Using a Bread Box
Bread. I think it is probably my all-time favorite food. 🙂
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!
Notice the hole in the top that ventilates, and doubles as a handle.
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!)
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.
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 like this bread box 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!