Since You Asked: Bread you can break for days

I'm hosting house guests over Thanksgiving weekend and planning to bake some fresh bread for breakfasts and rolls for the holiday meal. I don't want to be baking at the last minute but would like the bread to taste fresh. What is the best way to store it?

— Noelle C., via email

Whether you bake a lot of bread, buy from a favorite bakery or get your loaves from the supermarket, knowing how to properly store yeast breads and rolls can delay staling and help them last longer.

Store bread in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. If you have a breadbox, using it really will help to keep the bread fresher (hence the name), or retain bread in its original packaging (whether plastic or paper). The type of bread plays a role in the length of its shelf life, but most kinds should keep anywhere from two days to a week.

It's admirable that you want to bake bread for a meal that spells stress for so many cooks. Just don't rush it into storage. If bread is still warm from baking, give it time to cool before storing. Wrapping bread while it is still warm can trap excess moisture, causing it to go soft, even moldy.

Bread and rolls also freeze well without losing quality, if tightly wrapped in foil or plastic, for up to a few months. Thaw bread before using (you can toast frozen bread slices straight out of the freezer).

Whatever you do, don't refrigerate bread — refrigeration actually can cause bread to go stale (called starch retrogradation) faster.

To refresh a loaf of bread, warm it in a 300-degree oven for 15 minutes or toast the slices.

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