How to Keep Fresh Bread Fresh

How to Keep Fresh Bread Fresh

Jul 31, 2023Dennis Weaver

What to do before your bread goes stale

I have a friend in Minnesota; we talk for an hour every Tuesday, almost without fail. I’ve known Cy for about 25 years. We talk religion, philosophies, people, business—and bread. We’re both Christians but of different denominations. We both bake and share bread. When Cy goes to meet someone new, he takes a loaf of fresh bread.

When someone moves into our neighborhood, I grab a bread mix and make them a warm loaf of bread. (Sometimes, if I am busy, I’ll take them a pancake mix instead.) I know most everyone in the neighborhood. (It's not a big neighborhood.)

Cy buys lots of bread machine mixes. He always has fresh bread at home. He makes bread mixes almost every week.  It’s just he and his wife at home. They eat a little and the rest goes in the freezer. He slices it, slips wax paper squares between the slices, tags it so that he knows what he’s got, and then freezes it. If he wants sunflower bread for breakfast, he digs a slice out of the freezer and toasts it. The toaster freshens it.

It’s not a bad way to live—fresh bread every day and lots of friends.

Freezing bread is a good way to store whatever bread you're not going to use in a few days. Because homemade bread is not laced with preservatives, it won't keep longer than maybe, five days.

In the freezer, bread will last three or four weeks or longer than that in a heavier bag or with the air pressed out. Toasting will help restore slices that have started to stale or dry out.

Cy slips waxed paper between the slices so they don't stick together and he can remove one or two slices at a time.

Toasting helps restore the bread that has started to stale in the freezer. The surfaces will be dry and the center will be soft.

Two ways to make oven loaves with a bread machine mix

Cy always gives away oven loaves. He likes the traditional look of oven loaves. It's easy. He puts his bread machine mix in his bread machine and then sets the bread machine to the dough setting.

After the cycle is complete, he takes the dough from the machine, forms a loaf, and puts it in a prepared bread pan, usually one 9x5-inches.  He prepares it simply by smearing shortening on the inside surfaces of the pan.

He puts the loaf inside a plastic proofing bag and lets the bread rise until it's poofy, usually 45 minutes to an hour. You should jut start to see bubbles start to form on the surface of the loaf.

He then hurries the loaf to his preheated oven and bakes the loaf at 350 degrees for abut 30 minutes.

The second way is almost as simple.

Instead of putting the bread machine mix in the bread machine, empty the bread mix into the bowl of your stand-type mixer with the dough hook attachment. Add the water and the yeast and set the machine to low to start the mixing. Once the mix starts to come together and blend into a dough ball, increase the speed to medium high and let it run until the gluten is formed and the dough is stretchy. Seven minutes fine in most machines.

Then you put the dough in a prepared pan and bake it at 350 just as Cy does.



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