Never waste another slice of sourdough! Learn how to freeze and refresh sourdough bread with this complete guide.
Fresh sourdough bread straight out of the oven is one of life’s simple joys. After three years, baking sourdough bread is still one of the best things! I just can’t get enough of it when the kitchen is filled with the sweet and yeasty smell of fresh sourdough. Not to mention the crackle of the sourdough crust when you cut that first slice.
Nothing compares to enjoying a slice…or a few…of sourdough on the day that it was baked. But, what if you don’t finish the whole loaf in one sitting?
Or, what if you wanted to serve a freshly baked sourdough loaf with dinner, but making it may not always be realistic during a busy week? Considering the sourdough-making process is a pretty involved one – from making the sourdough bread dough, waiting for the bulk fermentation to complete, to shaping and baking it, it’s convenient to have a backup loaf in a pinch.
The good news is sourdough bread freezes with little to no diminishing of flavor and texture! So, when I have a little bit of extra time, I love baking multiple loaves of sourdough. One to eat fresh for the week and another to freeze for later.
Follow these simple steps on how to store, freeze, and refresh sourdough bread that will always be on hand and taste just as if it was freshly baked.
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How Long Does Fresh Sourdough Bread Last at Room Temperature:
Unlike store-bought bread that is packed full of additives and preservatives which extend its shelf life, sourdough bread’s natural acidity preserves itself. The natural yeast found in sourdough bread develops lactic acid bacteria, whereas bread from the grocery store uses commercial yeast.
Homemade sourdough bread will keep fresh at room temperature for 4-5 days.
How to Store Fresh Sourdough Bread:
If you plan to eat your sourdough quickly, a fresh loaf of bread will typically stay fresh for up to 4 days. Sometimes I will eat some of our sourdoughs before popping the rest of the loaf in the freezer.
Here are some of my favorite storage methods if you don’t plan to freeze your sourdough bread right away.
Whether it’s a gallon-size, sandwich bag, or a plastic bag with a twist tie, storing your sourdough bread this way will surely lock in the moisture and block out air. The only downside is the crust tends to soften the longer it is stored.
Keeping your sourdough bread in a linen bag on your countertop is not only easy to do but also stylish. There are plenty of darling bags sold on Amazon or Etsy. If you enjoy a DIY project, a bread bag can be made with leftover fabric scraps.
The crust will stay crispy, but the linen bag does allow air to circulate in the bag, which causes the sourdough bread to dry out faster.
Placing your sourdough bread in a bread box will block out air and lock in moisture. Plus a stylish box will add practicality and character to your kitchen.
This is my go-to storage method. I have plenty of tea towels in my kitchen drawers that I can reuse repeatedly.
Wrap or tie a tea towel around your homemade bread and store it in a dry place. This method is best if you plan to eat your sourdough within the next day or two. The crust will stay crispy while the inside of the bread will remain soft and chewy.
Brown Paper Bag:
A brown paper bag is another great option. The see-through window on this bag makes this method great for gifting. It gives a “straight from the bakery” feel.
Dome Cake Plate:
This has to be one of the prettiest ways to store your bread. Not only does the Dome Cake Plate block out air, but it displays your freshly baked sourdough with such elegance, like the masterpiece that it is!
Once you are done slicing into your sourdough, place the cut side down on the cutting board and leave it at room temperature. You can cover the bread with a tea towel.
Benefits of Freezing Sourdough Bread:
Pulling out a fresh sourdough loaf for dinner or a special occasion can be so impressive, but sometimes impractical. When life is busy, thawing a frozen loaf can provide a perfect loaf of sourdough bread in a pinch that will be just as satisfying.
Sometimes the three of us in my family can’t finish a fresh loaf before it begins to go stale. Typically I will find different ways to use up stale sourdough bread, such as making fresh toast casserole, croutons, or bread crumbs, but once in a blue moon, a loaf is unsalvageable. What a stab to the heart to toss out sourdough!
Freezing my sourdough bread for future use is my favorite method of reducing waste before mold or the staling process grabs hold.
Just as delicious:
Many fear that the texture and flavor could never compete with that of fresh bread, but honestly, it just isn’t true. When you follow these simple steps of freezing your sourdough bread, you will still enjoy the tang and crispy crust of sourdough will little to no deterioration.
Supplies You May Need:
Aluminum Foil (optional)
Gallon-Sized Ziploc Bag or Plastic Bag and Zip Tie
How to Freeze Sourdough Bread:
There are two methods for freezing sourdough bread.
Option one is to freeze the sourdough loaf as a whole. I will most often choose this method if I want to have sourdough bread while entertaining guests, like my roasted garlic and rosemary sourdough bread or to have sourdough bread for the week.
Option two is to slice the sourdough bread and then freeze it. This is an excellent option when you don’t want to thaw a whole loaf of bread. Instead, pop a slice or two in the toaster and you have fresh sourdough bread to enjoy for breakfast!
Below you will find detailed instructions for both methods.
Whole loaf: Best for Long Term Storage
Cool Completely –
Before you freeze an entire loaf of freshly baked sourdough bread, it is crucial to allow it to cool. This will not only provide you with the best results for freezing, but it is also necessary for your bread to finish cooking.
If the bread is not cooled, it will also create condensation in the bag. Condensation will turn into ice crystals on the bread, which invites freezer burn to take control. Ice crystals may make the bread soggy or moldy, ultimately damaging the delicious crumb you worked so hard to create.
It will take about 2-4 hours for your bread to cool.
