While bread lovers know there are few better things in the world than freshly baked bread, there’s also little more disappointing than old, stale bread. Signs of stale bread include crust that appears leathery, and the normally soft part of the bread may begin to harden. Several factors play a role in premature staling. But fortunately, implementing a few simple tips can help keep your bread fresh for a longer period.

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Check the best before date. Don’t purchase bread without checking the date on the package. Buying bread that’s past the best before date is likely to get stale quicker than bread with a later date.

Keep bread in it’s package. Removing bread from it’s original package to place in a bread container can speed the staling processing. Always return bread to the original packaging and use a twist tie to close the package and keep the bread fresh.

Store the bread outside the refrigerator. The cold temperature inside a refrigerator can trigger staling as it can cause bread to lose it’s moisture. Keep bread fresh longer by storing the package at room temperature.

Keep the package in the freezer. If you’re buying bread in bulk, store extra packages in the freezer for up to three months to prevent staling and to retain freshness.

Reheat bread in an oven. Quickly reverse the effects of staling by placing bread in the oven for five to 10 minutes at 450 degrees F. Use aluminum foil when reheating, and only reheat if you plan on eating the bread immediately. Freshness after reheating is temporary, and the bread will continue to get stale.