A traditional artisan French baguette remains fresh for up to eight hours. It's the sort of bread that's best bought daily, freshly baked for breakfast, or on the way home for dinner. It also helps to buy a good-quality baguette, which will also resist the ravages of time for longer.
But, if you want to keep your baguette fresher for longer, and extend its life beyond a day, there are a few tips and tricks to preventing it from drying out and making duck food out of it.
How to Keep a Baguette Fresh
The best way to keep a baguette fresh for more than a day is by freezing it as soon as possible after purchasing or baking it, which slows down the staling process.
Wait until the bread is cool, then place it in an airtight freezer bag (or wrap tightly in aluminium foil), squeeze out the extra air, zip it closed, and place in the freezer.
The bread should keep fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months.
When you want to eat your baguette, gently re-heat it from frozen in the oven.
2. Wrap in aluminium foil
Alternatively, you can keep a baguette from drying out by wrapping it in aluminium foil for up to two days at room temperature. The crust may soften but you can easily crisp it up again in a toaster or the oven.
Tricks and tips for storing other types of bread
The basic principles for storing all types of bread are to avoid warmth and moisture, which can speed moulding and accelerate drying. Types of bread with a higher fat content (like banana bread, which will likely have oils or butter) will tend to be more durable because fats can be a natural preservative. For the same reason, a bread baked with a nut flour (like almond flower) will outlast a loaf made with traditional wheat flour. A bread box can be a good solution for storing most types of bread, because its slight airflow regulates humidity - since an airtight container traps moisture and makes bread soggy - without allowing the bread to become hard or stale.
How to revive a stale baguette
If your baguette does dry out, all is not lost. There is a magic trick to reviving your baguette and enjoying it as it once was.
A crispy baguette in 7 minutes
- To do this magic trick, you just need: a whole stale baguette, an oven and a little water.
- First moisten your bread by passing it under an open tap, without soaking it.
- Then preheat your oven to between 150 and 230 degrees Celsius
- Bake your baguette for 7 minutes, and you're done.
The humidity combined with the heat allows the 'mie' to swell and the crust to regain its crispness.
See how to bring a baguette back to life in the video clip below:
If your baguette does go stale and all else fails, turn it into a flavourful panzanella salad.
When in France, be sure to check out the best baguettes in Paris.
Freezing other foods
Baguettes aren’t the only vittles that can be granted longevity by the power of your freezer. For instance, if you have a superabundance of fresh coconut milk, freeze it for future enjoyment in smoothies or baked goods. Or if you have a summertime bonanza of fresh produce from your garden or you want to really take advantage of a deal on a vegetable at the supermarket, many types of fresh fruits and vegetables can be frozen too. Even some leafy vegetables like spinach and kale can be preserved by freezing.