The long thin, “stick-like” bread with a beautiful crisp crust, also known as baguette, has become one of the most recognizable symbols of France. The recipe for the lean dough of the authentic baguettes is very simple and contains only wheat flour, salt, yeast, and water.
Unfortunately, as you have probably noticed, baguettes remain delicious and fresh only for about half a day, especially after it has been cut.
If you are wondering how to store baguettes to prolong their longevity, then read through our detailed guide for the best storage tips, as well as some ideas for utilizing older baguettes.
Letting a baguette cool after baking, putting it in an airtight freezer bag, and storing it there are the best ways to preserve it as fresh as possible for the longest. To fit everything in the bag and freezer, you may need to cut it into many pieces.
The baguette may be kept in this manner for up to three months.
Wrapping the baguette snugly in aluminum foil and storing it at room temperature are further suggestions for avoiding the bread from drying out too quickly. It will remain fresh for up to two days in this way. You may toast it or bake it to crisp the crust even if it has become mushy.
Continue reading for more helpful advice on how to keep baguettes from going bad and still utilize them.
What is the best way to preserve the baguette after it has been cut?
Have you wondered why baguettes become dry and harden so quickly after being cut? Here are some of the best ways to keep them as fresh as possible for longer after cutting them.
Freezing the baguette
Freezing the baguette is no doubt the best way to preserve it in the same state as it was when you bought it or made it for the longest. By freezing it properly, the bread will still have a soft interior and a crispy crust outside once you take it out. The reason is that the freezing temperatures help slow down its staling.
For even better results, you should reheat the baguette in a toaster or oven so that the starches begin gelatinizing again and make the texture chewy and springy as it first was when the bread was baked.
To freeze the baguette, cut it into several parts or put it whole in a sealable freezer bag. Make sure to try to remove as much of the air as possible before sealing it.
When the time comes to eat it, just place it in the oven or toaster, and it will come back to life.
You can slice it prior to freezing it, especially if you are planning on eating only a few slices at a time. They are easy to thaw because you can pop them in the toaster.
You should avoid defrosting and then freezing the same baguette because this will cause damage to its quality, texture, taste, and appearance.
The baguette can last for up to three months in the freezer when frozen properly.
Keeping the baguette in a bread box
If you don’t have room in the freezer or don’t want to freeze your baguette, you can store it in a suitable bread box. A good quality bread box can help preserve the humidity and provide the air circulation necessary to keep the bread’s interior soft and the crust crisp and crusty.
If possible, use a larger box so that there is enough space for the circulation of air around the baguette.
Also, avoid overfilling the box so that you don’t increase the humidity in it too much.
You shouldn’t keep the bread in a paper bag when placing it in the bread box. The paper bag will cause the trapping of the moisture and can make the crust soft and unappetizing.
The best bread boxes for storing baguettes are ceramic, but you can also use one made of enamel or bamboo.
Wrapping it in plastic or aluminum foil
You can store the baguette wrapped in aluminum foil or in plastic wrap if you want to prevent it from becoming stale so quickly. But keep in mind that this method will ruin the crust and make it soft and chewy due to the moisture trapped in the foil or wrap.
One method to resolve this issue is to toast the bread. This will restore some of its original crustiness.
To keep the baguette wrapped on the counter, make sure to store it somewhere away from direct sunlight and away from moisture.
Never refrigerate the baguette
While using the fridge for storing most types of food is recommended, storing bread in the refrigerator can make it stale much faster than if it is kept outside at room temperature.
Refrigerating the bread works only for the loads which have added preservatives, keeping them soft and fresh for longer. In this case, keeping the bread in the fridge is recommended because it will prevent the bread from drying and from mold.
How long will the store-bought baguette last?
This depends on how you store the French bread.
When it is appropriately stored in a bread box or wrapped, it can last for 2-3 days at room temperature.
If you freeze it as advised above, it can last for up to 3 months in the freezer.
Avoid refrigerating the bread, as this will cause it to stale about six times faster than if left outside at room temperature. Still. If you need to refrigerate the baguette for some reason, you can expect it to last for only about a day before it becomes stale and unpleasant to eat.
How to keep the baguette nice and crispy?
In order to keep the crust of your French baguette so crisp, you should use the long and slow cooling method after baking it. This drying and crisping can be done in the oven after you have baked the baguette.
This is done by turning the oven off when the bread is baked. Then transfer the baguette from the stone or pan onto the middle rack of the oven and open the oven door a few inches. After that, simply allow the bread to cool down slowly as the oven cooling down. This will dry the crust and will make it all crispy.
The idea of this slow cooling process is to let the bread cool down while avoiding moisture and condensation, which can cause the crust to become soft and soggy.
