To me nothing taste better than fresh baked bread that has a nice crunchy crust to it. But storing such a bread without it loosing it's taste and texture has always been a challenge.
Whenever I am in Paris, there are a couple of must stop at and stock up places, such as Poilane Boulangerie. This is were I first saw this lovely bread box, designed by the famous Parisian bread maker Lionel Poilâne. Linen helps in preserving the bread's freshness and this box also doubles as a cutting board, which makes it even more attractive.
I don't like storing artisanal bread in plastic bags, because the moisture gets drawn from the crumb into the crust, making the bread crust soft.
Panayiotis Mastroyiannis Opera bread box is ultra chic, but any bread box that provides a dark and dry environment will suffice, since sunlight causes loaves to dry out and humidity induces mold.
Bamboo Bread Bags, made of naturally anti-microbial bamboo fabric are said to have an antic-bacterial agent called bamboo ‘kun’ – a protein found in the bamboo shoot which slows down the going bad of bread. Environmentally friendly, these can be washed in the washing machine and used repeatedly. I don't have one of these and would love to find out if anyone has tried one.
The freezer is best for long-term storage (from 3-6 months), just make sure to use freezer-proof bags. The key is to remove as much air as possible from the bag to prevent freezer burn. Once a loaf is thawed, just heat it for 3 to 5 minutes (depending on size) in a hot oven to crisp up the crust.