It's no secret that I don't always have all of the zero waste answers (because, shhhh, nobody really has all of the zero waste answers). But when I've gotten stuck, I've posed questions in this space, and my genius readers have picked up the slack. Thank you!
A few months ago, I asked how folks store bread without plastic. At the time, I didn't have a great answer: either I stored my bread in a cloth bag - making it stale in merely a day or so, or I used an increasingly ratty ziploc bag to keep it fresh for longer. Well, you weren't about to let me carry on like that, were you?
Among the many smart tips that readers suggested, the one that's worked best for me has been to store bread in a bag in my enameled dutch oven. It basically functions like a breadbox, keeping out extra air and keeping the bread fresh. I love this for method for several reasons: first, and most importantly, it really works! Bread stays fresh so much longer, even without the benefit of plastic. Plus, this method doesn't require me to buy any new tools, makes good use of something that I already own but 90% of the time stands empty (in a small kitchen, saving space wisely is key), and it holds even the largest round loaf of bread that was tough to squeeze into said ratty ziploc anyway.
Here's how I now store bread without plastic:
When I buy bread at the grocery, farmers' market, or bakery, I put it directly into a cloth bag. If the loaf is too large for any of my bags, or if all of my nicely-sized bags are dirty, I might wrap it up in a cloth, furoshiki-style. Then, I put the cloth-wrapped bread straight into my dutch oven, pictured above. In my experience, the bread lasts about a week this way. That's if I can avoid making avocado toast five times within the first two days.
Other ideas from the crowd:
-Store the cloth-wrapped loaf in a bread box, old wooden box, or even a kitchen drawer. I bet a stainless steel soup pot would work just fine for storage, too.
-Wrap the bread in beeswax food wrap and then the box, drawer, or dutch oven for even more staying power.
-Buy less bread more often, to keep it from going stale so quickly. A reader suggested purchasing a couple of individual buns as needed.
-Immediately stash half the loaf in a cloth bag in the freezer. A few readers mentioned slicing it before putting it in the freezer, so that it's easy to pull out just one or two slices at a time.Caveat: be sure to use it up fairly quickly so that it doesn't acquire that terrible freezer taste.
To read the full gamut of reader tips, visit the comments section on the original post. Other bread storage techniques you've found? Or any questions you'd like answered via crowdsourcing?