So, if you take your freshly baked bread out of the oven immediately and leave it in contact with the air in the room, the chances are that you will not end up with the perfect crispy crust.
This is why you should keep it in the oven with the door slightly open until it has cooled down completely. This oven drying method will also help the unsightly wrinkles which can occur on the bread’s crust.
Another method to slow cool the bread is in the bread machine. This can be done by removing the bucket from the device as soon as the bread is ready, leaving the lid slightly open, and allowing the bread to cool down along with the machine gradually and with minimal contact with the moisture in the air.
How long can a baguette last in the refrigerator?
The bread, which is store-bought and made of whole grain or multi-grain or white flour, can last for 5-7 days at room temperature. Even after it goes stale, this type of bread is most probably still safe to eat.
Homemade bread can last for just 4-5 days in the pantry. It will go stale and bad much faster than the bread you have bought from the grocery store.
To extend the longevity of a store-bought baguette, you may want to seal it tightly in foil or plastic or store it in a good-quality bread box.
For a shelf life as long as 3 months, and for the best result, you should freeze the baguette. Just remember to put it in a sealed freezer bag or double wrap it in two bags, and then pop it in the toaster or oven when the time comes to eat it.
Summary of the storage time for baguettes
Store-bought baguette – 5-7 days in the pantry, 7-12 days in the fridge, and up to 3 months in the freezer
Home-baked baguette – 3-5 days in the pantry, 5-8 days in the fridge, and up to 3 months in the freezer
How to utilize stale baguettes?
You have probably noticed that baguettes get all chewy and hard much faster than most other types of bread. The question is how to avoid the wastage of food and make the most of the baguettes that have gone stale.
The good news is that there are some easy ways to utilize the baguettes even after they have become stale. Here are some of the best ideas for using the leftovers:
Wet it and then put it in the oven for 15 minutes
If the French bread has become hard, chewy, and stale, you can run some tap water all over its bottom and then place the baguette in a preheated oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep it in the oven for about 10 minutes. When using a frozen baguette, let it thaw and heat up for 15 minutes at this temperature.
Make toast out of slightly stale baguettes
In case the baguette is only slightly stale, you can slice it in slices with a serrated knife and then use the toaster to heat and dry them until they become nice and crispy. You can also use a baking sheet and a broiler if you prefer not to use a toaster. Make sure you turn them around once the sides up become brown.
Another great idea is to grate your stale baguette or process it in a food processor and then make breadcrumbs from your stale baguette.
Make croutons from the baguette
You can easily make croutons from stale baguettes. Just cut it into cubes with a suitable serrated sharp knife, and then spread the cubes on a baking sheet with rims. Once you have spread them out, drizzle some olive oil on top of the cubes. Bake them in the oven until they turn golden brown and crisp. Croutons are perfect for soups salads and served with veggies.
Make a dressing or stuffing with the baguette
Don’t rush to throw out that stale baguette just yet! Instead, you can make some mouthwatering stuffing for turkey by tearing or cutting it into pieces and then mixing it with sautéed onions with herbs, some beaten eggs, and chicken stock. Stuff the turkey with this mixture or simply spread it in a baking pan.
Cook it until it becomes firm and brown.
If you are cooking it stuffed in a turkey, then make sure to cook it until the bird’s internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Prepare bread pudding
Bread pudding can be made easily from a stale baguette. To do so, tear or cut the old baguette in pieces and spread them into a baking dish. In the meantime, whisk some eggs, sugar, and cream into the custard, and then pour it so that the bread cuts are covered. Let the bread absorb the custard for about 30 minutes, and then bake the bread pudding for about an hour.
You can add chocolate chips and some raisins to the pudding before you bake it. You can serve the bread pudding with some custard or whipped cream when it is ready.
Why do baguettes go stale so fast?
Bread goes stale after being baked when it loses its moisture. Because the dough for baguettes is made of so few and simple ingredients, French bread is prone to staling much faster than other types of bread which have added butter or oil. The lack of oil in the baguettes causes the moisture inside them to remain trapped for longer after it has been baked.
How to wrap the baguette for a gift or for sale?
If you need to wrap your baguette in parchment paper, all you need to do is a piece of big enough paper, some string, and if you want to add some tags or other decorations.
Place the baked baguette on a rectangular piece of parchment paper. Fold up the long sides and use some tape to keep them together. Then fold the ends separately, and tuck them under the bread.
Wrap the bread like you would wrap a gift, and use some string to hold it.
You can add a tag or a mini clothespin to add a name or label on the bread.
Continue Reading: Food Storing Guide: Storage Times For The Refrigerator And Freezer