Bread boxes have been used for decades upon decades to keep bread fresh through attempts to eliminate retrogradation. When bread goes bad, it doesn’t go bad by becoming dry; it does so through starch transforming into another form.
Do they really work? In short, the answer is yes.
When the bread is placed in a cooler temperature, like inside a refrigerator or freezer, the bread stays fresh until you take it out and expose the starch to room temperature. In this case, the bread goes bad much quicker because of the increased moisture and water from freezing.
However, they are designed to keep out condensation in an area with an optimal amount of airflow. In doing so, the ability for mold to grow is reduced immensely and causes the bread to stay fresh. As an additional bonus, they can provide a safe area for your bread so that pests cannot reach it.
Because of the information mentioned above and from experience, bread boxes are extremely effective. Science doesn’t lie, nor does it tend to change (however, findings and theories do.) Currently, they lengthen the longevity of a loaf of bread. However, in the future, science may change in a way to lengthen that even further, not take away from the current ability to keep your bread fresh.
Now, before you go out and buy one, check out picks below for the top modern, vintage, and most importantly, wooden bread boxes. Some will be roll top and others will have a lift styled door.
BREADBOXES, after all these years, matter again.
As long as bread was mass-produced plastic food in plastic wrap, protected by an army of multisyllabic preservatives, no one needed to worry about it.
But now that the fresh stuff, the bread with a great crust and moist interior, is back, the reasons for the breadbox are clear: store one of those beautiful loaves in a plastic bag and it will turn into a tough hunk of foam overnight. A breadbox should keep it fresh for up to three days.
To be honest, though, I first wanted a breadbox for a less practical reason. All of a sudden, there are a lot of great looking ones. Houseware designers have become enamored of the breadbox, as they have of old-fashioned toasters and blenders and other artifacts of the 1950’s kitchen. Except this time, they’re not content with just retro reproductions.
The smooth capsule made by Alessi, shown above, looks as if it touched down from outer space. A breadbox by Eva Solo has curved steel sides and an industrial-looking black plastic flap. Michael Graves’s breadbox is a riff on sturdy 50’s design in chrome and ivory plastic. All of them are a vast improvement over that pile of crumpled paper bags shoved onto the counter.
But I wondered, is choosing a breadbox just a matter of style, or are there functional considerations, too? After selecting five based on looks alone, I put them to the test. First, I did a little homework. Just how does a breadbox work, anyway? Bread, I learned, has to breathe for its crust to stay crisp, and that is why it suffocates in a plastic bag or in the refrigerator. But left in a paper bag on the counter, it will dry out in a day or so.
A breadbox — basically a foot-square container with an opening that’s not airtight — creates a controlled environment somewhere between those extremes. The moisture from the bread raises the humidity in the box, but air circulation keeps it from getting as moist as in a sealed plastic bag.
Harold McGee, the author of ”On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen” (Scribner, 1984), explained that the more bread in the box, the higher the humidity, and hence, the less crisp the crust. A box with just a little bread will have lower humidity, and maintain crispness better.
”You have to make a choice with bread,” he said. ”Some like it chewy, some like it crisp.”
With all of that in mind, I set out to test five models: the oval Gnam by Alessi, the Bread Bin by Eva Solo, the 50’s-style box by Michael Graves for Alessi, a reproduction cannister-style box from Martha Stewart and a double-decker plastic model from Lillian Vernon. I filled the breadboxes on a Sunday and, until the following Wednesday, opened them every evening to test for crispness and moistness. Here is what I learned.
Lesson No. 1: Breadboxes are big. Very big.
I never realized how much equipment I had until I needed more than a foot of counter space for each breadbox. I filled each one with an assortment of baked goods: chunks of fresh country loaves, crusty rolls, half a baguette. I kept some in paper bags, and left others unwrapped.
Lesson No. 2: Breadboxes are not designed for baguettes. None of the boxes were long enough to store a whole baguette. (Of course, people who really care about bread will tell you baguettes should be eaten the day they are baked.)
Lesson No. 3: Most breadboxes are not designed to hold tall breads, either. Be prepared to cut a big boule in half.
- WINDOW BOX DESIGN: A stylish and elegant roll-top bread box with a front window that gives a convenient...
- ROLL UP LID DESIGN: This door can be opened and closed smoothly, providing easy access to store bread and...
- GREAT STORAGE CAPACITY: Product dimension measures 17.58*7.25*10.75 inches. Up to two loaves of bread can...
- AIR CIRCULATION FUNCTION: Two rows of small holes at the back are specially designed to allow air...
- IDEAL GIFT: Stylish appearance with modern bright black design fits with any kitchen décor, a truly...