Must-Know Baking Tips for Quick Breads, Yeast Breads, and More

Bread pudding is exactly what it sounds like, but trust us, it is much less weird than it sounds. The pudding is made with a heavenly rich custard which is used to soak stale pieces of bread and then baked in the oven until nice and soft on the inside and delicately crispy on the outside.

Now, it’s not every day you use a recipe that actually requires stale bread, but it’s for good reason! Traditionally, this old recipe was used as a way to reduce food waste in the kitchen, but now many bakers prefer to use stale bread because, in theory, when bread is stale, it might absorb more liquid than fresh bread (via Baking Bites). Some bakers will even buy delicious loaves of bread and purposely leave them out to stale.

It is most commonly baked in a large deep rimmed baking pan like the kind used for fudgy brownies or sheet cakes. But when it comes to baking, bread pudding should not be left unprotected.

Better use aluminum

Here’s the deal, bread pudding should have the texture and flavor of a sweet pudding on the inside with the lovely addition of crusty bread on the outside, but this balancing act of textures may be tough to achieve, and unfortunately before the inside of your pudding is finished baking the outer layer is often left burnt and dry.

Masterclass recommends covering your bread pudding with aluminum foil to protect the top from burning and removing it about 15 minutes before the end of the baking time so that the top can become appropriately crispy. The addition of aluminum foil helps the pudding retain moisture while baking in the oven and may even cause the dessert to steam itself (via Whirlpool).

This is a particularly good technique for bread pudding which needs the added moisture to retain its custard’s integrity. Bread pudding is a classic and relatively easy-to-make dessert that is sure to please both bread and pudding lovers alike, but you must not let the bread dry out or you’ll be left with more stale bread than when you started.

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It’s just a fact: the best breads die young. Because of its short shelf life, we’ve all wondered how to keep bread fresh at one time or another. While there are many options for storing those beautiful bakery loaves (that, since they contain only flour, yeast, and water, are at risk of becoming stale almost immediately), some of these options are better than others.

In fact, one method is far superior to all others, and that’s the freezer. But if you’re short on freezer space or you just prefer to keep your bread at room temperature, we tested a handful of other bread storage methods and ranked them below.

Before you scroll to the results, you should keep a few things in mind. The first is that our kitchen is definitely not a climate-controlled lab. We tested these methods over the course of two hot, humid weeks in the Midwest, so your mileage may vary. Another thing to note is that we’re only considering homemade and artisan bread here. Store-bought sandwich breads and buns are often baked with mold inhibitors and other preservatives, and those types of bread will stay fresh longer than homemade bread with very little effort (though you can freeze commercially-produced breads, too).

With those disclaimers out of the way, here are seven ways to store bread, ranked from best to worst. And the worst just might surprise you.

The freezer

Yes, the freezer is most often used for long-term food storage, but if you want to keep your freshly-baked bread in its most perfect state, even just for a few days, the freezer is the way to go. Freezing bread greatly slows down the staling, or retrogradation, process and eliminates the risk of mold growth. And when you take bread out of the freezer you can put it right into the oven or toaster—which actually re-gelatinizes the starches and makes the bread springy and chewy again.

To freeze fresh bread, just put it in a freezer bag and push out as much air as possible before you seal it (this will help prevent freezer burn). Then pop the bag in the freezer. When you’re ready to eat, take it out and put it in the oven to revive it. The Epi Test Kitchen recommends defrosting a whole loaf of bread at 325°F until it’s soft and fully thawed in the middle, which usually takes about 20 to 30 minutes.

If you plan to use your bread for toast or sandwiches, definitely slice it before you freeze it. Then you can put individual slices in the toaster to defrost them. Even if you don’t want slices, it’s a good idea to portion the loaf into a few larger pieces if you don’t plan on eating the entire loaf in one sitting. Because while freezing and reheating your bread once is good, defrosting and refreezing it is not.

Bread can be frozen for two to three months, but beyond that, there really isn’t a long-long-term storage solution for bread. Luckily, even the nicest artisanal bread is cheap to buy and it’s pretty easy to make, especially if you have a bread maker. (Here are 113 of our best bread recipes.)

Verdict: The freezer is the absolute best way to store a whole bread loaf and sliced bread.

A bread box

We put a fresh but fully-cooled sourdough bread loaf and half of a fresh baguette into a bread box in the open-ended paper bakery bags they came in, with the cut side of the baguette facing the sealed end of the bag. We used the paper bags mostly to avoid filling the bread box with bread crumbs, but left them open for airflow. Toward the end of the first week, both breads were still pretty soft and the crust was still crusty. After seven days it started to grow mold.

Verdict: It’s no freezer, but a good breadbox will create an environment that balances humidity, which you want for a soft interior. And though it’s a fairly airtight container, there is air circulation, which you need to maintain a crusty crust. A large box is better too, because it will allow for maximum air circulation. The more bread you put in a bread box, the higher the humidity level, so don’t overfill it.

