Sourdough bread is nothing like most bread types out there because no commercially available yeast was used in making it. Instead, it is leavened with sourdough starter, which consists of flour and water. Even though it is a special type of bread, storing sourdough bread is so easy that it won’t leave you sour grasping.
A sourdough bread left on a countertop will stay fresh for up five days. To protect it from dust and dirt, place it inside a brown paper bag or in the microwave. Wrap sourdough bread in cling wrap and aluminum foil, and then place it in the freezer to keep it fresh for up to six months.
No matter if the sourdough bread was made by your own two hands, purchased from the bakery or given to you as a gift, it’s a must that you store it properly to keep it in an enjoyable state for as long as possible.
Different Ways to Store Sourdough Bread
You can store sourdough bread in many ways.
The method you should go for will depend on when you are planning on consuming all of your sourdough bread.
Some storage solutions are suited for keeping sourdough bread around for a few days. Other storage solutions are ideal for keeping sourdough bread fresh for several months.
Without further ado, let’s check out how to store sourdough bread in the right way.
On the Countertop
Just like most types of bread out there, you can keep sourdough bread on a countertop. It will remain in an excellent state for four to five days, provided that the conditions are right.
Most store-bought baked products contain artificial preservatives to keep themselves nice-looking and delectable for a long time.
Sourdough bread, on the other hand, is completely free of anything that can help considerably extend its shelf life. This is why proper storage is a must.
Luckily, you can store sourdough bread on a countertop if you can consume its entirety in just a few days.
It’s important to note, however, that the process of going stale speeds up when you cut it.
The good news is that you can keep sourdough bread from drying out faster than usual by placing it on a countertop cut-side down. This is an ingenious way to give the cut portion of the loaf the protection that it needs.
By the way, if you have a traditional bread box, feel free to place your sourdough bread in it instead of simply leaving it on a countertop.
However, there is one thing that you should avoid at all costs. It’s none other than placing it in an airtight container. Since it traps moisture together with the sourdough bread, this can lead to disastrous results.
Are you living where it’s hot and humid?
Then it is a better idea to store sourdough bread in the freezer than leaving it on a countertop. We will talk about this method in a few, so don’t stop reading now.
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In a Brown Paper Bag
Dust, dirt, pet hair — your sourdough bread can come into contact with these if you leave it on a countertop at room temperature.
Worry not because there is a simple way to protect the bread from anything that you do not want to ingest accidentally. All you need to do is stash it in a brown paper bag.
What’s really nice about a brown paper bag is that it’s out of a porous material. So, in other words, it permits air to pass through it. This is a good thing because it allows sourdough bread to breathe and keep it from collecting moisture.
A brown paper bag can also help keep sourdough bread from ending up wet and soggy as it can absorb some of the moisture in the air.
This helps save a loaf of sourdough bread from becoming moldy. There is no need to seal the brown paper bag, although you may do so if the bread is at high risk of getting dirty.
Other than a brown paper bag, you may also place sourdough bread in a linen bag or any other bag out of a breathable type of fabric. It works just as well as a brown paper bag. It’s washable, too.
In the Microwave
Earlier, it was mentioned that you may stash sourdough bread in a bread box. But if you don’t have one, there is no need to worry. That’s because there is something in your kitchen that can serve as a makeshift breadbox.
It’s none other than your microwave.
What makes the microwave the perfect bread box is that it helps protect sourdough bread from the elements.
It has a stable environment in it, providing sourdough bread with just the right temperature and humidity levels. Because a microwave does not have an airtight seal, it allows sourdough bread to breathe.
In the Freezer
The steps on how to store sourdough bread in the freezer are the very same steps on how to store many types of bread in the freezer.
Aside from considerably extending the shelf life, another goal when stashing sourdough bread in the freezer is to keep it from getting freezer burn, which can cause the bread to have extremely dry and hard sections.
Both whole sourdough bread and sourdough bread slices can be stored in the freezer without trouble. However, it is a must that you take the necessary steps for each one.
Storing whole sourdough bread in the freezer
When storing whole sourdough bread in the freezer, there is one very important thing that you need to ensure just before you do so.
It’s none other than seeing to it that the sourdough bread loaf is completely cool. Making the mistake of stashing hot or warm sourdough bread loaf in the freezer will cause it to become soggy and mushy.
Always remember: allow your sourdough bread to cool completely beforehand!
Once you are 100% sure that the whole sourdough bread is already at room temperature, wrap it very well in cling wrap.
The goal is to keep much-needed moisture from escaping, thus allowing your sourdough bread to retain as much of its qualities as possible when it’s time to thaw and consume it.
After wrapping a loaf of sourdough bread in cling wrap, wrap it in aluminum foil. This will help ensure further that no moisture will escape. Also, it will protect your sourdough bread from freezer burn.
When done properly, whole sourdough bread will remain fresh in the freezer for up to six months.
Storing sourdough bread slices in the freezer
Nothing can make you enjoy sourdough bread from the freezer quicker than keeping it there already sliced.
Because more surface area is exposed to the elements, a frozen slice of sourdough bread thaws so much faster than a frozen loaf of sourdough bread. So, in other words, you can enjoy the bread’s tangy goodness in no time.
To store sourdough bread slices in the freezer, wrap each one in cling wrap. It’s a must that you make sure that the slices are wrapped very well to keep them from losing their moisture.
After individually wrapping the slices in cling wrap, place all of them in a single ziploc bag. Locking in moisture is important.
However, it is also vital that you keep excess moisture out. This is why before sealing the Ziploc bag containing the individually-wrapped slices of sourdough bread, squeeze out as much moisture-containing air as you can.
Just like whole sourdough bread, slices of sourdough bread kept in the freezer can last for up to six long months.
How to Defrost Sourdough Bread
Defrosting sourdough bread is as simple as allowing it to thaw on a countertop from one to two hours. The thawing time will depend on the size of the loaf. Heat it in the oven afterward. Sourdough bread slices thaw faster than whole sourdough bread. You can pop them in the toaster to thaw.
When thawing an entire loaf of bread, carefully remove the aluminum foil and cling wrap, too. Place it on a countertop and allow it to sit there until such time that it’s already at room temperature. To bring back the crispness of the crust, heat it in the oven at 200°F for 10 to 15 minutes.
However, some do not find this necessary, provided that sourdough bread is kept in the freezer correctly.
Some seasoned bakers swear that taking a loaf of sourdough bread straight from the freezer to the oven works. According to them, this will not ruin sourdough bread. They suggest defrosting sourdough bread at 325°F in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes until the middle is soft and chewy once again.
Did you know that you can pop a frozen slice of sourdough bread in the toaster without thawing it first?
It will take a little longer to toast than a sourdough bread slice at room temperature.
But it will toast. If you want, you may allow the frozen slice of sourdough bread to cool to room temperature on a countertop before toasting it.
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Can you freeze sourdough bread dough?
You can freeze sourdough bread dough if you wish to bake it at a later time, or it’s a leftover and you hate to throw it away. Sourdough bread dough will not continue to rise. As soon as you place it in the freezer, the fermentation action of the sourdough starter will come to a halt.
Compared to sourdough bread, storing sourdough bread dough in the freezer is a lot easier.
All you have to do is wrap the sourdough bread dough in cling wrap. You may also place it in a ziploc bag.
Just see to it that you remove as much air as you possibly can before sealing the bag and placing it in the freezer. This will help to keep dehydration as well as freezer burn at bay.
Do you have a vacuum sealer?
Then use it before you put sourdough bread dough in the freezer. This will help keep it fresh for a long time until you are ready to bake it in the oven.
Two ways to keep sourdough dough in the freezer
When it comes to freezing sourdough bread dough in the freezer for later use, you have a couple of options: folding it and shaping it into a loaf.
