I wwould like my bread to be fresh the next day when I bake it at night but I know you shouldn't cover your freshly baked bread as it will soften it. Can I leave it on the counter uncovered overnight? Will it still be fresh?
It may be a matter of how you are defining 'Fresh', but my experience has been that 'fresh' isn't that hard to maintain, as long as I'm making a loaf with a significant crust; just don't cut it. I tend to leave the bread on the rack in my oven overnight to cool down, with no loss of freshness, as long as it hasn't been cut into. Once it's cut into, things change, but the crust itself isn't terribly vulnerable to getting stale quickly, and protects the rest of the bread.