Wrap with Plastic Wrap –
This is your secret weapon for freshness! To ensure the same texture and consistency after your bread is frozen and then thawed, we need to keep in the moisture.
The best option is to take your sourdough bread and double-wrap the whole thing with plastic wrap.
Wrap with Aluminum (optional) –
Though optional, wrapping your bread with aluminum foil on top of the plastic wrap provides another layer of protection from freezer burn and dry, stale bread.
Store in Gallon-Sized Ziploc Bag –
Place the whole sourdough loaf into a gallon-sized or freezer-safe bag.
Before zipping or tying shut, be sure to remove any excess air. Air is the number one culprit when it comes to freezer burn. I remove the air by giving the bag a gentle squeeze.
Date and Label –
Many times I give myself too much credit and say that I am going to remember exactly when I froze my bread. More often than not, I forget. Do yourself a favor and date and label your plastic bags. This way you will know exactly when you should use up your frozen bread.
It’s a good idea to place the sourdough bread in the deepest part of your freezer for consistent cold temperatures. If you store your bread in the freezer door or near the front, this could cause your bread to thaw and refreeze, which could affect your crumb.
A sourdough loaf will last up to 3 months in the freezer.
Sliced: Best for Short Term Storage
Cool Completely –
As described above, completely cooling your bread is an essential part of the freezing process.
To slice a whole loaf of sourdough bread, I like to cut my sourdough loaf in half and then place the cut side down on a cutting board. This keeps the sourdough bread in place and makes for an easier cut.
With a sharp serrated knife, slice the spread into 3/4 inch slices or your preferred thickness.
Parchment Paper –
Place pieces of parchment paper in between each slice of bread. This prevents the slices from sticking together. Save these pieces and reuse them again and again.
Store in Gallon-Sized Ziploc Bag –
I lay my individual slices flat in a single layer so they take up less room in the freezer. Others will reassemble the sourdough loaf shape and freeze it. Choose your favorite option.
Date and Label–
Most often my family and I eat up our sliced sourdough well before the expiration date, but it’s good practice to date and label your bag for future reference.
Slice bread will last up to 3 months in the freezer.
Store the sliced bread on a flat surface in the freezer. You may want to lay it on a small baking sheet so the pieces freeze flat. Once frozen you can place them where convenient.
Sliced bread is best eaten in 4-8 weeks, but can last up to 3 months in the freezer.
How to Reheat Frozen Sourdough Bread:
Remove the frozen sourdough from the freezer and allow it to thaw on the countertop. This can take anywhere from a couple of hours to overnight.
Once thawed, pour cold water over the whole loaf of sourdough. The fresh water will help to crisp up the crust while it bakes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees f. Place the loaf directly on the oven rack and bake for 5-10 minutes. Crisp and hot, just like you baked it fresh! Guests won’t suspect a thing.
Pro-tip: Feel free to slice while it’s still hot. The sourdough has been fully cooked in your previous bake.
If you’re craving just a slice of chewy sourdough bread, no need to thaw a whole loaf. Remove a slice or two from the ziplock bag and thaw at room temperature and enjoy!
Toasted sourdough bread is a great way of eating frozen bread. Toss the slices in the toaster oven for a minute or two and they will crisp up perfectly.
How to Eat Frozen Sourdough Bread:
Once thawed or toasted, frozen sourdough bread can be eaten just like freshly baked.
Slice and slather with some salted butter. Or, pop it into the toaster and top it with fresh avocado, feta cheese, and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette. Have a sweet tooth? A family favorite is spreading on some peanut butter with a sprinkle of brown sugar.
My mouth is watering just thinking about the endless possibilities!
How to Tell If Sourdough Bread Has Gone Bad:
Sourdough bread that is past its prime will be very difficult to cut. If there was any deterioration while in the freezer, the crumb may be soggy or lacking in texture and flavor. Other signs that is time to toss the homemade bread include visible mold, an unpleasant smell, and a bad taste.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can You Store Sourdough Bread in the Refridgerator?
Unfortunately, no. Refrigerators circulate cold, dry air which is notorious for drying out bread, like homemade sourdough. Instead, leave your bread at room temperature if you plan to eat it within 4 days or freeze it.
It is best to keep your bread in a cool place, as well. Leaving sourdough in a warm place, like in a sunny spot or on top of the refrigerator, can dry out your bread.
Can You Refreeze Sourdough Bread?
You can refreeze sourdough bread, but the crust and crumb may become soft. I would stick to only freezing a loaf of sourdough once for the best quality.
Can You Freeze Sourdough Bread in Beeswax Wrap?
Beeswax wrap is an eco-friendly and reusable kitchen tool. Unfortunately, I do not recommend freezing sourdough bread with it. Our goal in keeping the sourdough’s flavor and texture is to lock in moisture and block out air.
Beeswax wrap doesn’t wrap around a loaf of sourdough tightly enough, so I would recommend using plastic wrap and aluminum foil instead.
Can You Freeze Other Sourdough Products?
I will freeze my sourdough sandwich bread by slicing the whole loaf of bread and placing pieces of parchment paper between each slice. Then, I will slide the slices into a ziplock bag, remove any excess air, write the date on the bag, and place it in the freezer.
For Sourdough Irish Soda Bread, I wait until it is completely cooled to wrapped with aluminum foil and place it in the freezer. It will be good for up to 3 months.
With my sourdough bagels, I will place them in a Ziplock bag, squeeze any excess air out, and put them in the freezer.