Yamazaki Home Tower Steel Bread Box

We put a sourdough loaf and half of a baguette from the same fresh batch in their own freezer bags, removed as much air as possible, and tightly sealed the bags. Then we left them on the counter for weeks. Both breads stayed soft and mold-free for an entire week but the crust of the sourdough had lost some of its crustiness. We also noticed mold growth on the sourdough in exactly one week, and the baguette started to mold shortly thereafter. By the end of two weeks, they were both still soft. Both loaves were also super moldy.

Verdict: A freezer bag is a decent short-term, room-temperature bread storage solution. Storing your bread on the countertop in a plastic bag (or well-sealed plastic wrap) will help keep it from going stale, but be warned: the crust will suffer and grow mold due to trapped moisture. Toasting the bread (if it’s too soft but not yet moldy, of course) will bring some of the crust’s crunchy texture back.

Ziploc Gallon Food Storage Freezer Bags, 80-Count

Our friends at Food52 love the Uashmama Bread Bag, a coated paper bag that comes with a terracotta bread warmer. But after testing the fancy bread bag with the same sourdough loaf and half of a baguette, the bag seems better suited for very short-term bread storage.

The bread in the Uashmama bread bag never molded—not in the two-week testing period, and not the third week we left it there just to see what would happen. But by day six of the first week, the bread stored inside was hard as a rock, which is pretty much what we’d expect from a paper bag, even a coated one. Stale bread is preferable to moldy bread though, since it is possible to revive a stale loaf of bread.

Verdict: A fancy coated-paper bread bag can slow the bread-staling process a little but it’s not a great option for storing bread beyond a day or two.

Uashmama Bread Bag & Terracotta Bread Warmer

In addition to the fancy coated paper bag, we put a sourdough loaf and a full baguette into boule bread bags. We loved that one of the bags was the exact size and shape of the baguette, but we might as well have left the bread out on the counter. It never got moldy but it sure did get really hard, really fast.

Verdict: Bread stales very quickly in a boule bread bag, even in warm, humid weather.

The counter

The refrigerator, that miraculous 20th-century food preserver that keeps our celery crisp and our milk chilled, is actually the last place your bread belongs. According to Harold McGee, author of On Food & Cooking, refrigerating fresh bread can cause it to stale up to six times faster than bread left out on the counter. That said, the fridge is a decent place to store your store-bought bread because it will prevent mold and dryness.

Verdict: Whatever you do, don’t put your fresh bread in the fridge!

Not all breads stale the same

Because there are so many different types and styles of fresh bread, it may take a little trial and error to find the best room-temperature bread storage solution for your favorite fresh bread. Breads with added fat, like challah and brioche, will take longer to go stale, whereas a baguette—because of its narrow shape and lack of fat—is an extreme case and will go stale very rapidly. It should really be eaten the day it’s baked.

And, you know what? Despite your best efforts, bread will occasionally go stale. The great news is that there are actually plenty of delicious things to do with bread that’s past its prime. Make this grill-friendly panzanella! Make pappa al pomodoro! Or just make a batch of crispy croutons, which you don’t have to worry too much about being stale—because they basically already are. And if you’re working with stale sliced bread, there’s always French toast!

Since you know how to keep bread fresh, why not learn how to make it?

Many factors are vital to learning how to bake bread, like the right oven temperature, the correct oven rack position for baking bread, and a good bread recipe. When you’re learning how to make bread, you’ll find that your technique will differ depending on the recipe you choose.

The two major bread categories are yeast breads and quick breads, and we have plenty of homemade bread recipes and tips to guide you for either type. So read on and get helpful tips for baking bread such as traditional yeast bread, banana bread, and artisanal bread.

How to Bake Quick Breads

Instead of using yeast, quick breads (think muffins, scones, and corn bread) use baking soda and baking powder as leavening agents. These breads don’t take as long to prepare and don’t require proofing time.

Grease the Pan

Even if your loaf pan is nonstick, grease it to ensure the quick bread dough bakes evenly and doesn’t stick. Use a clean pastry brush to lightly spread vegetable shortening over the bottom and slightly up the loaf pan’s sides (about ½ inch). The ungreased portion allows the bread to maintain its height as it rises.

Test Kitchen Tip: Always grease pans with shortening unless the recipe specifies butter. Shortening is all fat, but butter has some water, which might cause sticking.

Prepare Your Recipe

Combine the ingredients necessary to make your chosen quick bread. (Our zucchini bread or pumpkin bread recipes are favorites.) When making quick breads like banana bread, the recipe will instruct you to prepare the dry and wet ingredients separately. Be careful not to overmix the batter once you combine the two bowls—too much mixing can make your loaf heavy and uneven.

Check for Doneness

Take a quick look at your loaf 10 to 15 minutes before the minimum baking time. If it’s browning too quickly, cover it loosely with foil. Remove the foil once the baked loaf is placed on a cooling rack.

Test Kitchen Tip: The center is the last part of a quick bread to cook. Insert a wooden toothpick near the center; your loaf is done if it comes out clean. The very center will firm up while the bread is cooling.

