the option of removing and thawing individual slices of bread.
They’ll thaw in two to four hours instead of having to wait overnight for a whole loaf to freeze. Try to get all of the air out of the bread bag before you freeze the loaf so that it freezes solid as quickly as possible.
What Happens If the Bread Is Stored in a Warm Place?
Let’s take the opposite scenario than the ones we’ve just described.
What happens if the bread is stored in a location much warmer than standard room temperature? If it is stored in a plastic bag or paper bag after cooling, the bread could be just as edible after 6 to 12 hours at near 100 degrees F or 38 degrees C as if it had sat at room temperature.
Note that we say it had to be sealed. If it was exposed to the air at that temperature, it would not only dry out but foster mold and bacteria growth because of the warmer temperatures. For this reason, you don’t want to store the bread in the oven
If the bread has not yet vented the excess moisture before being put in a bag, it would become a breeding ground for mold. And the damage is made worse by higher temperatures.
This means you can store the bread in the same warm place you let the dough rise, though it needs to be protected from mold and bacteria in the air.
Can You Store Bread in a Warming Drawer?
Suppose you just made dinner rolls or a loaf of French bread. You want to keep the bread warm until dinner. The hard part is maintaining the perfect texture.
Put the bread in a warming drawer of the oven at up to 50 or 60 degrees C or 110 to 120 degrees F. However, it needs to be covered to help it maintain its moisture.
And, ideally, you’re putting the bread there immediately after you baked it, so it is still essentially cooling. Then you can put it on the table shortly before serving everyone.
You can leave bagged loaves from the store in the warming drawer for several hours, too, to warm it up from room temperature to a higher one to serve it.
What Is the Best Way to Thaw Bread?
Suppose you kept the bread frozen for several weeks until you’re ready to eat it. You can let it thaw for several hours in the fridge. If you are dealing with a large loaf, it will need to allowed to thaw out overnight.
Take it out of the plastic or foil and serve. You can also “refresh” the bread to make it have that fresh baked taste by putting it in the oven for three to five minutes at 375 degrees F once it has thawed.
This is especially true if you froze it immediately after it cooled down. However, this tactic works if you froze a loaf that was a day or two old, as well.
Re-heating it will re-gelatinize the loaf, making it almost as springy and soft as it was when you froze it.
However, this loaf shouldn’t be stored in a hot drawer for long or it will dry out rather quickly.