If you're sick of throwing away the last few slices of bread, you need to know about this easy trick.

By Maddy Sweitzer-Lamme
December 24, 2020
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I love bread. I love to treat myself to a sourdough loaf made at my local bakery, and eat a slice each morning slathered in jam or topped with soft scrambled eggs. But I'm only one person, and I usually can't eat a whole loaf before the whole thing turns into a brick — totally stale and inedible. Even when I grab a loaf of sandwich bread on my weekly trip to the grocery store, I almost always end up throwing away half the loaf.

Until I learned that the freezer is the perfect place to keep your bread, that is.

It might seem counterintuitive, since you're trying to preserve the bread in its freshness for as long as possible. I, too, was skeptical when I first heard this recommendation, so I called up one of my favorite bakeries, Mighty Bread, in Philadelphia, and talked to the owner and head baker Chris DiPiazza.

"We have people come into the bakery all the time and they get this look like they just stole something," he told me. "And I'm like, 'What?' and they're like, 'Is it ok if I freeze this? I don't know if I can eat it all.' And I tell them, 'Yes, please freeze it.' That's the best option for storage."

The reasoning, it turns out, lies in water content. Bread gets stale because the water in the loaf evaporates, so the key is in keeping the water from leaving the loaf. Leaving it on your counter or in your pantry in a plastic bag is fine, but you may notice that the bread gets moldy. That's because the water is still evaporating into the air in the bag, but then it has nowhere to go. That creates a damp environment where mold flourishes. No one wants that.

Some people also assume that refrigeration is their best bet, but this is also wrong. Fridges work by cooling and drying out the air inside, so you'll actually turn your bread stale faster if you throw it in the fridge. In the freezer, you're capturing the bread exactly as it is. The moisture in the loaf isn't going anywhere.

"I tell people to slice the whole loaf of bread, then put it in a plastic bag and freeze it," DiPiazza said. "You definitely don't want to try to slice a frozen loaf of bread, and that way you can just take out what you need. You can put it directly in the toaster from the freezer, and it won't add more than about 30 seconds or so to your toast time."

This trick works just as well with grocery store bread, and since it's already sliced, you can just put the whole package in your freezer. Now, whenever I head to the bakery or the grocery store, I make sure to immediately stow half of my loaf in the freezer. And let me tell you, there's no better feeling than thinking I've run out of bread for my morning toast, only to realize my freezer is fully stocked with perfectly fresh slices.