I suspect she pulls out of the freezer daily. They're in the freezer a week, max, and have come fresh from bakery. Alt might be something airtight. If nothing at home, could go for a large, airtight SS bowl or glass jar. I have some <gasp> nylon bags with zippers I got from an Etsy vender. Bread's OK for coupla days, then starts getting hard... You can also do a search on Etsy for "bread bags".
Thanks for the input. I've appreciated your input for others' posts as well. My bread is freshly baked at home and was not in the freezer for more than a week, week and a half at most and it was pretty hard. For counter storage I thought I could do the cloth thing too with a towel, which didn't work either. I was being stubborn as I really wanted the cloth thing to work. I looked on Etsy and saw one cotton one and one linen one that I liked but wasn't sure if they'd work considering my experience. My husband has read elsewhere that linen is ideal. So I just posted to see what others have used. Oh, and I've been making pizza dough par baked with out the toppings and have been using my last bit of plastic wrap to store it in the freezer. Any ideas on what to do after I run out? Any and all input is much appreciated.
On the glass jar/ss bowl idea, I saw a tall, wide mouthed glass jar at Target today. I had considered it for bread storage but it looked like it would only fit one and a half loaves comfortably. I guess I could make kaiser roll shaped bread and it would work.
What did you do exactly?
I bake and freeze my bread (baguettes) and the trick is to eat it as soon as it is defrosted. Otherwise it hardens. I freeze my bread in small portion and get it our of the freezer about 1hr before eating.
Hope I didn't sound too glib about the fabric storage. I realize I was just repeating what Bea has said :-)) Fresh baked bread just doesn't hold up that well, and as you know exposure to air not a good idea; fabric alone (at room temperature) may be fatally flawed.
One "new" idea:
Beth at "My Plastic-Free Life" says she stores her bread in a cloth bag inside one of those popcorn tins [e.g., Popcorn Factory] people sometimes get for Christmas, etc. I think she got hers at a Goodwill type store. Some stores sell the smaller cookie tins. They might work, too; don't know. Pretty cheap, though.
*Don't know whether linen is better than cotton.
*Pizza crusts. Hmmm. Try the pillowcase method since the crust, I assume, would go straight into the oven to finish. If you make far in advance, I'm stumped. When we did a lot of pizzas, I talked a pizza shop into giving me a few boxes and I stored crusts in them. I think, though, there was plastic involved, so no help there. Could do individual pizza crusts and store in cookie tins. Don't know if would be airtight enough, but advantage here is if you're gonna heat, a little staleness/freezer burn not as obvious :-) Again, may be worth an experiment.
I, too, would love to hear from folks who've been doing this for a while!!!!
One way I've learned to revive bread that has hardened from sitting on the counter/in the freezer is by rinsing the loaf under water for a couple of seconds, then baking it at 375 degrees F for 10-15 min to re-crisp it. This works best with breads that have a hard shell, such as a baguette.
I also tried out the pillowcase method with results that were similar to Susan's. What worked out better for me was slicing the freshly baked bread and storing the slices in hermetically-sealed glass jars (I use the largest size from the Fido Bormioli Rocco brand) either in the fridge or freezer.
Has anyone tried using a bread box? I've been seeing an increasing number of them at cooking supply stores and places like Williams-Sonoma and the Container Store.
I've often wondered about this too. I tried several times but without plastic wraps or air tight container bread dries out. I sprinkled some water and microwaved to defrost and that remedied to some extent, but they turned chewy.
Is there something different with the Johnsons freezer? I noticed theirs is under the counter. Does it have special humidity control or something?
Also, fresh vegetables too. Bea stores them in mesh produce bags. In my refrigerator, they won't last but a couple of days if I don't put them in a plastic bag. I tried to wrap them in moistened kitchen towel too, but that makes delicate leaves mushy if moisture is too much, etc. So, what's the secret at the Johnsons?
We purchase individual rolls (par-baked) from Trader Joes and wrap each roll in foil (which we reuse) and store in the freezer. When we want to use them I microwave them for a minute to defrost and then bake at 350 until golden brown. The come out nice and crusty on the outside and perfect moist/chewy on the inside. There is the problem of the paper bag the rolls come in but if you can find a bakery that can par bake the bread I find it works a little better for freezing than regular bread. I haven't tried wrapping them in pillowcases to know if that works or not.
Also for chopped salad see this post about keeping it fresh in mason jars (with the help of a food sealer).
Sandra, I'm glad you brought up the bread box. I was wondering why no one was using one, including Bea. I bought one when I started baking my own bread. Breadboxes work great! I don't know how it works so well, it's not an airtight seal or anything. My breadbox keeps bread perfectly for several days, could even be a week, although my bread ends up being devoured long before then. ;) My only problem is ants. Everything else in my pantry is in an airtight container so the ants don't even know that it's there, but they did discover the breadbox.