Cool Bread

Let the loaf rest for 10 minutes on a cooling rack so the bread can set up before it’s removed from the pan. Run a spatula or butter knife between the pan sides and the loaf to loosen the loaf. Invert the pan to remove the baked bread. Allow quick bread to cool completely before storing in an airtight container or bag.

How to Bake Yeast Bread

Lightly grease the whole pan, even if it’s a nonstick pan. You might also see instructions for baking bread on a sheet pan ($36, Kohl’s) sprinkled with cornmeal, which helps keep the bread from sticking.

Prep the Bread Dough

While some loaves go into the oven with no embellishment, others get an egg wash or butter brushed on and a sprinkle of seeds or herbs.

  • Egg Wash: Whisk an egg or egg white with 1 tablespoon water, and brush it on the loaf just before baking for a shiny, golden crust.
  • Butter or Olive Oil Brush: Brush softened butter or olive oil atop the loaf before baking to add flavor and color.
  • Milk Bath: Brushing a loaf with milk before baking gives the baked bread a tender, golden crust. For a sweet bread recipe, sprinkle with sugar if desired.
  • Toppers: The egg wash helps toppers adhere to the loaf when added before baking. Seeds such as poppy or caraway seeds, crushed dried herbs, or rolled oats make tasty and attractive baked bread toppers.

Bake the Bread

The key to yeast bread is “oven spring,” which is the yeast’s final burst of expansion or fermentation. Once this occurs, the loaf sets up and starts to brown, creating the crust.

Test Kitchen Tip: If you bake several loaves at once, use one extra-large baking sheet instead of two smaller ones. Or bake one pan at a time, placing the second sheet in the refrigerator until 15 minutes before baking time. If you bake two smaller pans at once, not enough air will circulate around the bread, causing uneven baking.

Tap yeast bread lightly with your fingers to test for doneness. It will sound hollow when it is done. If the loaf is browning too fast but doesn’t sound hollow, cover the bread while baking by creating a tent out of foil to help prevent burning. Yeast breads containing butter and/or sugar often need this step.

Baking Artisanal Breads

To get the crisp, chewy-brown crust desired in these old-world-style breads, replicate a wood-fired oven in your own oven.

Select a Bread Recipe

When choosing a bread recipe, consider what complements the rest of your menu or use ingredients you have on hand to inspire your bread choice.

Step 2. Make Oven Adjustments

Adjust two oven racks’ positions for baking bread so one is in the lowest position and the other is in the middle of the oven.

Bread Baking Tip: Place a broiler pan on the bottom rack while the oven preheats. When the pan is hot, carefully add about 1 cup hot tap water. The steam helps create a crisp, crackly crust.

Step 3. Bake the Bread

You can bake the bread on a baking sheet, pizza pan, or directly on a bread stone. If using a bread stone, the best oven rack position for baking bread is the middle. Preheat it for 30 minutes. Use parchment paper to transfer the dough to the bread stone (leave it on the parchment). Once the bread is in the oven, you can spray water to mist inside the oven and on the loaves. This also helps to give your bread a nice, crisp crust.

Test Kitchen Tip: A bread stone replicates a hearth, especially when used with steam. Artisanal breads are usually formed into freestyle rounds or loaves, so no loaf pan is used.

Fresh Baked Bread Tools and Tips

Not sure if you have the right bread baking supplies? Here are some general tips on the right tools, oven temperature, and bread baking times to ensure you have everything ready.

Choose the Right Bread Baking Pan

Artisan-style bread, dinner rolls, French bread, and round loaves can usually be made on a baking sheet. But for standard loaves, you’ll want to use a loaf pan ($13, Kohl’s). A loaf pan helps shape the bread and encourages even browning, a crispy crust, and a tender interior.

Standard loaf pan sizes are 9×5-inches and 8×4-inches. Nonstick pans make it easier to remove the bread and require less fat for greasing. Heavy-duty, quality aluminum pans will last longer and perform better than less expensive pans. Glass pans can get too hot and overcook the bottom of your loaf. If using an inexpensive or glass pan, lower the oven temperature by 25ºF.

Bread Baking in the Oven

If the oven temperature is too hot or too cool when the bread goes in, you’ll end up with a dense loaf. To avoid errors, preheat your oven to the temperature given in your recipe. Use an oven thermometer ($6, Crate and Barrel)to make sure your oven temperature is accurate. If needed, adjust the temperature until it’s correct.

How Long to Bake Bread

Use these new skills and you’ll have professional-looking loaves out of the oven in no time. After you’ve mastered these bread baking skills, learn how to make sourdough bread (and the starter!) from scratch. Or try baking a cake or your own donuts for breakfast.

Welcome to Fast2eat! If you’re looking for easy-to-prepare, nutritious, delicious, and Fast-2-eat recipes, then you’re in the right place.

This article is part of “Everything You Need to Know to Start Baking Awesome Bread Using a Bread Maker.”

