HOW TO MAKE A HOMEMADE BREAD BAG
How do you store homemade bread? What? You don’t make homemade bread you say? Guess what? I don’t either. But my roommate got me a mini bread maker for my birthday this year, so I guess I will start. But doesn’t everyone occasionally get one of those artisan loaves from the grocery store? A small loaf of Italian bread maybe? A small bag of fresh French crusty rolls? Not those Hawaiian rolls, I’m talking the ones with real crust on them. Bread you have to use that handy dandy serrated knife you have just sitting in your drawer for.
Maybe you made some of my Spaghetti Sauce (or you got creative and tweaked it, good for you!), or you made my Beef over Noodles, or even my Pot Roast. My, aren’t we getting to be a little Suzy Homemaker! So you went to the store and got a loaf of crusty bread to go with it, or some fabulous rolls.
But, you didn’t eat them all during dinner. So you put them in a quart sized plastic bag. Maybe you didn’t have anything over the next couple of days that would go with the leftover bread. Or maybe you stashed it somewhere, and forgot about it. And within a day or two, they got stale, or even worse, moldy. So you wasted some of your hard earned money and some wonderfully tasty bread, because you didn’t eat it fast enough.
What is a DIY home goddess to do? Never buy that wonderful homemade bread again? Or if she has one of those homemade bread makers, not use it, and let it gather dust? Heavens no! She takes a few items and makes a bread bag or two.
Too Many Decisions!
Why should you make a homemade bread bag, when you can:
• Use plastic bags from the store? It will get mushy in a plastic bag, even if you use plastic wrap. You have to be extra careful to get as much air out as possible. Which can be a pain in the you know what! If you have any hint of moisture, the plastic will immediately start the molding process! FYI, putting the bread on top of the refrigerator (like I used to) will cause moisture, caused by the heat of the motor.
• If you leave it sitting out on the counter, naked per se, it will start to dry out and get hard rather quickly. If you do this, only overnight is best, and leave the cut end on the counter, to ‘cover’ the open end.
• In the refrigerator it will start to dry out because of the low temperature. This is called retrogradation, or crystallization of the starch molecules. This can’t be avoided, because bread is starch!
• Paper bags are not too bad, but they don’t seal really well. And they will get hard and crusty over a short amount of time.
• Bread boxes are great, if you have room. They keep bread stored out of sight. The moisture is released from the bread, and they have tiny holes which will release the moisture, not letting it settle back on the bread. Just don’t overfill it, or the moisture level will stay high, not releasing enough to keep it crusty. King Arthur ] sells some, as do stores selling kitchenware. The jury is out on what material is best; wood, ceramic or metal. I personally got a metal one from King Arthur for Christmas, to go with the bread maker.
Bread bags are the way to go for storing your fresh bread if you don’t have a bread box. It will breathe, letting the moisture escape. They are smaller than a bread box (sorry for the cliche!). It can be left on the counter, so you won’t forget about that wonderful bread. They are good for the environment, because they are reusable. And since you make them, you can search around, and color-coordinate them with your kitchen! How DIY home goddess is that!
Let’s get to the nitty gritty here. These are a snap to make, and I’m going to show you how to make one in just under 20 minutes, with just a few items.
Homemade Bread Bag:
What you will need:
• A piece of linen cloth about 22”x22”, which is the size of a dinner napkin (no other cloth will do IMHO, but you can use cotton if you want). You can buy these napkins new for up to $10 for ones from Italy, check your fabric shops for a yard of material, or scour flea markets or second hand stores for remnants.
• Thermoweb Heat’n Bond Iron On Adhesive
• A 30” piece of twine, thin rope, or a spool of yarn (which is what I did to make a braid)
• A large safety pin, or even a large paper clip if that is all you have
• An iron and an ironing board
- Iron the material to get out all the creases. DO NOT USE THE STEAM FEATURE!
- Lay out the material and cut a piece of the bond 1/2 the width of one side (11”). Lay it along the edge.
- Cut another piece of bond about 18” or so and put perpendicular along the adjoining edge. Leave the remaining part open to make the drawstring area.
- Fold the free side of the material over and line up so they are as even as possible.
- Following the instructions on the Thermoweb Heat’n Bond package, iron the material together.
- Let it cool before moving on. If you move on, the webbing won’t harden, the material won’t stick together, and you will have to start all over.
- Cut two pieces of the bond the length of the short side.
- Fold the open end of the material over, leaving an opening for the rope to go through.
- Place 1 piece of bond at the edge of the material and follow the instructions to seal. (Make sure you have a hole at the edge, or you won’t be able to put your rope through!)
- Flip the material over and repeat.
- Let it cool. I tried to rush it the first time, and the material pulled right up.
- Put a safety pin through your rope.
- Push the safety pin in the hole, and start maneuvering the pin through the area. You will feel the knot move, and the rope will slide through.
- Once you have the safety pin through the other hole, remove it.
- Turn the bag right side out, or not, it’s up to you. Personally, I didn’t turn it right side out, it gave me more room.
Instructions for the Homemade Drawstring:
a. If you are choosing to do a yarn braid, cut three strands of yard 4 times the length of the material (about 88” or so).
b. Fold each strand in half.
c. Knot the 3 strands together and place a heavy item to keep it in place.
d. Braid it as tight or as loose as you choose. You did this as a kid with yarn, right?
e. When you get near the end, knot the 3 strands together again.
f. Voila, a homemade drawstring rope for your bread bag!
And VOILA, you have a bread bag! Easy peasy!
You can wash these little darlings on a gentle cycle, and dry them on a low setting (I’d take the rope out before you wash it).
If you want to get material instead of napkins, you can make them any size you want, to suit your specific bread needs. Just mess around with whatever sizes you want.
You can also store bread in this handy bread bag and then in a bread box as well.