Yes you can. In fact, it is the best way to store sourdough bread if you are not planning to eat all of it in a few days.
Sourdough bread, whether bought from the store or baked at home, lasts 4-5 days (when stored properly). This is longer than other home-baked types of bread which last about 2-3 days.
Sourdough bread lasts longer because it has higher acidity which discourages bacterial activity.
But after 4-5 days, your bread will go stale and could even get mouldy after some time.
So if you have leftover bread that you want to keep for later, freezing is a great way to keep it fresh. You can thaw it later in a microwave or oven and it will taste as good as freshly baked bread.
How to Freeze Sourdough Bread
- You can either freeze the bread whole or in slices. Slicing it is better in most cases. It allows you to store the bread in separate bags so that you only thaw what you need. It also makes it easier and faster to thaw the bread for a quick snack.
- Wrap the bread tightly in tin foil or a freezer-safe bag before putting it in the freezer. Try to remove as much air as you can from inside the bag. If you have a vacuum sealer, use it. It removes all air, ensuring the bread lasts longer and retains its quality and taste for months.
- Remember to label the bag with a name and date especially if you are planning to store it for months. Otherwise, it will end up as a mystery package.
- When properly wrapped, sourdough bread can be frozen indefinitely. It retains its best quality within 3 months but is still safe to eat for months afterwards. Again, remember to label it and indicate the date you put it in the freezer.
How to Thaw Frozen Sourdough Bread
Only though the amount of sourdough bread you need.
This is because you cannot refreeze thawed bread. It will recrystallize and go stale. That’s why I recommended slicing the bread and storing it in separate bags.
There are four ways to thaw frozen sourdough bread.
The easiest is to just leave it resting at room temperature. If it is just a few slices, they’ll be ready to eat in less than half an hour. If it is a full loaf, it will require 4-5 hours.
You can also thaw the bread in an oven preheated to 170oC. If it is a full loaf, it will take 30-50 minutes depending on size. Slices need about 10 minutes.
A quicker option is the microwave. A couple or so slices will be ready in less than a minute while a bigger loaf needs 3-5 minutes.
Sourdough bread slices can also be thawed in a toaster.
Storing Sourdough Bread in Room Temperature
If you plan to eat all the bread in 4-5 days, there is no need to freeze it. Just wrap it in a plastic bag or cotton bread bag and put it in a cool dry place away from sunlight and excess humidity.
The bag will prevent the bread from drying out.
Alternatively, store it in a bread bin. The bin will keep it soft and fresh while preventing too much moisture from getting in which could make the bread go stale quicker.
If you store it in a bread bin, there’s no need to wrap it in anything. The bin provides an optimal environment all on its own.
Can I Refrigerate Sourdough Bread?
Not unless you want the bread to dry out and get stale in 2 days.
The fridge is the last place you should store sourdough bread. The cold environment sucks moisture out of the bread and quickens recrystallization – the process which makes bread go stale.
Sourdough bread, and any other kind of bread for that matter, goes bad fastest in the fridge. You are better off leaving it in a plastic bag on the counter or in the cupboard.
What to do With Stale Sourdough Bread
Stale sourdough bread can be made fresh again by re-baking. Spray it with a bit of water and bake it for 30-40 minutes in an oven preheated to 170oC.
If the bread is sliced, wrap it in foil before baking.
To give the bread a nice fresh flavour and soft texture, apply garlic butter (or any other kind of flavoured butter).
However, if the bread has even a little bit of mould, throw it out. It is not safe to eat.