Everybody knows that I love to bake homemade bread from scratch. Using a bread machine couldn’t be easier, and it makes some fantastic bread! A bread machine combines convenience with flexibility. If you enjoy a fresh loaf of bread, but don’t have the time or space to bake from scratch, a bread machine is for you.

If you have never baked homemade bread before and find the instructions a wee bit intimidating, I encourage you to try it. It may seem intimidating at first, and the various steps take a bit of time to learn, but overall, it is truly easy.

Finishing the crust – glazes, washes, and toppings (Optional)

Finishing the crust is the special touch for homemade bread that leaves it so yummy with a beautiful appearance! It adds flavour, affects the crust’s look, taste and crunch, provides an attractive finish, and adds moisture to the bread.

Although glazes, washes and toppings are often optional ingredients that I usually omit, they boost flavour and enhance the appearance of the bread.

If you do not use glazes or washes, your bread will have a more matte or floury crust. Wash gives it a pretty colour and a bit of sheen.

Glazing, washing or topping the exterior of your loaf can help you achieve the effect you are after (i.e., soft, sweet, crusty, shiny, etc.). They can help to achieve a range of textures from soft and velvety to crisp and crunchy. It may also smooth or colour the crust as well as add flavour. But it is really up to you, the baker, how you will finish the loaf.

Note: Prepare glazes, washes, and toppings while the oven is preheating.

Finishing with water and NO toppings

Water may be brushed on or spritzed for a speedy, no-hassle glaze. Spraying or brushing loaves with water while they bake will produce a crispy and crunchy crust with a nicer (in my opinion!) colour than the unglazed one. Water keeps the dough skin from forming the crust, enabling the dough to expand. It also smooths out the crust, creating a more refined appearance. Apply just before baking.

Glazes and washes

Glazes and washes also provide glue if you want to add seeds or grains to the crust. They often consist of liquid ingredients, such as oil, milk, water, honey, and egg, which are brushed onto the dough to provide an attractive finish.

Use a pastry brush to apply the glaze.

Note: Some glazes, such as eggs or honey, have an adhesive property. Keep it away from the sides of the pan to prevent the bread from sticking to the pan. And also, to avoid preventing the dough from expanding properly during baking.

When to add

Glazing, washing and topping are often the final steps in bread making. They are usually applied to the dough before baking. But some recipes call for the glaze to be applied after the bread is baked.

The bread dough should NOT receive any glazes, washes or toppings (if intended) until the dough has finished the final rising period, also known as proofing.

Adding washes and toppings before baking

Just before the bread baking cycle begins, open the cover of the bread maker and carefully brush the top surface of the dough.

Leave plain or sprinkle with seeds, herbs, grated parmesan or Romano cheeses, or other desired toppings.

Use the beaten egg washes to treat the crust when sprinkling toppings for the best results. This mixture will ensure that toppings will stick and not fall off when the bread is removed from the pan.

Press toppings gently into the dough to ensure it adheres and will not fall off.

Close the cover and allow the bread to bake.

Adding glazes after baking

You can also treat the crust after the bread is done baking.

Remove bread from the bread pan and place it on a rack. Lightly brush the top of the loaf with melted butter, margarine, olive oil, or vegetable oil and sprinkle desired topping onto the bread’s top.

Important: Do NOT use vegetable oil cooking sprays to treat crusts, as the cooking sprays can be flammable when exposed to the bread maker’s heating unit.

Note: Some glazes, such as eggs or honey, have an adhesive property. To prevent the bread from sticking to the pan, keep it away from the sides.

And also to avoid preventing the dough from expanding properly during baking.

Here is a full range of possibilities to choose from

The bread will look relatively pale compared to some of its glazed friends. It will have a matte appearance, and the crust will be more chewy than crispy.

For an opaque, tasty, light colour, smooth, chewy crust

With a matt appearance, not shiny at all, the crust has a light colour and is slightly crunchier than unglazed bread.

Olive oil before or after baking

Glazes such as olive oil can be applied just before or after baking to soften the crust and provide a richer flavour.

For an opaque and tasty

Water + Salt + herbs before baking

  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 tablespoons hot water

Dissolve 2 teaspoons of salt in 2 tablespoons of hot water and brush over the bread. Sprinkle with herbs and bake.

For an opaque dark crust

Milk before baking

Brush loaves with milk before baking to produce a lovely golden-brown colour.

Darker than the one without a glaze but not as dark as some other types of glaze. It produces a quite matt appearance but is slightly shinier than the unglazed one.

For a softer, shiny crust

Milk or cream after baking

Brush just-baked bread with milk or cream.

For a shiny, light golden-brown chewy crust

If desired, sprinkle chopped nuts or fruit and or seeds after glazing.

Egg white before baking

Brush loaves with egg white before baking to produce a shiny, lighter colour crust.

Important: You should NOT use it with the “French” or “ExpressBake (under 1 hour)” setting because the high cooking temperature may cause the egg to burn quickly.

Note: To keep unused egg yolk fresh for several days, cover it with cold water and store it in the refrigerator in a covered container.

