Homemade Bread Going Stale? Here's How To Store It Properly — Plus 7 Items You'll Need

woman taking a bread loaf from a bread box in the kitchen at home

Whether you're making a crusty boule or a moist loaf of banana bread, if you're taking the time to make it from scratch, you're going to want it to eat it at its best. That's why storing it correctly is so important. However, the best way to store homemade bread isn't a one-size-fits-all solution since it will depend on how soon you plan on eating it. But know that there are customizable solutions that will guarantee your bread won't get stale or moldy before you can enjoy it fully. Ahead you'll find a few key things to consider, as well as all the products you need, to ensure every last crumb gets savored.

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Determine When You Plan On Eating Your Bread

You might have heard that it's best to enjoy homemade bread the day it's made, but unless you're feeding a family or embracing your best carb life, that may be hard to do. That's why it's helpful to know how long different storage methods will keep homemade bread fresh.

As a general rule of thumb, breadbox can keep a loaf fresh for up to three days. If you don't have the counter space for these rather larger containers, you can also opt to wrap your loaf in either a cloth bag or towel, or even natural beeswax-lined wrap, all of which will keep bread fresh for about two days if stored in a dry environment. If you're looking to buy yourself more time, freezing is always a great option since it can keep your bread fresh for roughly three to six months, although flavor will decrease the longer it's frozen, and some sweet loaves, like banana bread, should only be kept frozen for three months max.

Most importantly, make sure to skip the refrigerator since it's universally agreed that is where loaves go to get stale, no matter how counterintuitive it may seem. Essentially the cold air dies out the bread and kills its texture.


Embrace The Breadbox

Breadboxes have been trusted for decades for their ability to keep preservative-free bread fresh. These oblong containers maintain a humid enough environment to keep bread soft, with the air circulation necessary to prevent it from getting too soggy. Models come in wood, stainless steel, ceramic, and plastic, and all will do an equally good job keeping your bread fresh, so it's a matter of personal preference. Beyond aesthetics, focus on the size of your loaves, as well as the size of the container, because the more bread, the higher the humidity in the box, which will ultimately affect how long they stay crisp.

  • Size: 13 x 7 x 9.5 inches

Backed by more than 1,400 Amazon reviews, this metal vertical breadbox is large enough to fit two loaves but compact enough to not overtake your countertop. Plus, it has a bamboo cover that doubles as a cutting board or a flat surface to stack other kitchen items on. The seal isn't airtight, creating enough airflow for your bread to breathe. When it comes time to clean the box, the body is welcomingly dishwasher safe, though the bamboo cover should be hand washed. Choose from a cream or red color, both featuring a farmhouse-chic graphic design. One shopper raved, "The size is perfect for a small kitchen counter but at the same time it holds so much! I have 2 loaves of bread, English muffins and a bag of hot dog buns in it without squashing! No more clutter all over the counter, plus the lid, as a breadboard is brilliant."


Size: 15.8 x 10.8 x 6.8 inches

You can also invest in this quality wood breadbox made from eco-friendly, non-treated bamboo. The roll-top front lends itself for both shelf and countertop use, and the flat top of the container makes it ideal for stacking items on top of, with one reviewer noting it was great to store her avocado basket on, and another noting it was "low profile so it fits underneath the cabinets on top of microwave." In terms of capacity, expect to store about two loaves, plus some other pastries. This pick will have to be hand washed to keep it in mint condition.


Skip The Plastic Wrap For These Bread-Friendly Alternatives

Many people wrap their loaves in plastic but it's not an ideal method and her's why: Moisture gets trapped and your crust loses its crunch. (The exception to the rule is if you're working exclusively with chewy sandwich bread or live in a very arid climate, where using plastic wrap may be necessary to prevent over-drying.) Instead of plastic wrap, opt for a material that's more porous to allow for better air circulation, whether it's a reusable wrap made from beeswax or a cotton bag.

Size: 17 x 23 inches

Handcrafted in Vermont, this large, reusable beeswax food wrap uses the warmth of your hands to soften so it can form perfectly over your bread. Certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), the wrap is made with four natural ingredients: organic cotton, sustainably harvested bees wax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin. The wrap washes up easy with a little soap and water and should be air dried. With proper care, it should last up to a year. One shopper raved, "I love this for my bread! Works as advertised. Better for keeping homemade bread [...] than just a cloth, doesn’t result in mold/moisture the way plastic does. You are able to customize how much you seal it. Has a nice beeswax smell. Cleans up easy."

You can also try the brand's reusable three-piece set which comes with one small, medium, and large sheet.


Size: 17 x 12.25 inches

A bread bag is a perfect option for those who plan on eating their homemade bread in a day or two (although one reviewer had good results also wrapping her bread in butcher or wax paper before placing in the bag to extend the life of her bread even longer). This bag from Think4Earth is notable for its size. It can house large artisanal loaves, several demi baguettes, even bagels. As one reviewer put it, "I make huge loaves, and it holds them perfectly!" It has a roll-and-clip closure that can be customized to fit any size loaf, and it also can be used as a convenient carrying handle. Made from 100% organic cotton that's machine washable, this bag earned high marks from reviewers who noted its quality material.

It also can be paired with the brand's freezer-safe bags so you can pop uneaten slices in the freezer for longer-term storage.


Use Foil Wrap For Sweet Loaves

If you're making soft loaves like zucchini or banana bread, storing your homemade creations can be as easy as whipping out the foil wrap. Wrapping tightly will let you keep your bread at room temperature for about three days.

This industrial-size roll of Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil contains 200 square feet of wrap, so you'll be covered for awhile. It comes from a trusted brand that's been used in kitchens since 1947. Plus, since you get so much wrap, you can use it for tons of other cooking tasks.


Stock Up On Gallon Freezer Bags

If you want to save your homemade loaves for later, nothing beats freezing in a simple plastic gallon bag, both in terms of convenience and cost. They allow you to squeeze the air out so you can get a real airtight seal, and you can buy in bulk. That said, if you want to get really into freezing, you could invest in a vacuum sealer.

These gallon zipper bags from Solimo come in packs of 90- or 120-count so you can be covered for all your freezing needs, breads or otherwise. They're BPA-free and feature a double zipper closure for a secure seal. One reviewer noted, "Very good quality freezer bags. Kept my sliced bread frozen without freezer burn. Will buy again.'


Don't Forget About A Bread Knife To Slice Before Freezing

Here's a pro tip: By slicing your bread before freezing, you can easily access just a few slices at a time instead of having to defrost the whole loaf. That's why it's important to have a trusty bread knife on hand. Look for ones with serrated edges that can deliver smooth cuts and that feature blades approximately 8 to 11 inches so they can work on a variety of loaf sizes.

With a serrated blade that measures 10.6 inches, this high-quality Japanese bread slicer from Tojiro is capable of slicing through any bread, with one reviewer gushing, "This knife is the best knife I have ever owned for cutting through crusty artisan bread that I bake." The blade is made of molybdenum vanadium steel, which is super sharp and tough, as well as easy to sharpen. The handle is made from a reinforced laminate material that offers a nice ergonomic grip. As Wirecutter's pick for "Best Upgrade" on its roundup of best serrated bread knives, this pick is one you will use (and love) for years.