Why You Should Be Storing Bread In A Tea Towel

If you find yourself with a surplus of bread after a bakery visit or if you've made your own batch of homemade french bread and have some left over, it's important to know how to store freshly baked loaves of bread so that they keep.

There are worse things in life than stale bread — especially since stale bread has the wonderful ability to be transformed into many different things, from a crispy crouton salad topping to french toast to acting as a binding ingredient in meatballs. However, sometimes you just want to extend the shelf life of fresh bread. The most efficient way to keep bread fresh for an extended period of time is to store it in the freezer, per Epicurious, since the low temperatures will effectively keep staleness and mold at bay. A bread box is another solid option to keep your sourdough fresh (if you have one, you can even throw a cut apple in there for moisture, per Cuisine Actuelle), but if your kitchen counter real estate is too limited for a one-task object, there is another easy solution to keeping your bread at its best: tea towels.

Wrap your bread in a tea towel

According to Busy Baker, bread begins to go stale the moment it leaves the oven; the moisture of the center of the bread will move towards the crust and then eventually into the air around the bread, which is what makes it dry and stale. Starch retrogradation, or when the starch molecules in bread begin to solidify as bread cools down, is the culprit that makes bread hard. Adding heat back into the equation causes the starch molecules to gelatinize again, which is why toasting stale bread can restore some of its former fresh glory.

To prevent moisture loss and starch retrogradation, one can simply wrap fresh bread — unsliced is best. Instead of plastic or foil, which is less eco-friendly, use a tea towel. This method is endorsed by Parisian baker Eric Kayser, of Maison Kayser fame, who advises those with artisanal breads to wrap them with a dish towel and then store them in a dry place.