Egg white + Water before baking

A crisp light brown crust. The ideal sticky glaze for attaching seeds.

Lightly beat and strain before brushing it on.

  • 1 egg white (2 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 tablespoon water

Egg white + Water + Salt before baking

You can also add a tiny pinch of salt to make it easier to pass through the strainer and spread.

Beat it with a fork before brushing it on.

For a shiny and pleasingly golden-brown crust

Whole egg before baking

For a shiny and pleasingly golden-brown crust, use the whole egg (white and yolk beaten together) or just the egg yolk. They are very similar. I probably wouldn’t bother separating it, but the yolk is the more important component here.

An eggwash glaze is the most appealing option unless you want a bit of sweetness. It is one of the most usual glazes for bread. Because of its adhesive properties, it allows other toppings to adhere easily to the dough’s surface.

Note: An egg glaze will lose its shine if it uses steam during baking.

Important: You should NOT use it with the “French” or “ExpressBake (under 1 hour)” setting because the high cooking temperature may cause the egg to burn quickly.

Egg + Water before baking

A medium shiny golden crust.

  • 1 slightly beaten egg
  • 1 tablespoon water

Egg + Water + Salt before baking

When using an egg wash, it goes on most smoothly if strained. You can also add a pinch of salt to make it more liquid and easier to pass through the strainer.

  • 1 slightly beaten egg
  • 1/2 tablespoon water
  • tiny pinch of salt

Mix the egg with 1/2 tablespoon water and a pinch of salt. Whip and strain to remove clumps of egg white.

Wash with the egg mixture and add your toppings.

Note: Injected steam during the baking will remove the shine.

Egg yolk glaze before baking

Egg yolk gives a brown colour. It is markedly one of the shiniest glazes and the most richly coloured.

  • 1 slightly beaten egg yolk
  • 1 Tablespoon water

Mix 1 slightly beaten egg yolk with 1 Tablespoon water.

For a shiny and dark golden-brown crust

Egg + Milk (or cream) before baking

  • 1 slightly beaten egg
  • 1-2 Tablespoon milk (for a shiny medium golden-brown crust) or cream (for a shiny deep golden-brown crust)

Mix 1 slightly beaten egg with 1-2 Tablespoon milk or cream

Egg yolk + Milk (or cream) before baking

  • 1 lightly beaten egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon milk (for a darker brown) or heavy cream (for an even darker brown)

For a shiny and darker golden-brown crust

Egg + Coffee before baking

For a shiny and darker golden crust, brush a mix of 1 egg with a few drops of coffee.

Egg yolk + Coffee before baking

Brush an egg yolk with some coffee for a shiny, darker golden crust.

For a soft chew velvety crust

Butter or Margarine, or Melted vegetable cream before or after baking

Brush 1/2 tablespoon butter (preferably clarified) or margarine, or melted vegetable cream, before or immediately after baking to produce a tender, chew velvety crust.

  • Butter glaze before baking – It’s quite matte and darker, with a more vibrant, pleasing colour and slightly cracked appearance.
  • Butter glaze after baking – Brush as it comes out of the oven. The result is a pleasant shine but a less browned appearance.

For a soft crust with little shine

Cornstarch + Water – before, during and after baking

This is a secret to giving your bread the professional bakery look.

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup boiling water

With a small whisk, stir together cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water in a small saucepan.

Bring the remaining 1/4 cup water to a boil and whisk the cornstarch mixture into it; simmer for about 30 seconds or until thickened and translucent.

Cool to room temperature, and then brush on the bread.

For a shiny, sticky sweet crust

Honey after baking

Honey is applied just after the loaf is removed from the oven.

You can attach toppings. The honey will soak into the crust but hold the toppings on.

Sugar water glaze after baking

The sugar water makes an excellent alternative if you want a bit of sweetness.

A small amount of sugar dissolved in a bit of water will give a shiny appearance and a subtly sugary flavour. However, for the shine, you’d have to brush it on after baking.

For an opaque, sticky sweet crust

Sugar water glaze before baking

It will result in a matte appearance with a lovely darkened crust with a subtly sweet taste of the glaze.

Creamy vanilla glaze

Mix until thin enough to drizzle:

  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons milk

Browned butter vanilla glaze

  • 2 tablespoon butter (or margarine)
  • 2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 teaspoons milk

Heat butter (or margarine) in a 1-quart saucepan over medium heat until light brown; cool. Stir in confectioner’s sugar and vanilla. Stir in milk until smooth and thin enough to drizzle.

  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon or orange peel
  • 2 teaspoons lemon or orange juice
  • 1/3 cup mashed ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (melted)
  • 6 Tablespoon cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons honey

For sweet icing glaze

Confectioner’s sugar + milk (or water or fruit juice) glaze

Mix until smooth:

  • 1 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk, water or fruit juice

Drizzle glaze over raisin or sweet bread when they are almost cool.

If desired, generously sprinkle with your choice of nuts or seeds after glazing.

For a spicy and golden crust

Oil + Curry or Pesto

Brush with a mix of oil and curry or pesto.

