Storing Bread: Avoid the Refrigerator

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

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Staling proceeds most rapidly at temperatures just above freezing, and very slowly below freezing. In one experiment, bread stored in the refrigerator at 46°F/7°C staled as much in one day as bread held at 86°F/30°C did in six days. If you’re going to use bread in a day or two, then store it at room temperature in a breadbox or paper bag, which reduces moisture loss while allowing the crust to remain somewhat crisp. If you need to keep bread for several days or more, then wrap it well in plastic or foil and freeze it. Refrigerate bread (well wrapped) only if you’re going to toast or otherwise reheat it.