Wondering how to store sourdough bread so it lasts longer? This article is full of actionable tips on how to best store your sourdough bread!
If you're like me, you take a lot of pride in your sourdough bread.
You've got fermenty babies in all of your fridges, and you've learned how to freeze and dehydrate sourdough starter so that in case of a catastrophic event you'll be able to revive your starter.
You spend hours stretching and folding, letting it rise, shaping, and baking it to perfection. You try new things, you try the same old thing, but you always make sure that the end result is a delicious, fluffy sourdough loaf.
So how do you make sure your hard work lasts?
By storing your sourdough bread properly, of course!
This how to store sourdough bread guide is dedicated to pride.
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Tips + Tricks
No. 1 --> Sourdough is made without preservatives, which means that it won't last as long as store-bought bread, but that isn't a problem, we just need to get creative on how we store it!
No. 2 --> Whenever possible, store your bread at room temperature, avoid any place too hot or too cold.
No. 3 --> Try to bake only as many loaves as you can eat within 2-3 days because sourdough is by far the best within 12 hours of baking. After that, it slowwwwly degrades. By baking smaller fresh loaves more often you can ensure that you've got that freshness on tap.
No. 4 --> This one is tough, but wait until your loaf is fully cooled - like 2-3 hours post-baking, before slicing it. If the loaf is sliced while still warm, the crumb you worked so hard for has the tendency to get sticky and gummy, and it won't improve while in storage.
No. 5 --> Higher hydration sourdough tends to have a thinner crust and will usually store longer than low hydration sourdough bread with a thicker crust.
How To Store Sourdough Bread
Days 1 + 2:
Whole: Wrap your cooled sourdough loaf in a thin tea towel or store it in a paper bag or linen bread bag. This method allows the bread to breathe while also retaining some moisture which will keep it from getting too crusty.
Cut: Store your cut sourdough cut side down on a cutting board. This sounds so weird, but it really is the best way to store a cut loaf of sourdough. You can leave a loaf of sourdough like this for up to 24 hours, after that you'll want to look for alternatives.
As an added bonus, leaving a loaf of sourdough cut side down on a cutting board means you likely left your knife out too, so it's super easy to sneak in and slice off a little piece of delicious whenever you walk by!
Days 3 + 4:
Wrap your sourdough tightly in plastic wrap, tin foil, or even a beeswax wrap and store it at room temperature. This is NOT an airtight wrap, and that's the point, it still allows your loaf to breathe, but it also traps in some humidity to help keep the loaf soft.
My preference here is the beeswax wrap, as it breathes better than plastic wrap and keeps in more moisture than a bread bag.
Days 5 +:
After day four, your sourdough is still technically edible, but it's not going to be as good as it was in its prime. It might be time to turn this loaf into sourdough french toast, sourdough bread crumbs, or sourdough croutons!
Storing Sourdough In Plastic Bags
I am not a huge fan of storing crusty sourdough loaves in plastic bags because they trap all the humidity inside and make the crust soggy/chewy/gross.
This can be avoided somewhat by placing a piece of paper towel inside of the bag or wrapping the loaf in a kitchen towel before placing it into the bag without sealing or closing the bag.
Either way, the results are less than perfect, so I recommend skipping the plastic bag completely, unless, you're wrapping buns, sweet bread (like sourdough babka), or sandwich-style sourdough bread. These types of bread do not have a crispy crust, and their soft crust is less likely to be degraded by storing in a plastic bag.
Storing Sourdough In The Fridge
Seriously. Don't do this!
It sounds like it would work great but baked bread should never be stored in the fridge because the cool but not freezing temperatures cause the starch molecules in the bread to recrystallize much quicker than at room temperature, leading to rapid staling!
One option, if you're set on using the fridge, is to proof your sourdough in the fridge and only bake the loaves as needed for optimal freshness. I have had luck proofing sourdough in the fridge for up to 3 days with my sourdough starter!
Storing Sourdough in the Freezer
The BEST option for storing sourdough beyond day 2 is the freezer. Hands down.
It's easy to do, too!
For the optimal results, use a loaf that has been baked within the last 24 hours, and try to avoid cutting the sourdough until just before freezing. I also prefer to freeze my loaves whole or in halves. I find they refresh much better that way.
- Wrap your cooled loaf in 2 layers of plastic wrap, then slide into a plastic bag.
- Squeeze as much air as possible out of the bag and seal it shut.
- Place the wrapped sourdough in the freezer for up to 2 months.
- To defrost, remove the sourdough from the plastic bag, but keep it wrapped in the plastic wrap, and allow to defrost at room temperature until completely thawed.
I know that earlier I said plastic bag bad, now I'm saying plastic bag good.
Plastic bags are perfectly fine in the freezer to reduce freezer burn, but that is the only time I recommend using them to store sourdough.
Refreshing Stored Sourdough
There is a secret window that no one talks about during sourdough storage that you can "refresh" your loaf so that it's restored to its just baked glory.
Any time within the first 48 hours or after the sourdough has thawed, it can be refreshed. Here's how to do it:
- Preheat the oven to 375f
- Spritz the entire loaf with water, don't be too cheap but don't be overly generous either.
- Place the loaf into the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes.
- Remove loaf from the oven and allow to cool on a wire mesh cooling rack before slicing.
Must Make Sourdough Recipes
Thoughts From The Crave Kitchen
If you're a sourdough baker, the way you store your loaves is an important consideration. I hope this article has given you some insight into how to best store your sourdough bread so that it stays fresher for longer! My preference is to store my cut loaves facedown for up to 24 hours. After that, they get wrapped in a beeswax wrap.
Let me know how it goes, and please feel free to share any of your own storage tips in the comments below.