Store Your Bread In An Old-Fashioned Box And Never Look Back

Bread boxes aren't considered kitchen essentials by many people these days. When some individuals think of them, they view them as nostalgic pieces: charming items that sat on countertops in the mid-20th century, along with butter molds, cookie presses, and hand mixers that operated on elbow grease rather than electricity. But, as it turns out, bread boxes are actually smart places to store your baked loaves.

While most people tuck their bread away in a pantry or perhaps even in the refrigerator, a bread box can extend the shelf life of your loaves — it can even add a touch of style to your kitchen. When it comes to storing fresh bread, the goal is to help the loaves retain their moisture and prevent them from drying out. This task can be trickier than many people realize, however, because while too much moisture can lead to mold, you'll get stale bread if it's exposed to too much air. Bread boxes work to deter both of these fiascos.

Why bread boxes work

Good bread boxes have small holes in them to allow air to circulate around your loaves. This lets the bread breathe, discouraging mold growth that would occur if trapped inside a plastic bag, the way lots of loaves are sold. When there isn't enough air around the bread, moisture builds up, creating the kind of atmosphere mold thrives in. With just enough air permeating the bread box, your loaves should remain mold-free for longer periods of time.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you let a loaf of bread sit out on the counter, it will go stale quickly because it takes in too much air and dries out. Inside a bread box, some air is able to get inside, but not enough to cause the loaf to lose all its moisture. It's important to store your bread box in a cool, dry spot on your counter or in your pantry. You don't want to put it on top of — or even close to — an appliance that generates warmth while in use. Placing it too close to a heat source will cause warmth and moisture to build up inside the box.

A bread box for everyone

Although bread boxes have a nostalgic feel and appeal, they are still very much available. You can choose from various materials and designs, not to mention sizes. Whether your kitchen has a midcentury modern vibe, Scandinavian minimalist feel, or country farmhouse ambiance, finding a bread box to fit your style shouldn't be difficult. The most important factor in keeping your bread fresh is ventilation; make sure there are air holes in the box to serve this purpose. Other than that, you can find bread boxes with traditional roll-top lids, magnetic closures, or even removable lids.

If you're looking for long-term storage for your bread, you might want to go beyond the bread box and freeze your bread instead. You can either freeze your bread loaves whole by wrapping them tightly in foil before placing them in the freezer, or you can cut your loaves into smaller chunks before freezing. This way, you can take out smaller pieces at a time. But for bread that you're using every day for things like toast and sandwiches, a bread box is a great choice and may just become your new favorite kitchen gadget.