Extend the life of your loaf with these tips.

Whether it’s made from scratch or grabbed straight off a supermarket shelf, most types of bread freeze very well. Sometimes, I’ll pick up an extra loaf or two at the grocery store (especially if there’s a BOGO involved) to store in the freezer. If the bread is sliced or in roll form, you can pull out slices as needed for your morning toast or sandwiches. You can also freeze whole loaves of yeasted and quick bread if you prefer.

When freezing bread, the goal is to protect the loaf from freezer burn. Commercially-made bread from the store is often wrapped in plastic inside its plastic bag. If this is the case, you can put the bread right in the freezer as-is. If your loaf is homemade or doesn’t have any additional wrapping other than the bag it came in, you’ll want to create another barrier between the bread and the freezer. Decide whether you want to slice the loaf or leave it whole, then wrap the loaf tightly in plastic wrap, and place it inside a ziplock freezer bag.

To thaw a whole frozen loaf, leave the bread in its bag and let it come to room temperature on the kitchen counter. Once it has thawed, you can enjoy it as-is, or warm the bread up in a low (300˚F) oven for fresh-baked aroma and flavor. To thaw slices, remove them from the bag and let them come to room temperature on the kitchen counter, or place them directly in the toaster.

One of my other favorite ways to freeze bakery-style loaves of bread is to make croutons. Slice the bread into cubes, then place the cubes in a ziplock freezer bag and press out as much air and possible before placing the bag in the freezer. When you need croutons, heat butter or oil (or half oil and half butter) in a skillet over medium heat. Add the frozen bread cubes and toast in the pan until golden brown and warmed through.