Keeping store-bought bread fresh

We’ve become semi-addicted to store-bought ‘fresh’ bread… a la La Brea Bakery product. I keep it in the original bag, closed with a bag clip, out on the counter. The warm summer may be adding to the problem, but it seems to start to go stale within just a few days. I can usually get a few extra days grace by toasting it, but that’s not always what I want to do. Any insight on how to prolong its life would be appreciated. Thanks.

Bread without all the additives just goes stale. I can get an extra day or so keeping it in a ziplock but it still gets tough. The only real thing you can do is freeze it. Bread thaws pretty quickly so it isn’t horrible to get it out of the freezer an hour or so before the meal …

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Stale and dried-out aren’t the same thing. The starch in your bread is crystallizing, trapping water inside the crystals, a process called retrogradation. A bit of heat reverses it, which is why toasting helps. So does microwaving on low power, or wrapping in foil and warming in the oven.

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I have a terracotta bread crock. It works quite well, often keeping breads good for a week or longer. Prior to getting a nice deal on the bread crock I had discovered the keeping power of clay when I stashed half a loaf in a Romertopf roaster. I remembered the loaf 5 days later and it was still quite fresh! The roasters turn up frequently at thrift stores in excellent condition - usually selling for under $10 in my area.

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I wrap the pieces of sliced bread by 2s in Saran Wrap, put it all back in original bag and freeze.
The wrapped slices thaw quickly and it’s easy to grab from the freezer.

This is the answer. I freeze any fresh bread that I won’t be eating within the next day. You can’t really tell the difference between fresh day old vs frozen once it’s toasted. Plus bread thaws in almost no time at all.

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Like the others, I freeze. We love the baguettes from Costco, but can’t go through 2 of them, so I cut them into thirds, leave 2 pieces out for eating, and freeze the other 4 pieces. When we want to use them, I pull out 1-2 pieces, and leave on the counter to thaw, then pop them into the toaster oven at 350 to warm them up before eating. Can’t tell it was ever frozen.

Sounds like freezing is the answer but my pastrami sandwich needs to go on days one or two. Not much for that on toast.

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As already mentioned, retrogradation is reversed by heating. You don’t need to toast the bread. Just warm it, then let it cool to room temp. It will then be tender throughout, and will remain so for most of a day, maybe longer. To restore a crispy crust takes higher heat and consuming the bread while still quit warm.

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When I want to eat an untoasted frozen bagel, I
put it in the toaster for less than 30 seconds after
it has defrosted completely … great result

Like many here, I freeze the bread. I used the low setting in microwave to unfreeze the bread and never toast them. (I don’t particularly like toasted), just freeze it the size that you can consume in one go (e.g. 1 day), as frozen bread would get dry out faster. I usually don’t slice them before freezing for the same reason. Freeze them when they are ultra fresh the first day. For baguettes, I prefer freezing them and unfreezing them the next day than leaving them out and eating them the next day.

Yes, bread without preservatives goes stale quickly, just like bagels made in the morning are stale by evening. . If you want to freeze bread, do so immediately before it starts to get hard/stale. You can defrost it on the counter or if you’re in a hurry, most modern microwaves have a defrost function where you can choose a low power “bread” setting. Putting fresh bread products in a baggie or wrapping therm in clear wrap will extend the shelf life a bit but they become soft, losing the crispy crust and desirability At that point they are only good for toast, IMHO.

Trying the freezing thing now. I know it works on fresh bagels so that should translate. Thanks all. I was hoping for something simpler, maybe with more portion control, but I’ll play with this.

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If you toast a frozen slice for one toasting cycle that will defrost/thaw to room temp super quick without actually toasting it. (Do two round to make into actual toast)
It’s actually a good thing it goes bad so quickly- means there aren’t funky preservatives in there!
And since it is panzanella season you can rework any over dry stale bread into panzanella!

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I’ve been buying bread without additives for a few years and realized that it would get moldy after a few days. I’m buying a different brand now (Alvarado St then, Dave’s Killer Bread now) and usually buy 2-3 loaves at a time. I put one in the fridge, the extra goes into the freezer. I almost always have toast in the morning and had a sandwich for lunch today. The bread holds up great without any loss of flavor or texture. Any bread that’s not the commercial, mass produced kind goes into the fridge automatically after the first day after purchase.

I love Alvarado ( sprouted California) and keep it in the freezer, some of our
local supermarkets, sell it directly out of the freezer.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold