Goodbye stale bread and How to keep bread fresh longer
Who doesn’t love a fresh loaf of bread? I certainly do. The only problem I have with bread is storing it so I don’t end up having a stale piece of toast for breakfast the next day. I usually freeze about half the loaf once I come home from the market but, lets be honest, frozen bread just is not the same. I knew there had to be a way out there to preserve bread without throwing it in the freezer.
That is how my quest for the best storage method for bread came about. Paper and plastic bags never seem to do the job and leave me with hard bread only suitable for croutons. I don’t really care for croutons, so my search was fueled with even more determination to find an answer. The answer, strangely enough, is linen.
Linen bags are the perfect way to store bread because they are breathable, yet tightly closed. It seems a bit unlikely, I know, but it really does work. I am actually quite pleased the answer to a fresher loaf of bread is linen because they look a lot nicer than a crumpled bag. Not only do linen bags look lovely on your kitchen counter, they also save you (and the environment) a lot of paper and plastic.
Storing your bread in a linen bag leaves you with bread that stays fresher longer. Unlike plastic, which turns bread tough and soggy, linen lets the bread breathe. This means, your crust is still crisp and the inside of the loaf stays soft and fluffy.
There are a number of stores online that offer linen bread bags, including my favorite Swedish version found at the Huset store. I was all set to order a few bags until realized something- I can make that! I do enjoy the occasional craft session, but this is so simple to make it hardly counts as a craft.
All you need to make your very own bread bag is a piece of linen, tea towels work really well, and a drawstring cord. Just make a couple seams to create a drawstring bag essentially. It doesn’t have to been perfect; mistakes make it look more…rustic.
Of course, you can let your creativity run wild with this. I think using vintage linen tea towels look and work very nicely. If you are good at embroidery then perhaps a little design or personalized detail will make your bag look even more beautiful. My favorite way to decorate it is simply with the word “bread” on it. Or perhaps label it in different languages such as “le pain” or “bröd”.
If all this sounds a tad daunting then maybe just try a colorful cord for the drawstring to start with. Still too much? You can just close it with a rubber band then….no one is grading you on this. In the end, it is just a bag for bread so you don’t need to break out all the arts and crafts if you don’t want to. But that is what I love about making your own bag. It is so simple and you can create it however you want! They are so easy to make that you can even hand them out to friends and family, because everybody loves fresh bread.
I will absolutely be making one for each of the bread bakers in my sweet little fellowship. Including myself?
I bought linen specifically for this purpose; can’t wait to get my bread bags made and get baking.
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Should i wrap the bread first in wax paper before putting it here? Whats the proper way to sterilize the linen bag?
I was eager to try this, and found a lovely 100% flax kitchen towel that was perfect for my homemade baguettes. Unfortunately, I can’t say that it preserves the bread any longer. I made two baguettes, and put one in the bag as soon as it had cooled a bit. The next morning the crust was no longer crisp. After cutting off a slice to see how the inside was, I found the bread was what you would expect the inside of a loaf of day old bread to be. I returned the loaf to the bag and closed it tightly. The next day revealed that the cut end of the loaf was dry and a little shrunken. I might as well have left it out on the counter-top. It was a fun project. The linen is a dream to handle while sewing and ironing it. But it doesn’t preserve bread overnight as well as a plastic bag would. Am I going to throw the bag away? No. Anytime I am invited to dinner I bring a loaf or two of homemade bread, usually a baguette, and this will make a nice bag to transport it in–I had been wrapping each loaf in a clean kitchen towel.
PacoBell, leaving bread out with no covering is more open to the air. I’ve read in old housekeeping manuals to wrap your bread in a tea towel and put it in the bread box which would certainly be better for it than leaving it sit out. this bread bag would be more like wrapping it in a tea towel. Each layer of protection from open moving air would protect it better from drying, not to mention flies, etc.
Just curious, what is the scientific reasoning behind why linen is a better substitute for bread preservation than paper? As far as I know, paper allows the bread to “breathe” just as well. Also, how is a linen bag any different than just leaving the bread out on the cutting board “naked”? I’ve done that with artisanal bread and it gets hard after only a few days.
What weight of Linon should be used to make a bread bag?
Also I want to make a cloth doll and I would like to know what weight of linen would be the right to use to make a cloth doll.
Just realized I have a number of hand woven heavy linen towels from Hungary–perfect for bread bags. My kitchen isn’t big enough for a box.
I think this is a great idea. I will be making these for myself and as gifts. Thank You.
Great observation. It is true that if you do choose to use a tea towel to preserve your bread, make sure it is linen. Many tea towels are made of cotton, which will not keep your bread fresh.
A great post and I will definitely try this. Two things occurred to me. I recently learned that real bread, by which I mean non-supermarket bread, shouldn’t be refrigerated, also with using tea-towels – most these days are cotton, not linen so people will have to check that.