Friday, April 17, 2009

Where Is Your Bread?

No, I don't mean your wallet. I mean where is that lovely loaf of your favorite bread? I hope it's not in your refrigerator.

For some reason, refrigeration makes bread stale. There are theories about refrigeration sucking the moisture out of bread. So if you're in the habit of popping your bread in the fridge to keep it fresh, you're actually just helping it get stale faster.

Believe it or not, bread wants to be stored at room temperature. Simple enough. That doesn't require any fancy gadgets. Forget all the bread boxes and air pressure thingies designed to keep bread fresh. Just keep it on the kitchen counter in the bag in which it came. That means a plastic bag for a lot of breads, or the waxy/papery bag for artisan and upscale breads.

If you're worried about your bread spoiling, it can be frozen. Be forewarned that it won't thaw to complete freshness. Frozen bread does very well in the toaster, though, and many artisan loaves can be reheated at 350 degrees for about 12-15 minutes. Watch out for freezer burn because those little crystals are likely to make the bread soggy when it thaws.


Judy Alter said...

I always keep bread in the freezer, because I don't use much at a time. My kids used to clamor, "Please don't freeze the bread," and I couldn't convince them that it goes stale in the refrigerator. I think it's the drying quality of refrigeration, but you are oh so right!

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