This is all about storing baguettes and keeping them fresh for as long as possible.
Frustrated that your baguettes are already stale the day after you buy them? How to store a baguette to keep it fresh?
the short answer
A baguette should be stored in a paper bag or bread box. Once you cut it, it’s probably best to freeze any leftovers, as the cut side will dry out and go stale in 8-16 hours.
In other words, baguettes lose quality pretty quickly, and the process speeds up even more once you cut through a slice or two.
Knowing that, let’s talk about baguette storage in more detail.
How to store a baguette to keep it fresh
Store your baguettes in paper bags or a loaf protector to prevent premature spoilage. Once you cut off a slice or two, freeze any leftovers for the best quality.
If you don’t mind your baguette being a bit stale, you can leave it in the aforementioned bag or bread box for a day or two, but it will be pretty dry after that period.
Once you cut the baguette, the cut side will dry out quickly due to the access to fresh air. The other side (which is still intact) should stay fine for much longer.
So if you notice the exposed side looks dry, cut a slice or two and see what’s underneath. The rest of the bread will often be quite good (ie somewhat stale but still good enough to eat).
In general, leaving a sliced baguette (or any baguette, for that matter) on the counter for more than 12-16 hours is far from ideal. That is why it is usually suggested to buy freshly baked baguettes in the morning or on the way home for dinner. And finish them in a single session.
(Baguettes aren’t bread, which is often still pretty good three days after you start it. Or Bagels that you usually finish in one go.)
Fortunately, freezing leftover baguette is an easy solution to the freshness problem. All you need to do is wrap the baguette (sliced or not) and toss it in the freezer.
For more information on the subject, see my article: Can a baguette be frozen?
Now, let’s talk about storage time in more detail.
How long does a baguette last?
|less than 1 day
A whole baguette will last 2-3 days in a loaf box or resealable bag at room temperature, but tastes best the day it’s baked. After cutting it, it retains its quality for less than a day, as it quickly becomes rancid. That’s why it’s better to freeze jonquil leftovers.
In other words, it’s optimal to eat baguettes the day you buy them, but they keep well for 2-3 days, or until you slice them.
If you leave an unfinished loaf of bread on the counter, even if it’s properly packaged, it will be stale in 2-3 days.
Fortunately, even if your baguette is already stale, all is not lost. Let’s talk about what you can do with it.
What to do with a stale baguette?
When it comes to a stale baguette, you have a couple of options:
Next, let’s cover the last option: reviving stale baguettes in the oven.
How to revive a stale baguette
This is how you revive a stale baguette:
- Place the baguette under running water for a few seconds. As you do this, make sure the cut side of the baguette is facing away from the faucet, as you don’t want to “fill” the inside with water. The exposed side should be moist and the entire bark well rinsed. If you’re stressed out by the whole placing bread under running water thing, use a spray bottle or wet hands to moisten the baguette.
- Bake the baguette for 6 to 12 minutes at 300ºF (~150ºC) to 350ºF (~180ºF). You bake it uncovered so that the crust is crispy. The bigger the baguette and the more water it has inside, the longer you will need. You want the inside to be soft and cool (but not soggy) and the crust to be crisp. If you’re not sure how long you need yours, take it out after 6 minutes of baking and see if it needs more time.
This technique seems simple, and many websites swear by it, but I’m not sure it will produce consistent results. Let me show you why.
I decided to try it on a 6 day old baguette that was beyond stale. Here is the specimen:
After baking, the first slice was nice and soft, which was a bit of a surprise. But that’s about it when it comes to the positives.
The second slice was okay (acceptable, but nothing great), and the rest of the baguette was still completely stale.
The reason for this is, I think, that the water couldn’t go any deeper. And heating the inside of a dry baguette doesn’t magically make it nice and soft.
Unfortunately, “pouring” more water inside is not a solution to the problem (I tried) because said water can’t evaporate (in a reasonable time) during heating, and you end up with soggy bread.
I am not saying that the method does not work, far from it. I’m just pointing out that things don’t always go as planned.
Long story short, you won’t always end up with a nicely revamped baguette. Breadcrumbs and bread pudding are much more forgiving options.
But if you really want to freshen up that stale baguette, try something slightly different:
- Cut the baguette in half lengthwise.
- Moisten the interior with a spray bottle or with wet hands. You want the entire surface to be nice and wet but not soggy.
- Bake the baguette for 6 to 8 minutes at 300ºF (~150ºC) to 350ºF (~180ºF). If the water hasn’t completely evaporated by then, bake for another 2 to 3 minutes.
I haven’t tested it yet, but I feel like it’s going to produce much more consistent results.