Using a Bread Box

 

How To Use A Bread Box | areturntosimplicity.com

Bread. I think it is probably my all-time favorite food. πŸ™‚

I have always loved homemade bread, and I also enjoy making it (most of the time), but I used to always be frustrated with how quickly it got stale or moldy. I always put my loaves into gallon ziplock bags as soon as they were cool, and they kept well for a few days, but deteriorated quickly after that. After much frustration and lots of research, I decided on another method of keeping my bread.

Enter: the bread box.

Back before plastic bags and commercially made bread with preservatives, EVERYONE was using a bread box! A plastic bag completely seals the bread in, and doesn’t give it any room to breathe, thus causing the mold. Refrigerating bread makes it go stale very quickly, whether it’s in a bag or not. (strange, huh?). However, a breadbox is slightly ventilated, that way, the bread doesn’t get moldy, but there isn’t enough airflow to dry the bread out. So, I read lots of old books, and researched online about what design/features were best, and requested one for my birthday last year.

Matthew presented me with this gorgeous box that he made out of ambrosia maple, with everything exactly as I wanted!

How To Use A Bread Box | areturntosimplicity.com

 

Notice the hole in the top that ventilates, and doubles as a handle.

How To Use A Bread Box | areturntosimplicity.com

 

On the inside, it is just a plain and simple box. (those dark little spots are just part of the unfinished wood. I noticed that in these pictures they kind of look like mold, but they definitely aren’t!)

Bread Box

He made it large enough for 3 regular sized loaves to sit in the bottom. That way, when I make french bread, or any long and skinny bread, it can fit in there as well. Here it is with one loaf of bread in it.

Bread box with loaf of bread

Originally, bread boxes were created to keep mice and bugs from eating the bread, but it was soon discovered that the bread box also extended the bread’s shelf life!

The way it works is to have a small amount of ventilation, that allows just enough airflow to prevent the bread from creating condensation inside the box and molding, but not enough airflow to dry out the bread. Usually either a small hole in the top or a few tiny holes in the sides accomplishes this quite well.

*Lots of my readers have been asking if the more modern stainless steel bread boxes work for keeping homemade bread fresh like the old fashioned wooden ones do. The answer is-YES! As long as they have some sort of ventilation likeΒ this bread boxΒ does. I would avoid any aluminum bread boxes, and stick with stainless steel so you don’t have to worry about any leaching into your bread.

So now that I’m using a bread box, my bread will last an entire week, and still be in great shape! All without a plastic bag in sight!

How To Use A Bread Box | areturntosimplicity.com

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32 responses to “Using a Bread Box”

  1. Now why haven’t I thought about getting a bread box!?? I have been using bags too. I will be on the look out for a bread box. Thanks for sharing at So Much at Home’s link up today. I hope you share with us each Wednesday on the link up parties. I am so glad I found your blog!
    God bless,
    Chris

  2. Where did you buy the breadbox from? This makes so much sense, and I want one now πŸ™‚

    Also, that kombucha baby that I promised you may or may not be alive still…While away I’m afraid that no one tended the scoby, however, it does still seem viable. Let me know!

  3. That’s gorgeous. What a wonderful husband you have!

  4. lovely bread box! I had no idea the box kept bread fresh and resisted the mold. I also didn’t realize it was the bag that caused both to happen so quick! Thanks for the info and kuddos to hubby for such a great job on the box!

  5. Rachelle says:

    So… if you have some store bought bread do you take it out of the plastic bag and put it in there? Since it is already sliced I was wondering how that would work. I have one that is a bit different, but haven’t been using it at all. I may have to dig it out of the attic.
    Thanks!

    • Angi says:

      I don’t buy much bread from the store, but when I do, I just put the whole bag in my bread box simply to keep it out of the way. The store bought bread contains preservatives that keep it from going moldy or stale as quickly as homemade bread does, and leaving it in a bread box without a bag would dry it out rather quickly. Especially if it is pre-sliced. Bread boxes were designed to keep bread fresh without preservatives, so usually that is just homemade or artisian style breads. Does that make sense, Rachelle? πŸ™‚

  6. Aria says:

    Beautiful bread box! In your research did you find anything about wood vs stainless steel? I have seen some stainless steel bread boxes at Marshall’s recently, but wondered if they would work as well as the traditional wood boxes.

