Biting into stale bread is a highly disappointing moment in any starch lovers life. While it’s a known fact any bread is the best right out of the oven, we often can’t eat all of it right away.
First, it’s important to understand just what makes bread lose its pizzazz. As soon as it’s removed from the oven, starch retrogradation begins. The starch molecules begin to crystalize, causing water and moisture to be pushed out of the loaf, resulting in that strange taste and texture of staleness. Loss of moisture can also be contributed to exposure to the air. With that in mind, here are a few ways to keep your beloved bread fresh as long as possible.
Many people make the mistake of storing bread in the fridge. This is the prime environment for starch retrogradation! Instead, store loaves of bread and other starchy products you will not be using right away in the freezer. The extreme cold temperature of the freezer passes over retrogradation and keeps your bread at a stable state. However, make sure you wrap bread properly before storing it away, or it will become prone to freezer burn instead.
A room temperature environment is ideal for loaves of bread, but it can be tricky to control just how much exposure your bread is getting. Common, store bought loaves can be stored in a plastic bag, while hard crusted bread, often from bakeries, seem to last better and longer in paper bags. If you find your bread stale despite your efforts, you can always stick pieces in the oven to reheat them and restore some lost moisture. Eat any reheated bread quickly after this method, otherwise the stale will likely return worse than before.
Protect your bread, so you can enjoy your bread!