Pawling Bread Co

The Best Way to Keep Bread Fresh

by Anne Maxfield on November 27, 2017

Accidental Locavore Pawling Bread Company Country Loaf SlicedOne of the problems (yeah, we should all have such problems) with all the great bread I’ve been getting, is keeping it in peak condition.

Since there are only two of us preserving it becomes a challenge.

Usually, my go-to is to slice it all up and put it in the freezer, so I can grab as many or as few slices as I need. That works fine as long as there is room in the freezer and you remember to pull it out in time.

A while ago, I bought the Bee’s Wrap for baguettes and it’s worked pretty well on a number of different breads.

More recently, I found out that Freshpaper a product to keep veggies fresh that I’ve liked from the beginning, was coming out with a Freshpaper for bread, so I ordered some. It’s a small sheet that’s permeated with organic spices that you toss in your produce drawer and it keeps produce fresh longer. It’s always seemed to work with produce (would probably work better if I changed them more often), so I wanted to try it with bread.

Accidental Locavore Bread Test GearThe whole idea for a comparison came from a conversation with Cynthia of Pawling Bread Company. I had shown her the Freshpaper for bread and we started talking about that versus Bee’s Wrap. Since I had both, it was time for a showdown.

The Test:

I took a regular Ziploc bag, a Ziploc with the Freshpaper and the Bee’s Wrap and put 2 slices of Cynthia’s previously frozen country bread in each, left them on the dining room table and waited.

The first to go was the Bee’s Wrap. While the bread remained soft, it started to show the slightest hint of mold after day 5.

Next to go, again with just the slightest hint of mold, was the regular Ziploc, on day 6.

The winner was the Ziploc with the sheet of Freshpaper in it, which went a week without the bread spoiling and only had the tiniest spot of mold on it.

IMHO, it was essentially a tie. Would I spend the money on either the Freshpaper or Bee’s Wrap after doing the test? No.

Would it be different in the summer (more humidity) or with different bread or baked goods? Maybe.

After I wrote this, Cynthia was wondering if the freshness of the bread had anything to do with how long it lasted, since the first loaf I tested had been frozen.

She kindly offered up a fresh loaf to taste and I accepted the challenge.

Same setup.

Accidental Locavore Bread Test This time the results were a little different.

All three were still soft after 5 days. However, the two in the Ziplocs were moldy after 5 days. The one in the Bee’s Wrap was still fine.

The next morning, I went to toast the slices in the Bee’s Wrap and those slices had started to show some mold. It wasn’t as bad as the ones in the Ziplocs but it was much more widespread than the first batch.

Now, I’m even more convinced that for this kind of bread, any kind of plastic bag would work fine.

It was interesting that the slices from the freshly baked bread didn’t last as long as the previously frozen ones. Maybe it was moisture from the bread or maybe freezing it killed off the mold spores.

What do you think? What’s your favorite way to keep bread fresh?

Accidental Update: Bought a loaf of raisin bread from Cynthia, sliced it and put it in a Ziploc. Lasted over a week. Could have been that it never got above freezing the whole week. Who knows?

 

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Pawling Bread Company

by Anne Maxfield on November 13, 2017

Pawling Bread Co LoavesBecoming a bread baker takes a particular kind of craziness.

Especially when you’ve never baked a loaf of bread before.

For Cynthia Kinahan of Pawling Bread Company, it seemed like a natural transition from a pottery course she was taking because “a lot of the moves and principles are quite similar”.

If this was a movie, the first loaf would have been perfect, but this is real life and the first loaf was a disaster.

As were many more.

She decided that she wasn’t going to stop until she had a decent loaf of bread and that became her goal.

Every day she would rush home from work, pull out her recipe and start making bread. Still no great loaves.

The real breakthrough came when she decided to toss the recipe and go by feel. “I think that was the first time I really connected with the craft of making bread”.

Although the first loaves were yeast based, as Cynthia gained confidence, she wanted to start making breads with a sourdough starter.

Accidental Locavore Pawling Bakery Company Spelt BreadHer passion for baking shows in the breads. To start with, they’re beautiful (it’s where her background as a graphic designer comes through). A cruise through her Facebook page on an empty stomach is pure torture (and if you have any idea how good the breads are, that just makes it worse).

Cynthia has given me the spelt bread and the country loaf to taste and both were terrific! As I’m lucky enough to be able to access more artisanal breads, my preference seems to be for the more complex breads, in this case the spelt.

Pawling Bread Co Cherry Cranberry BreadShe’s got an extensive variety of breads ranging from classics like her popular country bread, to ones like Earl Grey Apricot (one I’m really looking forward to trying the next time it comes on the menu—hint, hint), Olive Lemon Rosemary and for the holidays a cherry, cranberry walnut loaf.

If you’re lazy, or just hate to get out of bed on a Saturday morning, McKinney & Doyle’s bakery in Pawling carries her Sundried Tomato bread every Friday and Saturday. I’m not sure if they’ll save you a loaf, but it’s probably worth a call.

Accidental Locavore Spelt Bread ToastAnd, yes, the bread is so good that I do think of dragging myself out of bed and driving 35 minutes to Pawling on a Saturday morning. They’re in a pop-up shop at 10 East Main Street (that will someday be their new home) from 9:30-12. This Saturday is the last pop-up before Thanksgiving so be forewarned!

Thanks to Cynthia for the two loaves, I’m looking forward to many more! The top photo and the cranberry bread photos are theirs.

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