If you’re guilty of wasting one food it’s probably bread.

Here’s the all-too-common situation: You just twisted open a basic bag of sliced sandwich bread at home, but then you go ahead and buy an artisanal loaf to accompany tonight’s dinner-for-two anyway. (After all, they are very different breads.) Then you buy buns for grilling burgers later this week and perhaps some bakery rolls for Sunday’s dinner. That’s when you realize, you’ll never get through all of that bread before it gets stale. Can you keep it fresh in the freezer? Thankfully, the answer is yes!

Most bread really only lasts about two or three days before it starts to show signs of staleness, or worse, mold, but the freezer can help ward off both.

Also see: Is it safe to tear the mold off of bread and eat the rest?

How to freeze bread: short-term

Short term storage can help save you from running to the store every time you need bread for a meal. Stock up your freezer with hamburger buns in the summer, and always be prepared. It’s also great for those who just can’t seem to make it through a loaf before it goes bad. Here’s how to do it:

Artisan or bakery bread: First consider how you’ll use the bread. If you’re going to use it for sandwiches, consider slicing it (read about the man who invented sliced bread) now before freezing it. Make sure bread is completely cooled, then wrap it in a layer of plastic wrap. Place bread directly in freezer.

Store-bought bread: If your store-bought bread came in a plastic bag, that will be sufficient to keep the bread protected for a few weeks. Place product directly in freezer.

Rolls or buns: To freeze rolls or buns, transfer them to a zip-top freezer bag, press air out, and seal tightly.

Money saving tip: Fill your deep freezer with a few loaves of day-old bread. You’ll pay next to nothing for it, and it will be ready for you when you need it. 

How to freeze bread: long-term

If you would like to keep bread frozen longer than three weeks, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then again in a layer of foil. Use a piece of tape to write a “use-by” date on your bread before placing in the freezer. Try to use bread within six months of freezing. Any longer and the soft, porous texture of bread will likely have taken on unpleasant smells and freezer burn.

How to thaw bread

To thaw bread or rolls, simply remove from the freezer and place in the refrigerator overnight. Individual slices can go straight to the toaster, which will take care of thawing and toasting at the same time. Dinner rolls can go directly from freezer to oven.

How to freeze bread dough

If you bake your own bread, you might prefer to freeze the dough instead of the finished loaf. It will take up less space and allow you to enjoy fresh-baked bread—and its delightful smell—anytime you want. You can even bake dough, as long as it’s already been proofed, when it’s frozen. Just watch carefully toward the end of the bake time, as you may need to add as much as 10 to 15 minutes on to your usual time.

To freeze bread dough, shape dough into loaves and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. To bake, transfer to greased bread pan.

Also see, This is why bread comes in brown bags.

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Meghan is a full-time writer exploring the fun facts behind food. She lives a healthy lifestyle but lives for breakfast, dessert and anything with marinara. She’s thrown away just as many meals as she’s proud of.