I use cotton bags that I sew, some have a string to close them (ie. lettuce), some have an opening (ie. broccoli), I sew what I needed. It is also a trial and error process, I guess it depends on the vegetable, if it is already wet from the store, organic, your fridge etc... I saw the video with Bea pulling her refrigerated veggies drawer and this does not work - for more than a day or two - in my fridge either. A lettuce, sprinkled with water, placed in a cotton bag directly at the store, last 3-4 days in the bottom drawer of my fridge. Good luck with experimenting! :)
I was over at a friend's house last week, and they used an ordinary drinking straw to suck air out of containers prior to freezing. Granted, they were freezing produce in plastic bags, but I wondered if it could be used for jars, since I am unlikely to invest in a food sealer. I haven't had a chance to try it yet (no straws), but I wanted to post the idea before I forgot about it...
I know you're speaking about improvising a vacuum sealer, but, FWIW, FoodSaver HAD a handheld version which works great with canning lids (the new FreshSaver is a much weaker version). You can also improvise a vacuum seal by sticking the whole container inside a larger sealable canister/jar. Could explain better if anyone cares.
I'm not sure there's ever really been a comparison of preservation with a vacuum vs just an airtight seal.
Another possibility -
I recently got two "Insulated Zip It Bags" from a vender on Etsy, they're nylon with wool insulation. I wasn't sure how well they would work long term as plain nylon bags didn't work so well, but we recently had some baguettes in the deep freeze for over a week and no one has complained about freshness. Mine are gallon sized, and only hold 2-3 pieces; also, clearly more expensive than plastic (unless you can sew them yourself**).
Typically, Etsy venders are flexible 'bout customizing, so might be able to request bigger, custom shape [pizza crust??], etc:
**If I could sew decently, this would be on my list to try. I have old, wool Army blankets that'd be perfect insulators, and I'd probably add a flap just to the inside -or outside- of the zipper to further keep out air, kind of like what the fancy snow/rain jackets have.
For me, the best way to store leafs and vegetables is in glass or metal "tupperware". For leafs, after I wash and dry them, I put them on a dish towel (to absorb any moist left) and into the metal box with plastic lid. In the vegetable drawer they last for a weak or so. Never even tried to put them on bags of any kind. :)
I manage to stay way from plastic rap easily, but baking parchment and foil is very hard to substitute when a recipe calls for linning the baking pans. Any thoughts on that? :(
"If You Care" makes compostable baking supplies; Also, there are lots of silicone baking mats out there, too, including a circular one, which seem to work. I've tried the silicone cake pans, etc. with marginal success. Silicone cupcake liners work well, though. There has been discussion regarding using silicone for baking, but most commercial parchment paper now is coated in silicone!
Baking parchment has also been difficult for me to give up, so I have reduced its use where I can. I bake cookies directly on the baking sheet, and have found a way to blind-bake pie/quiche crust without the pie weights and parchment. A springform pan has worked best for making cakes without lining the pan. I've noticed that the quality of the baking sheet/pan makes a big difference in the amount of "stickiness" you get when baking without a liner.
We use silicone mats for cookie sheets for most baking, broiling, etc.
I've never used anything for baking cakes or pies beyond some butter or coconut oil (or a long, long time ago shortening) to grease the pan. My cake pans and pie pans are good quality.
Our cookie sheets run the gamut of quality, but the challenge I have with cookie sheets is getting them clean. They are too big to handwash effectively in our two-part sink. They just don't fit in any direction. They do fit in the dishwasher, but the dishwasher doesn't clean this material very well. That is more why we use the silicone mats than sticking issues. I can wipe them down on the stove top - light cleaning in other words - no other spot to do a better cleaning.
We have one silicone cupcake/muffin pan (6) and two very cheap muffin/cupcake pans (6 each). None of them are ideal for actual baking. I love the silicone one for freezing bone broth and other liquids, though! Frozen stuff pops right out and it cleans well in the dishwasher. The aluminum muffins pans get paper liners in them until I run out. Then, they will be given away and I'll spend the money are good quality ones that I won't need paper liners for.
We also have one pull-apart cake pan that is made of silicone in the shape of a bouquet of flowers. I have yet to figure out how to do this without half the "cakes" being destroyed. (We keep the cake pieces in the freezer for trifle, but I have to build in extra time and cake batter any time I do this for a party.)
I have not attempted bread beyond quick breads. Those freezer well in glass containers. We don't buy or eat bread all that often.
I had a bread box ten years back. It didn't work all that well. Bread/bagels/whatever was always going moldy. My husband's mother has an OLD bread box and hers is magical. They store all their bread items in the bread box (two levels) and it lasts and tastes great!
Re: silicone mats, I have a lightweight cheap one from Target (from the dollar bin), and I find it magically useful. I roll garlic inside it to remove the paper (just like one of those garlic things they sell especially for the purpose), chop on it, use it in my toaster oven, line baking trays, and it could also be used in lieu of plastic wrap. My only regret is not having bought more of them -- I can't find them at Target anymore.