Lately we've been finding that we can only keep quality bakery bread loaves on the counter for about 5 days before they start to mold. We'd like to get a little longer out of them -- say 8-9 days -- because while stale at 1 week, they're still good for toast and croutons if not moldy.

We buy unsliced artisan bakery loves, sometimes from the bakery directly sometimes from grocery stores that get daily delivery. These are large French or sourdough loaves (1lbs to 2lbs), or 1.5lbs whole wheat sandwich loaves. They are generally preservative-free.

We store them on the counter, in a heavy paper bag during humid weather or in a thin plastic bag (like a produce bag) during drier weather (we don't reuse bags between loaves). They are in a shaded spot on the counter. We live in the US Pacific Northwest and do not have air conditioning, so ambient conditions are generally between 40%-70% relative humidity and 60F (15C) to 80F (25C) inside the house, depending on the season. The time-to-mold doesn't seem to vary much with the season, though.

I'd already tried cleaning our counters extensively using soap and vinegar and some moldkiller, and that didn't seem to change anything.

So, question: What else can I do to extend the loaves' time on the counter by a few more days before they go moldy? I am asking for practical tips that you have actually tried, or have citations for real-world testing.

Notes: not looking for advice that involves freezing or preservatives or changing bread brands. I read this question, but it's about changing the bread recipe, not about techniques to preserve a bought loaf. I saw the UV idea, but haven't been able to find anyone who has personal experience with using one and obviously it's quite a project. I've also looked at most of the advice in articles like this, but they don't give sources for their advice or any evidence that they've tested it, and some of it is contradictory.

  • 2
    From my experience with home made (mainly sourdough) preservative-free bread, I think getting more than about a week is optimistic.
    – Chris H
    Oct 17, 2021 at 19:53
  • I know the closure is rather unsatisfying, because the other question's answers don't offer some kind of great insight. But I think that this is just one of the situations where our desires outpace available technology :)
    – rumtscho
    Oct 17, 2021 at 21:10
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    @rumtscho the chosen answer to the linked question is "freezing", and my question is specifically "without freezing". So I don't see how the other question answers mine.
    – FuzzyChef
    Oct 17, 2021 at 23:52
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    In fact ... NONE of the answers to the other question apply to mine. One is Freezing, one is a product that no longer exists, and the other is to let it go stale.
    – FuzzyChef
    Oct 17, 2021 at 23:54

1 Answer 1


Our baker suggests a stone ware or clay pot for storing bread and putting it with the cut, open side to the ground of the pot so that this side is protected and not in direct contact with the air.

Using a bread bin or putting the bread in a linen bag into a bread bin also works very well.

Usually we keep our bread fresh using these methods for a week, speaking for German baker made darker breads with a high part of whole grain flour.

  • The clay pot ... is this a lidded jar?
    – FuzzyChef
    Oct 18, 2021 at 18:10
  • Mostly they have a lid out of clay or stoneware but there are ones with wooden lids. To get an idea how they look like have a quick search for römertopf or roemer Topf. These are used for roasting/baking, too
    – jmk
    Oct 18, 2021 at 20:50
  • oh! a cloche! those are usually used for baking, but yeah, I could see how those could work.
    – FuzzyChef
    Oct 18, 2021 at 23:54
  • I did not know this term, thank you 😊. The basic idea is that the pot can regulate humidity.
    – jmk
    Oct 19, 2021 at 5:12

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