Bread box

Yes!

Bread boxes are ideal for storing homemade loaves of bread. Heat and humidity both affect the quality of the bread and cause it to go bad faster. Bread boxes provide the perfect alternative. The lid on the box will allow just the right amount of air to enter to prevent mold formation.

No!

However, if you prefer store-bought bread, these already contain loads of preservatives used to prolong its shelf life so there is really no point in keeping the bread in a bread box. Store-bought bread will start to mold at exactly the same time as it would without the box.

Some people are very pro and some against the idea of bread boxes but not all bread is made the same. Similarly, not all bread boxes are made the same. That is why, in this post, we will explore this topic to give you a better understanding of how bread boxes work and to answer some of the questions you have.

What is the Best Material for a Bread Box?

Wooden Bread Boxes

Wooden bread boxes have been used to store bread for a long time. They are pretty functional too. However, modern bread boxes are also often made of stainless steel which is undeniably a more durable material.

The material of your bread box depends on what you like as well as on the number of loaves you intend to store in it.

Stainless Steel Bread Boxes

Since the seal is the crucial element of any bread box, there is reason to believe that stainless steel bread boxes are better for keeping bread fresh. This is because the material is better at preventing outside elements to enter the box.

Simply put, it provides better protection than a wooden bread box. Thanks to a better seal, nothing can slip into the box, no liquids or crumbs. More importantly, no insects can penetrate a stainless steel box while with a wooden bread box, that certainly is a possibility.

There’s another reason why many people prefer stainless steel boxes and it involves cleaning. Needless to say, stainless steel is very easy to clean whereas wooden boxes might absorb stains and are generally more difficult to clean.

But which bread box you end up choosing depends on your preference as well as your kitchen cabinets style. If all the other appliances are made of stainless steel, you’ll probably go with a stainless steel bread box too.

If you want your bread box to fit in nicely with your wooden cabinets, then a wooden bread box is a clear choice. Both will keep your homemade bread fresh for days.

Does a Bread Box Need Ventilation?

Bread boxes are designed in such a way that they let just the right amount of air in so there is no need for ventilation holes.

A bread box traps the moisture from the bread and prevents it from escaping. Well, not entirely. Bread boxes do allow a little bit of the moisture to escape in order to retain the bread’s crispy exterior. It’s a pretty clever design really.

If you’ve ever kept your bread sealed in a plastic bag, you’ve noticed that bread has gone soft quite quickly. This doesn’t happen with a bread box. But if you prefer your bread to be soft and don’t like the crusty, artisan-style bread, then this isn’t an issue anyway.

How Should You Store Bread to Keep it Fresh?

Bread is a staple in every household but how we store bread differs from one home to the other. They say the healthier a loaf is the shorter its life-span and that’s true. For example, a homemade loaf might get moldy faster than store-bought bread.

Similarly, a sourdough loaf of bread will last longer than regular sandwich bread.

There are several ways people store bread to try and keep it fresh:

Bread box

Except for providing you with the option to cleverly hide your bread in a neatly designed box, it comes with several benefits in regards to maintaining the freshness of the bread.

Pros

Can maintain homemade bread fresh for up to a week. Also, if you enjoy the crust and wish to keep it for several days, a bread box is a perfect choice. Ability to choose a model that fits your kitchen style. A great alternative to keeping bread on the counter.

Cons

If you usually buy store-bought bread which is loaded with preservatives, then the box makes no difference except it looks nice on your kitchen counter.

Paper bag

Many people store bread in the very paper bag that came with it. This does have certain advantages/disadvantages depending on your preference.

Pros

Artisan-style loaves will retain their crusty exterior when kept in a paper bag.

Cons

Bread will become very hard after a few days so it’s not suitable for storing more than 2-3 days.

Plastic bag

Many people store bread in plastic bags and it’s very efficient too. In fact, many bakeries pack their loaves in plastic bags so you can store them in the same bag.  

Pros

The moisture from the bread is sealed in and cannot escape the bag so the bread stays fresh for days.

Cons

Bread loses the crusty exterior and becomes very soft. Again, if you prefer soft bread then this can be an advantage. Especially if you buy pre-sliced bread that already comes in a plastic bag.

Refrigerator

Keeping bread in the fridge does make sense to an extent. Especially if you toast your bread anyway so you won’t notice the difference in taste. It’s a great option in places with hot and humid weather.

Pros

The coolness of your fridge prevents the mold to form.

Cons

Bread might appear stiff. The refrigerator might speed up recrystallization of the starches found in bread causing it to go stale sooner.

Alternative: Wrap your bread in a plastic wrap and then place it in the refrigerator. This will help keep the bread fresh for a longer time.

Freezer

There is a fifth option, preferred by those who buy bread in bulk or don’t eat it frequently. When you place a loaf of bread in the refrigerator, the water inside the bread continues to move and thus, the loaf can become stale quickly. However, when frozen, this doesn’t happen.

If you freeze bread while it’s still fresh, you can preserve its quality. It will still be delicious once thawed.

Pros

Prevents bread from going stale. Bread can be kept in the freezer for up to several months.

Cons

This is not the best option if you’re in a hurry or can’t be bothered to prep bread before freezing it. Also, you have to defrost the bread before eating it (reheat or wait until it thaws naturally on the counter).

Toasting/reheating bread will refresh it and make it taste as if it was freshly baked.

Important: Make sure you slice bread that you won’t eat in the next few days, wrap it in plastic wrap or aluminum foil before placing it in the freezer. 

Summary

MethodProsCons
Bread boxPrevents outside elements to enter; preserves the crustNot efficient with store-bought loaves
Plastic bagSeals moistureSoftens bread
Paper bagKeeps crust perfectHardens bread
RefrigeratorPrevents mold formationBread is stiff/taste stale
FreezerPreserves quality of bread; bread can be stored for a long timeSlicing and defrosting bread can be time-consuming

When is the Best Time to Store Bread After Baking?

If you’re baking bread at home, you’ve probably wondered what you can do to make it last longer but without adding all the artificial add-ins that commercial bakers do.

Unfortunately, that tasty homemade bread has a shorter life-span than commercial bread and should be eaten faster.

Let’s say you baked a fresh loaf of bread today. When is the best time to store it?

When it’s completely cooled. You do not want to store warm bread.

Once out of the oven, remove the loaf from the pan and leave it on the counter to cool. Some bakers cover the loaf with a kitchen towel or a paper bag to protect it from the outside elements while allowing it to retain its lovely crunchy surface.

What is the Best Place to Store Bread?

You can either leave your freshly made loaves on the counter or you can store them another way.

Bread connoisseurs recommend leaving homemade bread at room temperature for 2-3 days. But since humidity and heat affect the quality of the bread, you need a dry and cool space away from the light.

This is where a bread box comes into the picture. It provides the ideal environment for storing homemade bread where no outside elements can ruin the quality of the bread.

A freezer is also a great option as you can store bread for months like this. It will still be delicious once thawed or reheated.

Final Word

We vote for bread boxes. As we previously said, a bread box can do a great job of maintaining your handmade, preservative-free bread fresh for up to a week. They provide a cool and dry environment which lets in just enough air to let the loaves breathe without softening it.

Plus, it’s a great way to keep your loaves in a hidden spot even if you only buy store-bought bread that is made to last longer and doesn’t require special conditions.