For us, bread use seems to hit spikes and valleys. I take my lunch to work every day, and while I normally take a sandwich, there are times where I take leftovers or a frozen meal. If these situations happen for multiple days straight, sometimes bread will sit for a while. At the same time, there are occasions where you use bread like it's going out of style. Toast for breakfast (or better yet, french toast, yummm) or grilled cheese as part of dinner, and you'll go through a loaf in no time at all.
Even with all this, we rarely ever have any bread go stale. And, we have learned a big lesson, which is to keep bread out of the refrigerator.
Multiple Loaves At A Time
It's not uncommon for us to buy multiple loaves of bread at a time. We like the wheat bread available at Costco, which comes in a two-pack (and since the loaves are bigger than those you typically get at the grocery store, it's probably closer to three loaves). Sometimes sales at the grocery store (or coupons) will have you buy multiple loaves at once.
Keeping these out for the length of time necessary to use them would likely result in some of it going stale.
Many people will combat this by putting their bread in the refrigerator, and I admit, I used to be guilty of this, but as it turns out, bread really shouldn't go there. I've read multiple notes indicating that keeping bread in the fridge actually speeds up the process of the bread going stale. Also, what I've noticed is that when bread is refrigerated, it just feels different even after it's brought back up to room temperature. It has a different consistency, and not one that I would consider enjoyable.
Where To Put Bread
So, the question becomes, where do you put bread that you're not going to eat for a while? The answer is simple: Keep out what you need and put the rest in the freezer.
The freezer will keep your bread intact and will stop the clock on the time that your bread has before it goes stale. You don't want to keep it in the freezer for more than a couple of weeks because it will start to attract ice crystals and such that will ruin the bread, but if you keep a loaf or two in there, and get to it in a reasonable amount of time, you'll enjoy the bread a lot more.
But It Gets Wet When It Thaws
I had tried freezing bread in the past but it always freaked me out that, during the thawing process, the bread and the bag seemed to get wet. As it so happens, this is natural, and once the bread is thawed and returned to room temperature for awhile, this will go away and you'll never notice the difference.
Oops, I Too Soon
One of the things I wondered about was whether you could re-freeze bread. From what I've seen on the Internet, it looks like it's perfectly acceptable to change your mind. So, if you take a loaf out, but then realize you're going to go a few days before you actually get to it, don't be afraid to put it back in the freezer. I wouldn't do this too many times, but from what I've seen, one re-freeze seems to do no harm.
What do you think, readers? Do you put your bread in the freezer or the fridge or do you go through it so fast that you never have this issue?