I often get asked how to store bread to keep it at its best for longest.
Store in a cotton/ linen bread bag
My number one tip is to pop your loaf into a cotton or linen bread bag or wrap your loaf in a clean tea towel. As a loaf stales it continues to lose moisture. If your bag or cloth is made of a natural, breathable material such as cotton or linen any moisture will be wicked away. Your loaf will stale but it will just go harder rather than mouldy. You can use hard bread in a multitude of ways. Take a look at my post about using leftover bread for ideas.
Don’t use a plastic bag
Wrapping your bread in plastic means that the moisture can’t escape and it will sit on the loaf encourage spoilage and mould.
Don’t use a bread bin
The same goes for most bread bins as for plastic. Any moisture stays on the loaf as it can’t escape the enclosed atmosphere of the bread bin and your loaf will go mouldy.
Definitely don’t put it in the fridge
The fridge is a really bad place for a loaf of bread. Harold McGee in his book On Food & Cooking states that bread kept at 7C stales as much in one day as bread kept at 30C will stale in six days. Keep your loaf out of the fridge.
The only time your should wrap your bread in plastic is when you are going to freeze it. Bread freezes well, so if you want to make a few loaves at a time, go ahead. It does take quite a while for a whole loaf to thaw though so consider slicing it and wrapping it in packages of the amount of slices you are likely to use in one day. Sliced bread thaws quickly and most toasters can cope with toasting bread straight from the freezer. Always cool your loaf fully before wrapping and freezing. It will keep in the freezer for about 3 months.