Boutique baker extraordinaire Zack Hall fell in love with bread just like many of his now-customers: eating it fresh. He loved bread so much that he dedicated summers to living in Scandinavia and Portland learning where to store bread and how to bake it.
From apprentice to master, Hall started Clark Street Bread in his West Hollywood apartment, on the street for which it’s named after, before moving the operation in 2014 to the famous Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles, where crowds of carb connoisseurs line up for fine food at different stalls, and his loaves.
“I went from making 12 loaves a day, to 40 a day, to 60 a day,” he said. “Now, I’m making 150.”
There are many artisan bakers in Los Angeles, and we talked to some of the best to learn how you can keep fresh-baked or store-bought bread at home and make it last for many meals. So read on, but do so in caution, as these tips may leave you hungry!
Bread Boxes are Ideal for Short-Term Storage
The best way to keep bread that you intend to eat fairly quickly is in a bread box, if you have one, because the dry and cool conditions are ideal for loaves, baguettes or pastries.
“(Bread boxes) help breads keep enough moisture, but not too much, and are not air tight, so moisture can escape, but not too quickly,” said Hall.
If you don’t have a bread box, or don’t have enough space for one, you can cover a fresh-baked or artisan loaf with cloth or in a breathable plastic wrapping on a countertop for a couple days.
Just make sure to avoid areas near windows or heat!
“You don’t want moisture coming out of the bread, because it will cause mold to grow under the bread,” Bezian said.
Freeze Bread that You Can’t Eat Within Three Days
After buying or baking a new loaf of bread, leave out however much you expect to eat within three days and freeze the rest.
“Leave a quarter of the bread at room temperature and cut the rest into toaster-size slices before you freeze them,” said Hall. “Then you can pull the pieces out as you need them.”
To reheat in a hurry, says Hall, bake the frozen slices at 350 degrees for 5 to 10 minutes for the perfect toast.
If you buy your bread instead of storing fresh bread, make sure to change out the perforated or thin plastic bag it came in with a freezer-grade baggy, said Bezian.
Avoid the Refrigerator to Prevent Mold
It’s a common myth that a refrigerator will keep bread fresh, said both bakers, because refrigeration dries out bread, so avoid it as a carb storage center.
“If you store a bread made with yeast in the fridge, it will grow mold and produce toxins,” said Bezian.
Breads that do not contain yeast, like sourdough, may fair better in refrigerator conditions, but it’s best to opt for the freezer instead, according to our experts.
With such easy storage tips, take time this weekend to try your hand at fresh-baked bread. You’ll be able to enjoy it for weeks to come!