Ever wonder why store-bought bread lasts forever, while homemade bread can only be enjoyed for three to four days? Well, if you want to be disgusted, read the ingredients on the side of your bread bag. My personal thought – any chemicals that can be added to bread to make it last weeks, makes me wonder how long they hibernate in my body! Of course, that goes for all store-bought goods – ahem. I’ll step off my soap box – for a minute. :)
A dear friend called me this morning to question why her bread constantly dried out so quickly? My first thought was to list the ingredients: bread, water, flour, shortening, salt, sugar, yeast. Sounds good enough, right? Well, yes, but did you know even the slightest tweak in bread ingredients can change the life of the loaf? My first prescription was to switch from shortening to butter (back on the soap box – ugh! anything solid at room temperature makes me wonder how long it is parked in my arteries), substitute some of the water for milk, which will add some tenderness, and in place of sugar, use honey. The honey will promote a nicer, softer crumb, also allowing for the bread to last a few extra days, whereas sugar likes to dry out.
Lastly – if you don’t want to take the KitchenNut route and bake fresh bread every few days (I can’t imagine why not!), then freeze the excess bread. If I’m feeling breaded-out, I’ll simply slice the loaf in half (width-wise), wrap twice in platsic wrap, once in foil, and freeze. It thaws out in only a few hours, when I’m ready to dig in! Just don’t forget to accompany it with some good ‘ol raspberry butter. Trust me – with this accessory, your bread going stale before you can eat it will be the very least of your worries! Enjoy!
Want more details on bread? Visit my bread baking post.