Fresh bread, with its crunchy crust and soft internal crumb, is one of the most loved culinary delights in the world.
However, it unfortunately tends to lose its freshness quickly and with it also its overall nutritional value; in fact, despite being mainly a source of carbohydrates, fresh bread also contains minerals and vitamins.
Preserving bread in the best possible way means not only maintaining its nutritional properties for longer, but also reducing food waste which now represents one of the great problems of our time.
There are several ways to preserve the freshness of bread for two or three days, thus preventing it from drying out and hardening.
First of all, it is good to know that in the case of bread that is still warm or freshly baked, it is absolutely necessary to let it cool to room temperature before storing it as, otherwise, the humidity present in the crumb will tend to make it deteriorate sooner.
Store fresh bread in a paper or cloth bag and in a plastic bag
One of the most common ways of keeping bread is to place it in a paper bag (usually the one in which it is sold) and wrap everything in a plastic bag, taking care to eliminate all the air inside.
Often the paper bag is replaced by a cloth such as a napkin or a kitchen towel.
This preservation method has the advantage of blocking the passage of air to the outside, preventing the loss of softness of the bread which therefore does not harden.
At the same time, however, the lack of ventilation favors a humid environment where bacteria are free to proliferate, quickly causing the appearance of mould.
Store fresh bread in a paper bag and a cloth bag
To avoid mold problems and maintain the freshness of the bread at the same time, we can opt for a solution that wraps it several times in breathable materials.
Specifically, we wrap the bread first in a paper bag (even the one from the bakery) and then in a cotton or linen cloth bag.
By doing this we will have fresh bread for longer which is not subject to mould.
Freeze fresh bread
Freezing freshly purchased bread is an excellent idea because in this way none of it is wasted.
A valid anti-waste freezing technique consists in placing fresh bread already sliced into special plastic bags in the freezer, so as to defrost only the quantity needed each time.
As regards the defrosting phase, it is preferable that the bread defrosts naturally at room temperature and then we can heat it for a few minutes in the oven so that it recovers its natural crunchiness.
It must be remembered that to have a satisfactory result after thawing, bread should always be frozen fresh and never as leftovers from the day before.
Where to store fresh bread
The place in which to store the bread is not a factor to be underestimated in order to keep it fresh for longer.
In fact, bread must not be exposed to direct sunlight and must be stored at room temperature away from heat sources in a dry place such as a bread bin or kitchen cabinet.
Although it is a widespread habit, bread should never be put in the refrigerator where it tends to become stale and dry out more quickly than it does at room temperature.
In the fridge, the bread's natural moisture is removed by first migrating from the crumb to the crust and then vanishing into the air.
Bread, following this migration, becomes much less digestible as it undergoes a process called "starch retrogration" in which the starch, deprived of water, tends to take on a more compact crystalline structure which is difficult to break down by enzymes digestive.