The ONLY WAY to Store your Sour Dough bread to make it last longer! No special equipment needed!
Whether you are buying sour dough bread or baking it at home, it's always a shame to see bread go stale.
So the big question is how to store Sour Dough Bread so that it lasts for long.
Here is the short answer
- Store the Bread covered loosely with paper or cloth, on the counter or in a bread bin
- Never in the refrigerator
- To extend the shelf life, freeze the bread.
Best Way to Store Sour Dough Bread
The short answer is ..Wrapped in a paper, Beeswax wrap or cloth on the counter.
not in a plastic bag and definitely not in the fridge.
But if you are a nerd like me or you made your own sour dough bread, then let me expand on this.
Sourdough bread is best stored at room temperature in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight. The ideal temperature range for storing sourdough bread is between 18-21°C (64-70°F).
First things first. Let the freshly baked sour dough bread sit on the counter for a couple of hours before you slice it up.
Second. If you are buying sour dough bread, do not buy a precut sour dough bread. Especially if you want to eat it beyond 4-5 days.
Third. and this needs repeating - Never store your bread in the fridge. It will quickly get soggy and make the crust soft and chewy.
Sourdough bread can be stored at room temperature for up to 2-3 days. If you live in a humid environment, it's best to store the bread in a paper bag, beeswax wrap or a cloth bag to prevent moisture buildup.
A bread box is a great way to store sourdough bread. It provides a cool, dry environment that is well-ventilated, which helps prevent moisture buildup. A bread box will also help keep the bread fresh for longer.
If you are making your own bread or even buying sour dough bread quite regularly, its worth it to invest in buying a bread box.
If you don't have a bread box, then storing your bread, wrapped in paper or cloth, in the microwave is a great way to go.
I mean microwave that's OFF.
While refrigerating sour dough bread is a bad bad idea, freezing sour dough bread is the best way to enhance sour dough breads life!
We will get into the details of how to freeze sour dough bread below.
I find doing this super handy when I want to compare two different types of sour dough bread. Or frankly just see my progress in baking.
Another popular way is to "rebake" the bread. This is an easy to way refresh stale bread.
Sprinkle the bread with water.
Place it in a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes based on the size of the bread.
You can use this method even after you have cut into the bread.
How long does Sour Dough Bread Last outside
When you put in so much effort to make your own sour dough bread, I am sure you want it to last as long as possible. The good news is that sour dough bread will last on the counter for about 6-7 days.
This is the peak of the lifetime of your sourdough bread. The whole bread, without cutting, can easily stay on the counter without much deterioration. The crust will act as a natural barrier and keep the inside of the bread soft and moist.
You can store it in a loose brown bag or a beeswax wrap. You want the bread to be able to breathe.
If you have sliced the bread, wrap it up the same way, in a brown bag or a beeswax wrap. Or you can store it in a bread box. It is an excellent way to store sourdough bread. It allows air to circulate, keeping the bread fresh and preventing it from getting too moist.
Keep the sliced side or cut side down on the board. This helps to prevent the bread from drying out.
This is when your bread will start to harden, loose some of it's moisture.
But it's still good enough to eat as it is.
If the bread forms a crust where you have cut it, just slice it up and discard that piece.
During this stage, the bread tastes better when toasted or cooked in some way.
This is almost always the last leg of the bread. It's when the bread is officially stale but it can still be enjoyed in the form of croutons, french toast, panzella salads etc.
If you are looking to make your own sour dough bread , here is a great post on how to make how to make sourdough starter.Once you have this step down, then the process becomes quite easy.
Should you refrigerate Sour Dough Bread
Absolutely not. It is quite possibly the worst way of storing sourdough bread.
Not only does the cold temperature dry out the bread and make it stale, it also causes that starches in the bread to retrograde .Which means they crystallize and become firm. This can cause the bread to feel dry and hard.
Also, refrigerating stops the fermentation process, which totally takes away from the taste of the sour dough bread.
Your bread is better off on the counter or in the freezer.
How to Freeze Sour Dough Bread
Freezing sourdough bread is a great way to extend it's shelf life for several weeks or even months.
You would think that like refrigeration, this would dry out the bread. But that's not the case.
The bread does deteriorate the longer it stays in the freezer but nothing a quick toast cant cure!
You can either store the bread whole or in slices.
In my mind, it makes more sense to store the bread pre sliced. Not only does it make the process of thawing easier, you also remove only how much you need.
You just have to pop the frozen slice into the toaster and 5 minutes later, no one will really even know that the bread was sitting in the freezer for a couple of months!
Freezing Sliced Sour Dough Bread
The best way to do this is in 2 steps
- Lay the slices flat on a freezer proof plate/ dish.Freeze for 3-4 hours.
- Transfer the slices to a freezer bag after.
This way, you can remove single slices of frozen bread as and when you need.
Freezing Whole Sour Dough Bread
This only makes sense if you are making multiple loafs or buying in bulk from somewhere.
Here is what you need to do
- Let the bread cool: Allow the sourdough bread to cool completely before freezing. This will prevent condensation from forming on the surface of the bread, which can cause it to become soggy.
- Wrap the bread: Once the bread has cooled, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. You can also place the bread in a resealable freezer bag. Make sure the bread is well-sealed to prevent freezer burn.
- Label and date: Label the bread with the date it was frozen and the type of bread. This will help you keep track of how long the bread has been frozen and what type of bread it is.
- Freeze the bread: Place the wrapped bread in the freezer and freeze it for up to 3 months. It's best to place the bread in the back of the freezer where the temperature is the most consistent.
How to Defrost Frozen Sour Dough Bread
To thaw Bread slices
This one is simple! Really no thawing needed.
Just pop the bread into a warm toaster.Thats it.
Thaw Whole Sour Dough bread
To thaw a whole boule or loaf of frozen sour dough bread, remove it from the freezer and let it come to room temperature in its wrapping.
This can take several hours or overnight. Once the bread has thawed, remove the wrapping and reheat it in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for 10-15 minutes to refresh the crust and warm the bread.
How to Use Leftover Sourdough Bread
Do not throw out the leftover sourdough bread!
Here are some quick and delicious ways to use leftover sour dough bread
- Homemade Sour Dough Bread Crumbs
- Make Homemade Sour dough croutons(You can even freeze these)
- Make french toast like this Brioche French Toast Casserole (Overnight)