How to store sourdough bread & keep it fresh

There’s nothing like a fresh loaf of sourdough straight out of the oven. But unless you plan to eat the whole thing in one sitting, then you’ll need a way to keep it fresh until you get around to eating the rest.

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Like all bread, if you don’t store your sourdough correctly, it can become either stale and crunchy or moist and mouldy. Sourdough bread is unique because it has already undergone a slow fermentation process. The natural fermentation that takes place while making the sourdough starter also creates natural lactic acid that will help keep it fresh for longer.

That said, it isn’t full of preservatives like some other types of bread, so you will still only get a few good days out of it if you don’t store it correctly.

By storing it the right way, you can keep your sourdough fresher for longer!

Linen bag

store sourdough bread in a linen bag

Linen bags are one of the best ways to store sourdough bread so that it stays fresh. Linen is a breathable and durable fabric that provides an excellent environment for bread. As long as the bag is closed, it will keep just enough moisture inside for the sourdough to retain its soft interior while preventing the outside from getting soggy.

Linen is a natural and sustainable plant fibre, so using (and reusing) a linen bag to store your bread is a much more ethical choice than plastic or paper.

If you can’t find a linen bread bag and you’re feeling ambitious, you could try making your own with linen tea towels or napkins. This could also make a great gift for friends!

Traditional breadbox

I remember loving the smell in the kitchen every time my grandmother would open up the breadbox. It’s the only place she ever stored bread, and there’s a good reason why, because it’s effective. This traditional bread storage method is an ideal environment for storing sourdough bread. The inside of a breadbox is dry and dark, creating just enough humidity to keep the bread from going stale while preventing it from getting mouldy.

Both wood and stainless-steel bread boxes are available, but they basically do the same thing. Beyond just the aesthetic look of the breadbox in your kitchen, there are only a few differences to consider between the two types. Stainless steel bread boxes are easier to clean than wood, and they also provide a better seal which will help keep out flies or other bugs.

When storing your bread in a breadbox, simply place your loaf directly inside, with the cut side down.  

Paper bag

store sourdough bread in a paper bag

Sourdough bread is notorious for its crispy exterior and soft interior. Keeping your loaf at room temperature in a paper bag will help your sourdough from going soft. That said, a paper bag will let in quite a bit of air which can cause it to dry out and go hard faster. If you plan to devour your loaf within 2 to 3 days, then you should be fine storing it in a paper bag. But don’t expect it to stay fresh much longer than that.

If you are storing your sourdough in a paper bag, make sure that you always close the end tightly so that no air can escape the bag.

The freezer

Ok, so the freezer obviously won’t keep your sourdough fresh, but it will stop it from going stale or mouldy. If you want to save your sourdough for a rainy day, then freezing it means that you can enjoy it for months to come. You can freeze the entire loaf or slice it up and freeze it that way. If you freeze it in slices, that means you can just grab out as many as you need when you want to toast it up. Freeze your sourdough bread by wrapping it tightly in aluminium foil or putting it in a large freezer-safe bag.

While a thawed sourdough loaf may not taste the same as a fresh loaf, there are some ways you can bring it back to life. Once you dethaw your loaf, mist it thoroughly with water. Place the loaf into a hot oven for about 5 to 10 minutes, and then enjoy!

How NOT to store sourdough bread

There are also some places where you definitely don’t want to store your sourdough bread. One of those is in the fridge. When it comes to most food products, the refrigerator is where you put things to prevent them from going bad. But it’s not the optimal environment for sourdough. A refrigerator essentially sucks all the moisture out of your bread, causing it to go stale much faster than if you were to keep it at room temperature.

Also, never store your sourdough in a plastic bag. Plastic bags prevent any moisture from escaping and don’t allow any dry air to get in. Your bread will quickly become soggy and may also turn mouldy. You’ll notice condensation inside the bag as the moisture tries to escape from the loaf, but since no air can get in, the bread will just sit in that condensed water.

Regardless of how you decide to store your sourdough bread, always wait until it has entirely cooled before wrapping it, putting it into a bag or putting it in the bread box. You should also never cut into the loaf until it’s cooled, as much as you might want that first, warm bite. The bread needs to set when it comes out of the oven, and if you cut into it too soon, the inside might become sticky and doughy.

storing sourdough bread

Sourdough bread no longer fresh? Don’t throw it out!

No matter how perfectly you store sourdough bread, it will eventually lose its freshness. We never want to waste food, but sometimes there’s just too much bread to get through. If you’re noticing that your sourdough is starting to become stale, don’t throw it out! There are tons of awesome ways that you can give it new life in these leftover bread recipes. From delicious Panzanella salad to hearty stuffing, there are tons of uses for sourdough bread that’s lost its bounce.

Come enjoy our freshly baked bread every single day at our vegan Whistler bakery, BReD