  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine (softened)
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine (softened)
  • 1 Tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • Dash of garlic salt

Italian herb butter

  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine (softened)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Dash of salt

Ham and Swiss Spread

  • 6 Tablespoon cream cheese (softened)
  • 2 Tablespoon finely chopped, fully cooked, smoked ham
  • 1 Tablespoon shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard

Herb-cream cheese spread

  • 1/2 cup whipped cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1 small clove of garlic (finely chopped)

Ripe olive spread

Cover and mix in a food processor or blender until slightly coarse:

  • 1-1/2 cups pitted, ripe olives
  • 3 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoon capers (drained)
  • 3 flat anchovy fillets (drained)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 garlic cloves

Use your imagination

Of course, these are not the only glazing alternatives.

This is another chance to be original and use your imagination. And remember, a glaze makes a good glue for sticking seeds, such as sesame or poppy seeds, to the top of your bread.

Let me know if you have any great favourites that I’d like to try.

Also check

* (“Long-term dietary intake of gluten was not associated with risk of coronary heart disease. However, the avoidance of gluten may result in reduced consumption of beneficial whole grains, which may affect cardiovascular risk. The promotion of gluten-free diets among people without celiac disease should not be encouraged.” Source:

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A Bread Box is simply a closed container that allows a little air circulation but keeps insects and dust out. In the ’50s and ’60s, almost every kitchen had a bread box. You can still use a bread box in your modern kitchen: either find one at a consignment shop, or purchase a new one to match your décor. Make sure it’s big enough for your loaves!

Ceramic Container

A Ceramic Container, such as the German Brottopf, is optimal because of its ability to breathe, yet a good-sized container often takes up precious counter space and can be more expensive.


Plastic, either as a wrap or a bag, does not allow for the passage of air and maintains the bread at a soft texture, so the loaf inside does not dry out. Plastic may work for softer breads but does not work well for sourdough or other crusty breads. It will make the bread soggy from the trace amounts of moisture that collect inside the bag. Plastic is not the best choice for homemade bread storage.


Paper is a cost-effective, simple choice.  We recommend wrapping the bread in a linen or cotton tea towel first, then placing it in a bag, to keep it out of the dry air and allow for air circulation.

Cloth Bag

A Cloth Bag, such as our Organic Cotton Bread Keeper, is a favorite choice for nice aesthetics and regular use. It doesn’t take up much room, is cost-effective, and looks pretty on your counter. If you like different sizes, it’s fairly easy to make one of your own.


If you find that you will not eat the loaf in a day or two, the freezer works well for longer-term storage. We suggest this procedure: cool the bread completely, then slice it. Wrap the loaf in plastic or zipper bags and place in the freezer. Take out slices as needed and bring to room temperature or toast.

Start making your own delicious homemade bread and learn how to store it with our free Sourdough Guide and Recipe book. Download it now to get started!

How you cover bread dough while its rising may seem like an aspect of bread-making which isn’t that important, but if you’ve ever had proving dough stick to cling film you’ll know this can lead to complete dough collapse and flat and disappointing loaf.

The best way to cover bread dough while it’s rising is by using a cloth such as a large clean tea towel or proving cloth to cover the bowl while it rises. This same cloth can also be used to cover dough directly when it’s proving.

Read on to find out more best practices on how to cover dough while it’s rising and proofing, by just keeping things simple and without spending money on coverings which will just go in the bin.

Why is cloth best for covering dough while it rises?

Using a cloth to cover dough is a traditional method used before plastic bags, cling film and shower caps were available!

There’s no waste and if you have a kitchen then chances are you have a clean tea towel or cloth available which you normally use for drying dishes so there’s no need to spend money on plastic which will end up in the bin.

Some bakers advise using plastics because they stop the dough from drying out and avoid a tough skin forming across the dough.

If your bread is rising at normal room temperature and isn’t too warm, then this shouldn’t be a problem.

If the bread is rising in a warm room and you’re worried about the dough drying, spray the top of the dough with water and/or use a damp cloth which will prevent the air from getting through.

I use this method all the time for rising and proving and I don’t have any issues with dough drying out.

When I say proving, I mean rising the dough for the second time. During this time the dough will be shaped and either rising on something flat or within a bread tin and either way, the dough will end up touching whatever it’s covered with.

If the dough is covered with un-oiled cling film or plastic it will stick and when you come to take it off it will pull the dough with it and cause it to deflate. I know this because I did it and it’s so frustrating!

So, again I would recommend using the same cloth to cover the dough that you used for the first rise. You don’t want anything too heavy which could reduce the rise, it just needs to be covered.

You can also use a damp cloth at this stage if you need to, or give the top of the loaf a spray of water to keep it moist.

TIP: Not sure if you have all the necessary bread baking equipment at home? Check out my recommended picks below (Amazon links):

What if a skin forms on the dough?

Don’t worry if a dry skin forms on the dough, it won’t ruin the bread at this stage and there are a few things that can be done to recover the dough – which I’ll show you next.

