meatn3 has a household of one, and finds it difficult to use a whole loaf of bread while it’s still fresh. The freezer is one solution, but sometimes there’s just not enough room. Plus, freezing can affect the properties of the bread.
But meatn3 may have stumbled upon a solution. “I purchased an artisan loaf (olive and rosemary, no preservatives) recently and had a portion with my soup,” meatn3 explains. “I was in a hurry to clean up the kitchen and stuck the rest of the loaf in a [lidded] Romertopf casserole [dish]… Out of sight, out of mind…several days later I remembered the bread. Once I opened the clay pot I found the bread was still fresh as can be!”
meatn3’s handy discovery—that a covered clay pot keeps bread fresh for days—might be a reimagination of a gadget that few of us have in our kitchens anymore, but that would have been a staple for many of our grandparents: the breadbox!
“The principle is the same,” GH1618 says. “A breadbox is an enclosed space, but is not airtight. It keeps the bread from drying out too quickly, while not accelerating the development of mold. It is a matter of moderating the humidity. A breadbox is generally lined with wood, not merely a metal box. The terracotta might have a similar effect.”
Not all breadboxes were lined with wood, though, and many served other practical purposes, such as keeping the bugs out, especially in warmer climates. “Same principle as a pie safe,” meatn3 observes.