Both of them allow you to keep sourdough bread dough fresh for up to three months. The best one is something that suits your needs and preferences.
Flattening and folding sourdough bread dough before wrapping it in cling wrap or storing it in a ziploc bag prior to freezing allows for faster defrosting later on.
So, if you have a hectic everyday schedule or you just want to whip up a phenomenal loaf of sourdough bread in a snap, this method is right for you.
Shaping sourdough bread dough into a loaf helps save energy. That’s because it comes in a shape that’s ready for the oven. However, compared to folded sourdough bread dough, it takes a longer time to defrost.
How to Keep Sourdough Bread Crusty
To keep sourdough bread crusty, let it cool completely before storing it. Do not wrap it in cling wrap or place it in a ziploc bag unless you plan to store it in the freezer. Popping sourdough bread in the oven after freezing it helps bring back its crustiness.
Extending the shelf life is not the only thing that you should focus on when storing sourdough bread. You should also make sure that its qualities are preserved.
Something that makes sourdough bread a total standout is the crust. Needless to say, keeping its outer covering crusty and crispy is a must for your optimum enjoyment.
There is one more reason why it is a good idea to keep the crust of sourdough bread intact. And it’s none other than to keep the middle soft and moist.
Unfortunately, if you do not treat your sourdough bread correctly, its crust is likely to wind up less than perfect.
Keeping sourdough bread crusty begins right after baking it.
Never make the mistake of placing a freshly baked loaf of sourdough bread in a bread box or ziploc bag or wrap it in cling wrap while it is still hot or warm.
Otherwise, the trapped moisture will cause the crust to become soft and mushy.
This is why you should always allow sourdough bread to cool completely on a wire rack or a countertop before storing it if you want to keep it crusty as well as to maintain proper moisture levels within.
Even if the loaf of sourdough bread is completely cool, do not store it in a plastic bag. This is to avoid moisture in the air as well as moisture inside the sourdough bread from ruining the crust.
As earlier mentioned, if you want to store sourdough bread outside the freezer, place it in a paper bag to make sure that it will be able to breathe.
To restore the crust’s crispness after storing sourdough bread in the freeze, simply thaw and pop it in the oven.
How to Tell If Sourdough Bread is Bad
The best way to tell if sourdough bread is bad is to take a look and whiff of it. Discard the entire loaf if it looks and smells moldy. It is not a good idea to remove the moldy parts and consume the rest. If one part of sourdough bread is moldy, the rest is likely to be moldy, too.
Mold that can grow on sourdough bread can be white, green or pink. Sometimes it’s easy to see it. However, in some instances, it is so fine that you will have to take a closer look.
Either way, it’s for certain that you will notice a moldy smell. It can be strong or faint, depending on the severity.
You may be wondering what will happen if you eat moldy sourdough bread.
Some people may not experience any problem.
Others may suffer from nausea, vomiting, and an upset stomach. In severe cases, allergy-like symptoms such as shortness of breath may be experienced. It all depends on which type of mold is present and how a person’s body reacts to it.
If you don’t want to risk it, throw away that sourdough bread when it looks and smells moldy.
Sourdough bread is a special type of bread. What makes it a complete standout is that it’s leavened with what’s referred to as a sourdough starter instead of commercially available dry and instant yeast.
Because of this, it is a must that you store it properly to keep it from drying out and becoming moldy, too, before you have fully consumed it.
Leaving it on the countertop, placing it in a brown paper bag, keeping it in the microwave, stashing it in the freezer — these are the different ways to store sourdough bread.
The majority of these storage tips can help keep sourdough bread in tip-top shape for a few days. Placing it in the freezer allows you to keep it fresh for up to six long months.
Follow the easy storage steps mentioned above, no matter which one suits your need the most, and you can keep sourdough bread from ending up in the garbage bin.
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