Some recipes (especially sourdough) actually advise leaving the dough uncovered during a final prove or rest to firm up the outer skin and produce a thicker and crustier outer crust.

Here are a few things you can do if a dry skin or crust has formed on top of the dough:

  • If the dough is on its first rise and a skin has formed, just give it a spray with water and incorporate the skin back into the dough when you shape it for the second rise.
  • If the dough has proved for the second time, don’t worry – just bake the bread, at worst it will have a thicker chewier crust, but it will still taste good and you probably won’t even notice.

What you can do to prevent a skin from forming on bread dough

  • Don’t leave the dough rising in direct sunlight – it’s tempting to speed up the rising process, but it will cause the moisture to evaporate from the dough.
  • Make sure the room you’re rising the dough in isn’t too hot – for the best flavour a slower fermentation in a cool to normal room temperature is best. Again this will help prevent evaporation.
  • Spray the top of the dough with a little water to retain moisture at the top of the dough.
  • Cover the dough as soon as it’s mixed and once you’ve shaped it during the 2nd rise.

But what if I want to use plastic?

If you want to use plastic to cover your bread, that’s totally fine, but take care not to let it stick to the dough.

A good way to prevent the plastic sticking to dough is by oiling it with olive oil, or if you’re using a large bag, don’t let the bag touch the dough.

It’s worth being aware that evaporation can still happen when you use plastic if the room or place where the dough is rising is very warm.

Bread making tips for beginners – everything you need to know

Best ways to keep homemade bread fresh

Take a quick look at your loaf 10 to 15 minutes before the minimum baking time. If it is browning too quickly, cover it loosely with foil. Remove the foil once you have placed the baked loaf on a cooling rack. Test Kitchen Tip: The center is the last part of a quick bread to cook.

Simply so, Can you bake bread with foil? Place bread halves back together and wrap loaf tightly in aluminum foil. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until heated through and bread is crusty.

Subsequently, Do you have to cover bread when baking?

Keep the bread dough covered to protect the dough from drying out and to keep off dust. Place your rising dough in a warm, draft-free place in the kitchen while it’s rising. Too much heat will speed up the yeast activity and too much cold air will slow it down.

Should I cover bread after baking?

for bread that has just been baked, I always leave it out, completely uncovered, at room temperature on the first day of baking. The crust on freshly baked bread will remain at its best texture for at least one day, if not two full days.

Can tin foil go in the oven? Aluminum foil is safe to put in the oven, making it great for lining baking sheets. But it’s not recommended to use foil to line the bottom of the oven to catch spills and drips. The best foil uses include: Cooking food on the grill.

What is the best temperature for baking bread?

It all counts towards baking the perfect loaf of bread. The ideal oven temperatures for baking bread ranges anywhere between 350 and 475°F (180 and 246°C), optimizing both caramelization and the Maillard reaction (which we’ll get into) providing the perfect color and texture in the final product.

How do I keep the bottom of my bread from burning? Use A Baking Stone

A preheated baking stone helps distribute the heat through the bottom of the bread. A correctly placed stone will assist the oven spring and prevent a burnt bottom on the loaf. Pizza stones, baking steels and even a heavy-duty baking sheet will work in much the same way.

What temp do you bake bread?

Bake at 375° until golden brown and bread sounds hollow when tapped or has reached an internal temperature of 200°, 30-35 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.

Does bread need air rise? If you let (bread) dough rise, the recipe always asks to cover it. Years ago, I read to cover it with a wet towel. Nowadays, I see more and more recipes that ask for plastic wrap (aka saran or cling wrap). The towel lets air through, the wrap does not.

How long should you proof bread?

If you want to let you dough proof for longer, try bulk-fermenting it in a cooler place, but don’t allow it to go longer than three hours or structure and flavor may be compromised. For the workhorse loaf, a bulk proof of approximately two hours gives us the optimal balance of flavor and texture.

How long should bread sit after baking?

It’s important to allow bread to cool all the way, or until it’s just barely warm, to complete the cooking process before cutting. Rolls will take only about 20 minutes to cool. Bread baked in a loaf pan can take as long as 1 hour and a large free-form loaf can take as long as 1 1/2 hours to cool.

What is the best way to store homemade bread?

Store airtight with the two cut halves facing each other and pressed together. Wrapping bread to retain moisture keeps it soft, though it robs crusty artisan bread of its crispy crust. Wrapping in plastic (or foil) rather than cloth keeps bread soft longer.

How long does bread need to rise? The secret of successful rising

Most recipes call for the bread to double in size – this can take one to three hours, depending on the temperature, moisture in the dough, the development of the gluten, and the ingredients used. Generally speaking, a warm, humid environment is best for rising bread.

Which side of aluminum foil should be up?

Since aluminum foil has a shiny side and a dull side, many cooking resources say that when cooking foods wrapped or covered with aluminum foil, the shiny side should be down, facing the food, and the dull side up.

Which side of Aluminium foil is correct?

