If you’ve spent the time and effort to make your own loaf of bread, you’ll want to make sure that it lasts as long as possible for you to enjoy. Since artisan bread is mostly flour, yeast and water, it won’t last long, but there are some ways to store it that will help.

To get the longest life out of your bread, freeze it. Stored in in a zipped bag or tinfoil, with as much of the air removed as possible, this will keep the bread for about 2-3 months. Then, when you’re ready to eat it, remove and heat in the oven at 350 degrees to make it ready-to-eat. If you’re not looking to preserve the entire loaf for a long period, slice it before freezing and simply toast the pieces you want to enjoy while keeping the rest of the loaf in the freezer. It’s best to avoid repeated defrosting and refreezing of the entire loaf, so think about how you’ll want to use the bread before choosing the freezer as a storage method.

If you’re planning on eating your bread over the course of 2-3 days, simply keep it in a sealed plastic bag or foil, with as much air removed as possible, right on the counter. In hotter or humid areas, a quality bread box will help control the humidity to some degree. Just be sure it’s stored in a plastic bag, not paper, as paper facilitates moisture, which will cause the bread to mold faster.

Ultimately, you’ll want to use one of these storage methods. Do not plan on keeping your bread in the refrigerator. Unlike the freezer, which stops the bread’s development, the refrigerator actually speeds up the process, so your bread will go stale the quickest there — up to six times as fast as storing it on the counter!

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