Keeping bread fresh is one struggle that almost everyone can relate to simply because it is a staple food we can’t do without. Breadboxes are making a comeback, and it is pretty much hard to tell if they have the ability to keep bread fresh than other traditional methods.
Professional chefs have put them to test. They picked up a few loaves of unsliced sourdough bread—all made at the same bakery—and stored them in four different ways. One part in plastic wrap, one in the plastic bag they came in, another in a paper bag, and the last part in the breadbox.
The bread was then monitored for the next three days before slicing it in half and assessing it for two more days. The results were astounding.
The paper bag was, by far, the weakest link. By day two, the bread stored in it was hard as a rock. By day three, the chefs found that they could barely slice through its crusty exterior to cut it in half for the second half of the testing. While the inside was still nice and moist, it would be hard for anyone to use this stale bread hack to make it edible. So, when it comes to storing your bread, skip the paper bag.
The plastic bag and plastic wrap methods were fairly on par with each other when it came to keeping the bread fresh. But, they both had a major disadvantage: the plastic suffocated the crust. By day three, the bread was still edible, but it was completely soft. It had lost that crispy exterior that gives bread its signature chew. They were both a little dry, too, although not completely stale.
The clear winner was the breadbox. What makes the breadbox so much better for storing bread? It helped the bread retain its original characteristics: a crispy exterior, a moist crumb, and a delectable chew. Like a plastic bag, the box traps the moisture from the bread inside the container.
But, unlike the bag, the box also is breathable, allowing some of that moisture to escape instead of softening the bread’s exterior. As a matter of fact, the box creates the perfect humid environment to keep your bread at its peak for three or four days.
However, the sliced loaf dried out on the cut end when stored in the breadbox, but the drying can be prevented if the slices are pressed together to protect the exposed slice.
If you’re buying pre-sliced bread, the breadbox might not be the best option for you. But if you want to keep a store-bought artisan loaf (or, better yet, homemade bread) in its peak condition for a few days, the breadbox is the way to go.