Here’s all about storing baguettes and keeping them fresh as long as possible.
Frustrated that your baguettes are already stale the next day after buying? How to store a baguette to keep it fresh?
A baguette should be stored in a paper bag or a bread box. Once you cut into it, it’s probably best to freeze the leftovers, as the cut side will dry out and go stale within 8 to 16 hours.
In other words, baguettes lose quality quite quickly, and the process accelerates even further once you cut a slice or two.
Knowing that, let’s talk about storing baguettes in more detail.
How to Store a Baguette to Keep It Fresh
Store your baguettes in paper bags or in a bread saver to prevent them from going stale prematurely. Once you cut a slice or two, freeze the leftovers for best quality.
If you don’t mind that your baguette is slightly stale, you can leave it in the mentioned bag or bread box for a day or two, but it’ll be pretty dry after that period.
Once you cut into the baguette, the cut side will quickly dry out due to access to fresh air. The other side (that’s still untouched) should remain okay for much longer.
Because of that, if you notice that the exposed side seems dry, cut a slice or two and see what’s underneath. The rest of the bread will often be quite alright (i.e., somewhat stale but good enough for consumption).
All in all, leaving a cut baguette (or any baguette, really) on the counter for longer than 12 to 16 hours is far from ideal. That’s why it’s usually suggested to buy freshly baked baguettes in the morning or on the way home for dinner. And finish them in one sitting.
(Baguettes are not bread, which is often still pretty good three days after you start it. Or bagels, hamburger buns, or croissants that you usually finish in one go.)
Fortunately, freezing the leftover baguette is an easy solution to the freshness problem. All you need to do is to wrap the baguette (sliced or not) and chuck it in the freezer.
For more info on the topic, check out my article: Can you freeze a baguette?
Now, let’s talk about storage time in more detail.
How Long Does a Baguette Last?
|Baguette (whole)||2 – 3 days|
|Baguette (cut up)||less than 1 day|
A whole baguette lasts 2 to 3 days in a bread box or resealable bag at room temperature but tastes best the day it’s baked. After cutting into it, it retains quality for less than a day as it quickly goes stale. That’s why it’s best to freeze baguette leftovers.
In other words, it’s optimal to eat baguettes the day you buy them, but they stay okayish for 2 to 3 days, or until you cut them up.
If you leave an unfinished baguette on the counter, even if it’s properly packaged, it will be stale in 2 to 3 days.
Fortunately, even if your baguette is already stale, not all is lost. Let’s talk about what you can do with it.
What to Do With a Stale Baguette?
When dealing with a stale baguette, you have a couple of options:
- Turn it into breadcrumbs. You need a couple of minutes, a food processor, and an oven (here’s how to make breadcrumbs). Once you have them ready, you have plenty of time to use them, as breadcrumbs last quite a while.
- Make bread pudding. Making bread pudding is a great way to use up that stale baguette if you’re into baked goods. Here’s a recipe from Live Well Bake Often.
- Feed it to the birds.
- Try to revive it, but it doesn’t always work as well as you’d like. It’s a hit-or-miss method.
Next, let’s cover the last option – reviving stale baguettes in the oven.
How to Revive a Stale Baguette
Here’s how you revive a stale baguette:
- Place the baguette under running water for a few seconds. While doing so, make sure the cut side of the baguette is facing away from the faucet, as you don’t want to “fill” the interior with water. The exposed side should be wet and the whole crust well rinsed. If you’re stressed out about 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 to make the crust crisp. The larger the baguette and the more water inside, the more time you need. You want the interior to be soft and fresh (but not wet anymore) and the crust crisp. If you’re unsure how much time yours needs, 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 yields consistent results. Let me show you why.
I decided to try it on a 6-day-old baguette that was beyond stale. Here’s 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 positives.
The second slice was okay-ish (acceptable, but nothing to write home about), and the rest of the baguette was still completely stale.
The reason for that is, I think, that water couldn’t get deeper inside. And warming up a dry baguette interior doesn’t magically make it nice and soft.
Unfortunately, “pouring” more water inside isn’t a solution to the problem (I tried) because the said water can’t evaporate (in reasonable time) during warming up, and you end up with drenched bread.
I’m not saying the method doesn’t 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 refreshed baguette. Breadcrumbs and bread pudding are both way more forgiving options.
But if you’d really like to refresh that stale baguette, try something slightly different:
- Cut the baguette in half lengthwise.
- Moisten the interior using a spray bottle or wet hands. You want the whole surface to be nice and moist but not soggy.
- Bake the baguette for 6 to 8 minutes at 300ºF (~150ºC) to 350ºF (~180ºF). If water hasn’t fully evaporated by then, bake for another 2 to 3 minutes.
I haven’t tested it yet, but feel like it’s going to produce much more consistent results.