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How To Keep Bread Fresh

Homemade bread from a bread machine is desirable for many reasons – the joy of making something from scratch, a fresh loaf just the way a family likes it etc. – but the privilege of chemical and preservative free home-baked bread comes at a cost. Store bought bread can last for a long time off the shelves with little precautions but when it comes to bread from a bread machine it is a different story.

This brief guide on how to keep bread fresh from the bread machine will show you some simple solutions to this problem.

Storage options, alternative preservatives and long-term freezing.

The first thing to consider is where to store the loaf. Bread has the potential to go stale from a lack of moisture within 48 hours but a simple bread bin can double the life of the loaf by letting it retain the moisture. In this case, the best temperature is room temperature but this can vary depending on the ingredients that have been used and the likelihood of them succumbing to mould. Some home bakers would even say that a simple zip-up freezer bag is enough to keep the moisture in and the mould out. Also remember to only slice off what you are going to use verses slicing the entire loaf at once.

An alternative approach is to try some natural preservatives within the dough. Adding vinegar to bread may seem like a terrible idea but this old-fashioned trick can be a useful preventative measure with the right quantities. If vinegar does not appeal, oils like garlic and mustard seed are also said to do the trick but they can interact with the flavouring. Additionally, there is the option of making the dough a hybrid of regular bread and sourdough – a variety that spoils slower and can increase the shelf life of other breads – or substituting the sugar for honey, which draws in moisture and is said to act as a preservative.

All the ideas above are ideal for short term storage, when bakers only want to add a few extra days to the life of their produce, but what about a long-term solution for those that are making large quantities? Freezing is still considered the best, and perhaps only, option in this scenario – providing it is left to cool properly and defrosted fully.

The answers on how to keep bread fresh from the bread machine are more numerous than bakers may think.

Some people that use a bread machine for fresh bread may have given up on the idea of long-life loafs and conceded to making smaller batches; however, as this guide shows, there are plenty of simple tricks to help homemade bread stay as fresh as store bought while keeping the process natural and simple. The easiest way to keep your bread fresh – eat it within 24 hours! 

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