Most people think it matters whether aluminum foil is used shiny side up or down, but the surprising truth is that it doesn’t make a difference. The variation is a result of the manufacturing process—the shiny side comes in contact with highly polished steel rollers, and the matte side doesn’t.

Does it matter what side of the tin foil you use? « It makes no difference which side of the foil you use unless you’re using Reynolds Wrap Non-Stick Aluminum Foil. » Non-Stick foil actually has a protective coating on one side, so the company recommends only placing food on the side marked « non-stick » for maximum efficiency.

How can I make my bread lighter and fluffy?

Boost the fluffiness of your bread by using a dough enhancer like Vital Wheat Gluten. All it takes is a small amount of dough enhancer per loaf to create a much lighter and fluffier result.

What happens if you bake bread at a lower temperature? Breads require adequate heat to rise properly. If your oven is too low, the bread will not rise enough, producing a heavy and unappealing loaf. Improper mixing or recipe ratios may also cause your bread or cake to be quite dense.

How do I get a crispy crust on my bread?

The best way to brown and crisp your bread’s bottom crust – as well as enhance its rise – is to bake it on a preheated pizza stone or baking steel. The stone or steel, super-hot from your oven’s heat, delivers a jolt of that heat to the loaf, causing it to rise quickly.

Why is the bottom of my bread so hard? A thick and hard crust on your bread is primarily caused by overbaking or baking in a temperature that’s too high. Make sure that you adjust the temperature of your oven to suit the type of bread that you’re making.

Why does my bread always burn on top?

Quite a simple cause of overbrowned or burnt bread is if you’re overbaking it. Baking it for too long will leave you with a very dark or burnt crust, so it’s important to keep an eye on it. Don’t just leave your bread in the oven for a long period of time if you’re not sure how it’s going to bake.

How do you fix burnt bread in a loaf?

Paper over plastic, freeze over refrigerate, and bread boxes galore. Madelyn Osten, former head baker at Sullivan Street Bakery’s Miami outpost, reveals the biggest tips for successfully storing bread, so you can get the most out of your favorite loaf while avoiding unwanted mold, crust, and moisture.

New York-based Sullivan Street Bakery, founded in 1994 by James Beard Award-winning baker Jim Lahey, brought its highly acclaimed bread down south in 2017. Today, it operates a production facility in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood, baking and distributing its rustic bread to a number of restaurants, hotels, country clubs, and venues in the South Florida region. The bakery’s retail partnerships with shops like Milam’s Market make bread storage even more important to its operation.

Here’s what Osten has to say about the best ways to store (and preserve) your bread.

Freeze your bread

“Freezing bread is the best way to preserve that crusty loaf for the longest time possible. Wrap tightly in a freezer bag, either whole or sliced. I like to put wax paper between slices when I freeze, as this makes it easier to take out just what I need. Defrosting a whole frozen loaf in the refrigerator overnight is the best way; out on the counter it can get soggy, and while it will toast just fine, it makes for a better loaf in the fridge. Also, don’t forget to unwrap from the freezer bag when defrosting. This keeps any water from pooling while it defrosts. And if defrosting seems daunting, not to worry: You can always reheat bread straight from the freezer. For a whole loaf, try baking at 325 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, while slices can be popped right in the toaster.”

Store in paper, never plastic

“A fresh loaf of bread is best eaten within two to three days. If you plan on devouring it right away, then keeping it in a paper bag on the counter is the move. While storing in plastic seems like the right idea, this actually encourages mold growth, resulting in the bread going bad much faster. I also save the heels of my bread and use them as covers for the cut side of my loaf. Keeping the cut side of your loaf as unexposed as possible will also help retain its freshness.”

Bread boxes are your friends

“Bread boxes are a great way to keep bread, and a fun way to add style to your kitchen. They have small holes in them, which allow just a little air to circulate, keeping bread from molding. If you have pest concerns and prefer to keep bread in an airtight container, try tossing in a slice of bread with your loaf. The slice with more surface area will attract water and help control the moisture content in your container.”

Where exactly you store your bread is critical

“Where you store your loaf can be just as important as how you store it. Bread goes on top of the refrigerator, right? Try again! Keeping bread on the fridge will cause paper-bagged bread to dry out, and plastic-bagged bread to mold faster. This comes from all the heat your fridge is putting out. Same for storing near a dishwasher; the excess heat and moisture these appliances give off is not bread-friendly. Try to store bread in a cool and dry area of your kitchen. If not out on the counter, then in a cabinet or a deep drawer.”

Pick up reusable bread bags

“If you’re looking for a more versatile or eco-friendly way to preserve your bread, try a reusable bread bag. There are more on the market these days and many are machine washable and work great in the freezer. Take them with you to the store and toss that fresh loaf right in. These can be a nice alternative to a paper bag that can get torn and always seems to let crumbs escape onto the counter. Reusable bags are made of breathable materials, so they behave like paper bags without the waste. Ranging from $7 to $20, they’re a great investment for a bread (and environment) lover at any level.”

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