How to buy, store, and freeze bread without plastic #zerowaste

Bread is a staple in many areas of the world. And in many areas of the world, it is sold in a plastic bag by default. I guess this is the reason why I get so many questions about how we buy and store bread.

Disclaimer: These tips are based on our experience and reflect our preferences. I am sure there are many other ways to buy, store, and freeze bread plastic-free. If you have a method you want to share, please leave a comment below the article! ❤️

Where and how to buy bread plastic-free

We like to buy our bread from a baker at the farmers market or go to a bakery to buy our bread. For one, those places usually don’t pre-package their bread, so it is easy to just hold up your bag and say: “Oh, I don’t need a bag, I got my own one here 😁!” The other reason is the quality. We aren’t the biggest bread fans, so unless it is really good bread, we won’t go for it or will prefer to bake our own or just not eat bread at all. 😆

But you don’t necessarily have to hit the market or go to a bakery. You can even buy loose loaves, bread rolls, pastries, and cakes in many supermarkets, either at a staffed counter or you can help yourself to it. We just bring our own bag for bread and containers for sticky pastries, and either ask the staff to put it in there or just put it in there ourselves at the self service bread shelf.

As you can see the staff member does not have to take our container behind the counter to fill it.

What you have to watch out for is to keep your own bag or container at your side of the counter or on top of the counter. Some shops do not mind to take your bag and fill it for you behind the counter, but we usually just hold it open on our side and let the staff member “drop” the bread into it. I like to film and show that in my Insta stories whenever we buy bread, so make sure to check them out!

What kind of bag do you use for bread and where did you buy it?

I have seen the prettiest bread bags on Etsy and Insta, but we just use very common and boring cotton shopping bags for bread. Nothing fancy, nothing produced to hold bread specifically. Trust me, bread isn’t very picky 😉

We have two designated “bread bags” at the moment. One was a hand-printed good bye present from a friend when we were about to leave Japan in 2010, and the other one was a freebie we got years ago. Really, you can use any clean cloth bag you have. I once heard that some people even use pillow cases. Whatever can hold the amount of bread you want to buy (and is clean) is fine.

How to you store bread without a plastic bag?

We usually keep as much as we will probably eat in two days and toss it into a kitchen drawer in the bag we bought it in. The rest we pop into the freezer.

If you are worried about your bread losing too much moisture in the cloth bag, just wrap it in another layer of cloth (= another cloth bag or a dish towel). Keeping it in a drawer helps, too.

I honestly have no idea if bread goes stale faster this way compared to keeping it in plastic bags, because we have never had the habit of storing bread out for very long. But I can say that bread in plastic bags will grow mold if you leave it in the bag for too long (happened to me before when I forgot I still had bread!), but bread that you leave out in a cloth bag for too long will only dry out—which means you can still reuse it! You can grind old bread into bread crumbs, use it as a filler for patties, make bread soup, french toast, or go for a bread pudding!

How do you freeze bread? ❄️🍞

We freeze bread wrapped in a dish towel, in a cloth bag or just sitting on a cutting board. Again, you get better results if you just add another layer of cloth. We don’t usually get any freezer burns this way because the main reason for freezer burn is fluctuating temperature in the freezer, and we are very careful when it comes to that. This is how we prevent freezer burns:

  • We don’t freeze a lot, so we don’t open the freezer door unless we really have to.
  • When we do open the door, we are FAST.
  • When we freeze other foods we pre-chill it to prevent the temperature going up in the freezer.
  • We only freeze small batches.

Do you buy a lot of bread? How do you store bread? I know many households in Germany have wooden boxes on the countertop to keep bread in. It makes sense, because commonly two out of three meals a day consist of sandwiches (breakfast and dinner). I am always curious, so let me know how you handle bread in the comments below! 😊

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