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How long does sourdough bread last and how should I store it?
Whilst sourdough bread contains natural preservatives (for more info see here), bread that doesn’t contain additives such as conditioners and emulsifiers do stale more quickly than those that do. There are different theories on the best method to store bread with the aim being to prevent the crust from absorbing too much moisture whilst preventing the crumb from drying. One way of doing this would be to store the loaf in a linen (or cotton/hemp) cloth or bag, which is then stored in an airtight container. The cloth will absorb excess moisture whilst the container will prevent too much moisture loss. However, personally the way I like to store my bread is by freezing it. Sourdough bread freezes extremely well and can be kept frozen for a few months without degrading. I slice my loaves up the day or day after it has been baked, keep out the slices I plan to eat within a couple of days then freeze the rest in an airtight container, separating portions between parchment paper. To defrost, I take out the slices for the morning the evening before and let them thaw overnight in an airtight container or Ziplock bag. Alternatively the slices can be microwaved for about 20 seconds to defrost, and then toasted.
How should I slice my loaf of bread?
Sourdough loaves, and especially those baked in a hearth oven (stone-oven), do have robust crusts and thicker bottoms and so if you will be slicing them regularly it is a good idea to invest in a decent bread knife. When it comes to decent bread knives however I have found that that does not have to mean expensive. I use this Swiss made Victorinox knife and highly recommend it, but have also heard great things about this German made Wusthof knife.