Why are your breads sold in paper bags? We have always sold our unsliced hearth breads in paper bags. We do this because we go through a lot of trouble to create a crisp crust on our breads. In order for that crust to remain crisp, the bread needs to “breathe.” The paper bag is really doing nothing more than identifying our bread and keeping others’ hands off of it. Once you bring it home, you can toss the bag in the recycling (or save it for making papier mache) and store your bread sliced side down to keep it from drying out. The crust will act as a natural package for the rest of the loaf. Refer to the information on our specific varieties to see how many days you can expect to keep your particular bread in this manner.
What about plastic bags? If our breads are put into a plastic bag, they will stay moist for much longer, but the crust will soften. If you are willing to sacrifice a crisp crust to stretch the shelf life a little longer, you can put our bread in a plastic bag. At temperatures under 70 degrees, our breads will not get moldy for at least a week. If it is one of our naturally leavened ones, it will last even longer. You can be sure that you have a naturally leavened variety if you do not see yeast listed in the ingredients.
Should your breads be refrigerated? We do not recommend keeping our breads in the refrigerator because, even in a plastic bag, the dry air in the fridge dries out the bread. If you need to keep your bread for longer than a week, see below.
Freezing: Our breads freeze very well in a well-sealed plastic bag. In a frost-free freezer, they are good for 3-4 months. In a traditional freezer, they are good until the next time you have to defrost it. If our bread is frozen unsliced, a few minutes in the oven after it is thawed will bring the crust back to almost as good as fresh.
Sliced Bread: By request at our café, and on a limited basis to stores that we deliver to, we sell sliced breads. These need to be packed in plastic to prevent the crumb (interior) from drying out—a sacrifice for convenience that can be worth it (especially if you intend to use if for sandwiches or toast). Unless the weather is very hot (over 70 degrees), our sliced breads should keep for a week. (See above about plastic bags.)