Baking bread and well cooking in general is very relaxing for me. On top of that homemade bread has a lot of advantages: starting from health (no preservatives and additives), the cost is lower than buying bread in the supermarket and taste is just great! Never the less, homemade bread also grows stale quickly because it lacks preservatives. To keep it fresh can be a challenge. Thus, I have decided to investigate how to keep bread fresh.
Why does bread go stale?
There are two main culprits. The first is a chemical change with a particularly fancy name: starch retrogradation. As soon as bread is removed from the oven, the structure of the starch molecules change, and begin to crystallize. This crystallization forces water out of the bread and the result is staling. The second contributor is the loss of moisture due to exposure to air.
Keeping it fresh – store enough bread to last you a day or two on the kitchen counter in a paper bag and freeze the rest
According to http://www.craftsy.com/blog/2014/03/how-to-store-bread/ :
Freezing bread is the best way to keep homemade bread fresh for longer periods of time. Wrap the cooled, dry bread thoroughly in plastic. Be certain there is no moisture or condensation. The bread can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months (you can store longer, but the flavor may suffer). One trick for freezing bread is to slice the bread before storing, saving you time and frustration. Sliced bread thaws quicker, and you can be easily placed into the toaster for quick warming.
Plastic can be the best, or the worst, way to store bread. When bread is double-wrapped in clean plastic and stored in a cool, dry place, plastic can extend bread’s life. This is especially helpful in drier climates, where bread can dry out quickly.
However, if there’s even a drop of moisture present, the water can incubate in the non-breathable plastic, making the bread mushy or worse, moldy. In this case paper bag is more appropriate
Stale bread – oven or microwave
The best way to refresh partially stale bread is to heat it in the oven. If you insist on storing your bread in the fridge, toast it prior to assembling your sandwich to reverse some of the the damage. Similarly, if you have a loaf of crusty bread that has begun to go slightly rubbery, heating it in the oven for a few minutes will help to draw the moisture out of the crust and enhance the quality of the bread. (Breads that are reheated this way should be consumed immediately.)
Microwave magic: place slices of bread on a moistened (but not wet) paper towel, and microwave for 10 seconds.
You can also learn to love stale bread, which makes the best bread pudding, French toast, crostini and croutons.