Unfortunately, a lot of the bread we see today in large grocery stores is wrapped in some form of plastic. In fact, finding a loaf of bread that isn’t encased in plastic packaging is sometimes only possible if you visit an artisan bakery, or make your own.
However, even if you do buy bread in a plastic bag, it’s not the best thing to store it in. And we certainly don’t want to turn to other plastics to keep our bread fresher for longer!
Luckily, if you don’t wish to consume an entire loaf in one sitting and wish to freeze your bread, there are some eco-friendly methods to do so – and your bread will taste all the better for it!
Why freeze bread?
Many people who live solo, or who just don’t consume a lot of bread, like to freeze it, as they only consume it in smaller portions and don’t want any wastage. However, it can be difficult to think of ways to freeze bread without using even more single-use plastics.
That’s where we can help. In the article below, you’ll find several tips and tricks to help you both store bread on the countertop for longer, and how to freeze bread without increasing your plastic consumption!
So, how can you store bread without plastic?
There are lots of inventive ways to store bread without the need for using plastic, whether it’s in paper bread bags for homemade bread, or plastic-free freezer storage. Read on to discover our helpful tips!
One good idea is to wrap your loaf of bread in a cloth or cloth bread bag. This helps to keep air off the surface of the loaf and helps it to stay fresh for longer.
Just ensure that the bag is bag manufactured with cotton, linen, or similar lint-free material, as this prevents any fibers from being transferred onto the surface of bread and being ingested. This fail-safe method can keep your bread soft and fresh for up to a week.
If you’re looking for ways of how to freeze sourdough bread, this works in the same way, simply wrap it in multiple layers of cloth and sourdough will keep for up to 6 months or longer!
Wrapping food in beeswax wraps is becoming more popular as people look for a plastic-free alternative for their food storage.
If you’re not a fan of wrapping your food in cloth, this is a great alternative. Many beeswax wrap users believe that this method prevents the bread from becoming stale for longer than cloth wraps, however, this is down to personal preference, as both work well.
The beeswax wraps come in a variety of shapes and sizes, making them suitable for a wide range of purposes. They work particularly well with bread, keeping it fresher for longer, plus, they can be reused over and over multiple times.
If you’re vegan, or just prefer not to use beeswax, you can also buy vegan waxed wraps that work the same way.
Dutch Oven or Enamel Pots
If you want to know how to store bread in the freezer without plastic, a great way is to use a Dutch oven made from enamel, or any other enameled, heavy-lidded pot.
The premise is similar to using a bread box, as when a lid is placed on top, the level of ambient air entering is greatly reduced, meaning the bread turns stale a lot more slowly.
The enamel pot method has many benefits – it saves kitchen space, doesn’t require the use of any form of plastic and they are large enough to fit almost any size loaf of bread inside! You can pick one up from your local thrift store for a good price, or invest in a quality item that’ll last many years.
Bread Box or Tin
If you’re interested in other methods of how to store without plastic – a bread box, an old wooden box, or even a kitchen drawer can also do the trick! Just ensure you wrap the bread in a cloth first to prevent air from getting to the bread.
A cake or cookie tin works in the same way and serves the same purpose. If you are using this method we recommend lining the tin with a cloth or cotton napkin.
How can you freeze bread without plastic?
As we mentioned above, using cloth is a great way to store bread without the need for plastic. This method is suitable for freezing too.
To freeze, just follow one simple step. Wrap the bread tightly inside the cloth, ensuring the surface is covered entirely and there are no gaps, otherwise, your bread may succumb to ‘freezer burn’.
Freezer burn occurs when frozen food is exposed to air and moisture. Crystals of ice form on the surface, causing discoloration and dehydration, leaving your bread pretty much inedible. Therefore, ensure both the bread and cloth are properly dried and wrapped properly before placing them in the freezer.
The same applies if you have made the bread yourself. You must allow it to cool completely before wrapping and freezing it.
The steam from the hot loaf will condense on the surface of the fabric and moisture will begin to build up. If you then place this in the freezer your bread will become covered in freezer burn and will no longer be edible.
Use the Paper Bag the Bread Came In
If you were fortunate enough to purchase your bread in a paper bag, you can use this for freezing too. However, only do this if your bread comes in a paper bag or if you have any spare in your home to prevent generating more waste.
When your paper bags run out, switch to an alternative method such as a freezing in a pot or linen bag.
Use Parchment Paper
Parchment paper is also an effective method for wrapping and freezing bread. It works for one or two slices, or an entire loaf.
You can tie up slices akin to a small present and place them in the freezer, then carefully unwrap before consuming and reuse the same parchment paper and string again.
It’s a great way to reduce waste and a cost-saving exercise which can be applied long-term. Just be sure to purchase parchment paper that can be recycled or composted, as not all can.
Another alternative for freezing bread is to use ziplock silicone bread bags. These reusable bread bags can be utilized until they break or split through usage. Most are high quality and will last for many years with proper care.
These sealable silicone bags come in a variety of sizes and shapes, making them useful for many purposes. If you can only find small ziplock bags, slice your loaf into smaller pieces and freeze it in several parcels.
If you’re searching the internet for how to freeze breadcrumbs too, they can also be placed in a tightly sealed ziplock bag. However, before you do so, dry them out in the oven so that they don’t become soggy, then seal them up tight, before popping them in the freezer.
When they’ve been in the freezer for around 30 minutes, take them out and give them a good shake. Strange concept – but it prevents them all from sticking together and forming a huge clump!
Another great storage method for freezing bread is through the use of Tupperware containers. Most households have some of these hidden away in a cupboard and they are handy to use for multiple purposes.
Tupperware containers are durable and airtight, therefore, will keep the air out and reduce the risk of freezer burn forming. The rigid plastic shape also helps to prevent damage to the bread during its time in the freezer.
This method of storage helps to keep the bread in its natural form – it won’t be squashed or change shape during storage.
Defrosting Bread Slices
It can be pretty disappointing if, while defrosting bread to make a sandwich, you find out it is as thin as a sheet of paper.
If you want to prevent this from happening, you need to know how to freeze bread slices, and one of the best ways is to slice the loaf prior to freezing.
This will allow you to remove a slice or two at a time, as and when you need it. This will give you zero waste bread, as it ensures you only retrieve what you will use.
Thinking of freezing sourdough bread? It can be frozen by the slice too. Wrap in several layers and pop inside a sealed freezer bag and it will stay fresh for up to half a year before defrosting. It also tastes better too, as when it is frozen it begins to develop a richer flavour!
Tips on how to refresh stale bread
If you are committed to reducing waste and don’t like to throw out food, here are a few tips and tricks to give your stale loaves a new lease of life.
Heat the Oven
For a whole loaf that’s past its prime, simply preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. But prior to this, quickly run your bread under a tap of running water to dampen the surface.
Place the loaf in the preheated oven for between 10 and 12 minutes. When you take it out, the bread will be warm and soft, as if it has just been freshly baked.
Pop it in the Microwave
You can also use the microwave to freshen your bread. Simply dampen a cloth and wring it out well. Cover the bread in the cloth and wrap it around the exterior, layering as much as possible. Place this in the microwave and heat it on full power for 10 seconds et voila, fresh bread once more!
Now you know how to freeze bread without plastic, and we’ve given you some tips on how to defrost, refresh stale bread and reduce food waste. However, if you have any questions or would like further information, free free to contact us!