Make no doubt about it: the best way to keep a baguette fresh is to eat it a couple of hours or so after buying it. At least this is what the French, who invented baguette bread in the first place, tend to do. The typical Frenchman or woman will pick up a crispy baguette from the local bakery on their way back home from work—and have it for dinner.
Unless you live in France, you probably don’t have the luxury of living near a French bakery (also called boulangerie), or the time to make a detour to the grocery store to pick up freshly-baked baguette bread every evening.
Freshly-baked baguettes are crunchy on the outside and airy on the inside.
How can you keep a baguette that way if you can’t eat it in a few hours after buying it?
To keep a baguette fresh for up to 2 days after baking, let it cool down completely and put it in a linen bread bag (sac à baguette). Linen lets enough oxygen through to keep the baguette crunchy on the outside and the inside airy and moist.
If your experience is different than mine, please share it in the comments below, but I’ve tried putting baguettes in paper and plastic bags—and neither worked. The baguettes wrapped in paper would always come out rock-hard, and the ones in plastic would turn soggy and soft.
There’s just something about linen, which the French have been using as a material for bread bags for centuries, that simply works. It allows the bread to “breathe,” so that it doesn’t get hard on the outside, rubbery on the inside, or moldy.
A baguette stored in a linen bag and hung somewhere in your kitchen will stay fresh for as long as 2-3 days after baking.
The longer you keep a baguette for, the easier it will be to tell that it wasn’t necessarily made the same day. Since baguettes don’t age as well as wine does, try to eat them shortly after baking.
If you’re thinking of buying a baguette bag, here’s my pick.
Freeze Baguette Bread for Long-Term Storage
I have a friend who really likes freshly-baked baguette bread, but, since he and his family live in a remote place, isn’t keen on shopping for it every few days.
So he stocks up on a dozen baguettes whenever he visits the supermarket—and freezes them for longer-term storage in his chest freezer.
Here’s how his baguette-storage technique works.
You can freeze a freshly-baked baguette for long-term storage up to 3-4 months. Let the baguette cool completely, place it in an airtight freezer bag—squeezing the air out of the bag and zipping it closed—and put it in your freezer.
If you don’t have a ziplock freezer bag that’s big enough for a long baguette, simply slice the baguette crosswise into ½ or ⅓ pieces and place them in the bag.
Some bloggers will advise you to wrap the baguette in aluminum foil. The problem with this technique is that the foil won’t isolate the bread well enough from the cold air circulating in the freezer. As a result, it will catch on an unappetizing odor from the rest of the items in it.
Can’t I Just Buy Bake-at-Home Baguettes?
Yes, you can. And you should consider it as one of your best options.
Bake-at-home baguettes, also known as “part-baked” or “parbaked” bread, is an excellent option if you like to enjoy the occasional Jambon-Beurre sandwich in your home, without having to shop for baguette bread from the local bakery or grocery store.
“Parbaking” is a technique in which a loaf of bread is semi-baked for about 80% of the normal baking time, then quickly cooled and frozen for long-term storage.
Most supermarkets carry parbaked baguettes. Simply pick one up from the frozen baked goods aisle and finish baking it for 8-10 minutes in your home oven preheated to 375°F (190°C).
My favorites are Costco’s Menissez Baguettes (best one; it’s imported from France), Walmart’s Marketside Bake at Home French Baguette, and Kroger’s Just Bake It French Bread.
To recap, here’s how long a freshly-baked baguette will stay good for if you place it in a linen bag or freeze it for long-term storage:
|Linen Baguette Bag||Freezer|
|Baguette shelf life||2-3 days after baking||3-4 months after freezing|
|Temperature||Room temperature||0°F (-18°C)|
Simply said, store fresh baguettes in a linen bag if you plan to eat them in 2-3 days or freeze them in ziplock bags for up to 3-4 months, and you can say “goodbye” to hard, soggy, or moldy bread.
Or just buy bake-at-home baguettes. They’re really convenient and, as long as you bake them for 8-10 minutes in a preheated oven at 375°F (190°C), will come out smelling and tasting as if you bought them from a French bakery.
What’s your technique for keeping baguettes fresh? If you’d like to share your experience with any of my tips in the post or your best advice to other readers, I invite you to leave a comment below.