  7. Glenda says:

    Love this – reminds me of when I was young and my Mum had those drop down bins in her kitchen. Makes me seem old maybe but I loved those! So my question is does this work with the commercial bought bread bins, like with the roll down door or don’t those have enough ventilation to make it work? I might just need to get one for my kitchen counter!!

    • Angi says:

      Usually commercial bread boxes are designed with a venting system, but I would just check the description or picture before purchasing to make sure.

  8. Shasta says:

    I am making my own bread now, and have been storing it in a plastic cake container. I wondered why I was having so much trouble with it molding after only a few days. Do you know if cedar would work for a breadbox? We have a lot of cedar boards from some trees we cut down and had milled. Thank you for writing this.

    • Angi says:

      Cedar should work just fine Shasta! It may leave your bread with a slight cedar smell at first, but who doesn’t love that smell! πŸ™‚

  9. Amanda says:

    I picked up an old bread box at a garage sale in perfect condition with the exception of the mice droppings inside it. I’ve dusted all that out but I’m unsure of how to go about sanitizing it so that it can be used for my bread. Any suggestions?

    • Angi says:

      Is the bread box wood or metal? I think I would use very hot vinegar to rinse it out. (Hot vinegar has been show to be as effective as bleach). Then I would wipe it out with a clean wet cloth until the vinegar smell is mosly gone. Let it air dry for a day or so and use πŸ™‚

      • Amanda says:

        It’s wood. I’ll try the hot vinegar wash. I’ve been hesitant to use bleach because of its harshness. And I just pulled a fresh loaf out of the bread maker. Thank you!

  10. Jennifer S. says:

    Thank you so much. I’ve made homemade bread for years and always puzzled over how to store it. Admittedly with eight children three loaves don’t last long. πŸ™‚ However, now I know that I can store them without plastic in the wooden bread box I already have and they’ll be fine. Again, thank you.

  11. Rosie says:

    What a beautiful bread box. Whilst any of you are waiting forr the perfect breadbox, wrap your bread in a quality tea towel (cotton or linen). Makes a big difference to storage. Little tip picked up in France where they are big bread eaters.

  12. Tori says:

    From your research why did u choose maple? Would pine be as effective or should I stick with maple?
    Thanks πŸ™‚

  13. Julie says:

    Hi – my husband has offered to build me a breadbox! I was wondering if you could share the dimensions of yours…? Is it completely unfinished wood or did you stain the outside? Now that you’ve used it awhile is there anything you would have done differently? (for example, more ventilation holes, wider, deeper, etc?)

    Thanks!
    Julie

    • Angi says:

      Hi Julie! The outside dimensions of my bread box are 17″x12″, and it is 9″ deep. I love pretty much everything about my bread box, but if I had a tiny kitchen or a smaller family, then I would make it a bit smaller. As it is, it’s perfect for all the loads of bread I bake each week, so I wouldn’t change a thing. πŸ™‚ The outside has a coat of food safe finish, but the inside is just raw wood. Does that make sense? Feel free to ask more questions if you have any more!

  14. Sandy says:

    Would it be good to store muffins and cupcakes in. It takes a while for us to eat them and they always get too moist in my cupcake saver. Hubby won’t eat them when they’re too moist.

  15. Grayson says:

    This was so helpful! Right now, it’s just my fiancΓ© and I, and we don’t go through a homemade loaf fast enough before it starts to get moldy in my plastic bags. I’m grateful for this information so we can be less wasteful! I’ll have to keep my eye out for one or make the hubby-to-be make me one! πŸ˜‰ Thanks for sharing!

  16. Pam Cameron says:

    And does it work after the bread is cut and has an open end? Or does that still get stale and hard, and you have to cut it off? Is there any way to prevent that?

    • Angi says:

      That is what the heel was traditionally used for. You cut off the heel, cut your slices of bread you want to use, then REPLACE the heel back against the open end of the bread, and put back into the bread box. πŸ™‚

  17. Danielle says:

    So I have a bread box and wrap my homemade bread in a cotton cloth. When I made wheat bread, which I know is a dryer bread, it would become dry within two days. When it is done cooling, I normally slice it then and wrap it. Is there any advice you can give? It is start to get cold here too. My husband loves the homemade bread but it dries up and he’s unable to use the bread for his lunch. What do you think?

    • Angi says:

      I would avoid slicing until using it. If you slice, then you generally have to use a non breathing material like plastic to keep it from drying. The other thing you could try is wrapping it in a wax type cloth or wax paper instead of the cotton.

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