For people who may not have the time of day or the dedication to spend hours at a time to make bread (or weeks to develop the starters), bread machines can make a world of difference, turning the work of making loaves of bread into something that you could have within hours.
With that being said, even though the process of making bread is easier with a bread machine, you still have to care for the bread. As good as the bread you make might be, there’s a good chance that you’re not going to eat all of it in one sitting. This means that you are still going to have to find some way to store the bread once it has been made. Thankfully, because bread is such a common food item to make, there are countless different ways that you can store your bread.
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Making Sure to Slice Bread Properly
One thing to keep in mind whenever you are making bread is that you will want to be careful about when you slice it, although you are absolutely going to want to remember to slice the bread as this helps it to cool down. The problem is that if you slice the bread too early on to let the steam release, that can cause problems as well. It may take some trial and error to find the right time to slice the bread, since all breads are different and all bread machines will make different kinds of bread, but once you know how to slice your bread, this will make things easier.
Another reason why you will want to slice your bread is that this makes it a lot more versatile for storage. It’s a lot easier to maneuver several flatter bread slices around a cramped area than to try to fit the majority of a full loaf into a small space. By cutting the bread into slices, you will have more options when it comes to moving the bread to where it needs to go.
The Classic Bread Box
One of the most tried-and-true methods of storing bread is going to be with a bread box. Bread boxes have been around for about as long as people have known how to store bread. The idea behind them is that they simply provide an airtight space that is shielded from humidity, moisture, and extreme temperature changes while having holes small enough to not let the bread get too moist in its own box. In essence, a bread box is a type of storage container that is specifically made for fresh breads, making it the perfect place to store your fresh bread.
Bread boxes come in several different materials, with each having its benefits over the other. There are plastic bread boxes, which tend to be the most affordable and lightweight. There are wooden bread boxes, which are at the best for durability but are more susceptible to issues with the environment, depending on how well treated the wood is. Some wooden appliances don’t do well in rooms where there is a lot of moisture and the temperature can change on a whim from the stove. And finally, there are ceramic bread boxes. These are heavier and more expensive, but they can help to keep even more unnecessary moisture out of the bread box than other materials can, due to the nature of ceramic material.
Regardless of which type of bread box you choose, bread boxes are the standard method of storing bread for a short period of time. Of course, the exact amount of time the bread box can keep bread fresh for depends on a number of outside factors (such as the humidity of your kitchen, the temperature of the kitchen, and the type of bread that has been made); however, most of the time, they tend to keep bread good for five to six days compared to the standard one or two days that bread would last without the bread box.
Long-Term Bread Storage
Naturally, you won’t want to really think about long-term storage when you are facing a nice, freshly baked loaf of bread. There may come a time when you realize that it will take you more than a week to go through the bread that you have, and at this point, you will want to consider putting the slices of bread in the freezer. It may sound absurd at first, but this is actually a fairly common method of storing bread for later. This is also one of the reasons why it is important to slice the loaves beforehand, as putting them into the freezer may be tough.
Choosing to freeze bread ensures that it will last for a couple months before the flavor starts to fade. After this point, you run the risk of having freezer-burned bread, which is a waste of a good loaf of bread. If you want your fresh-made bread to stay as fresh as possible, you will want to make sure that you try to use it all up within the first month. If the bread is in the freezer for more than a month, then there is a high chance that it will end up being freezer burned, ruining whatever hard work you put into your bread recipe.
These are the two most important things to consider when looking at how you can store your freshly made bread from the bread machine.