There is no clear-cut rule as to where you should store bread and buns, but in order to keep it fresh longer, it should be kept in a somewhat air-tight and dry container or area, preferably not in the warmest part of your kitchen.
Hot bread should not be put in a sealed container until it cools because the steam will cause dampness, which in turn can cause mold to grow more quickly. A little air is not a concern - hence why bread boxes usually have air holes - but too much air will cause bread to dry out.
There are several options for storing breads, and what you choose will more than likely depend more on storing convenience rather than overall style. That said, a stylish kitchen does start with getting rid of the clutter, so find a bread storage option that works for you while keeping your kitchen area looking and feeling free of encumbrances. I'll also provide a reason or two, as to why places so many think are ideal for bread and buns are not really such a great idea.
Storing Bread on the Counter
I agree that keeping bagged bread right on the counter or table is super convenient, but it can make the whole kitchen look messy and can also cause counter congestion. When your counter is cluttered with anything from decor items to everyday food, it doesn't exactly inspire cooking or baking.
In fact, it can stifle creativity because it takes too long to clear the mess before you can create a new and more rewarding one. That being said, when it comes to bread boxes, most are counter units, though occasionally I see an undercabinet model on the market. When storing on the counter is a must, pick a spot away from your main workspace.
Contrary to public opinion, storing bread on top of the refrigerator is not recommended either. Refrigerator tops are usually very warm. This could either cause your bread to dry out more rapidly or cause condensation in the bag, which will start the decaying process. The same holds true with portable dishwasher tops where steam is often present. Use this type of storage only for the short-term or as an absolute last resort.
Storing Bread in a Cabinet
Many store bread/buns on the lower shelf of an upper kitchen cabinet, close to where breakfast or lunch foods are prepared. While this was a good storage option, it took cabinet space that could be used for glassware. It also looked messy when the cabinet door was opened.
If you have ample upper cabinet space, this may be a good option for you, but keep it tidy and review contents regularly. Note that even though bread bags are secured, crumbs always tend to gather in those areas. Clean routinely to reduce the risk of attracting pests to this shelf.
Storing Bread in a Drawer
Many kitchen cupboard designs allow for a deep bread drawer with an easy-to-clean inner liner. This type of drawer, when closed, has a 'lid' that seals the unit. This is the best storage option, and when planning a kitchen make-over, choose a middle drawer in the bank of drawers, which would be more convenient, than a bottom one. It should also be close to your main counter workstation.
If new cabinets are not on the agenda and you have a deep drawer available, you could use a plastic container or bin that easily slides into it, or you can store bread bags right in the drawer. When using bread drawers, review contents regularly. There's a tendency to forget what's in there, since some items may remain unnoticed in the bottom of the drawer.
Storing Bread in a Bread Box
Bread boxes are still as popular as they were decades ago. In fact, vintage kitchenware like bread boxes is often still quite usable and collectible. There are more choices today when it comes to style, size, and finish. Bread boxes can look very stylish and provide a great kitchen accent. Do choose one sized for your regular baked goods; many models are quite small. Also, find a good spot for the bread box, close to your working area.
There are under-cabinet models which free up counter space while providing storage and convenient access. Unfortunately, under-cabinet models can be hard to find, as choice is very limited. It may be possible to adapt a regular bread box and attach it under your upper cabinet.
Be sure to inspect how the lid opens - retractable styles may not work, and the top of the bread box should be flat. The box should also have enough stability to make it durable as an improvised under-cabinet unit.
When choosing a bread box, consider where you'll place it and how much space it will need. Check the construction for durability; the door will get a lot of traffic. The design will also dictate whether you'll be able to store anything on top of the bread box.
Storing Bread in an Appliance Garage
While this may be a departure from what this cabinet accessory is designed for, I think it's a great place to store bread and I've used a corner appliance garage for just this very purpose. There was even extra space for the toaster to slide in when cool and not in use, keeping that type of clutter hidden from view.
There are straight designs or corner models available to chose from, given your particular kitchen counter space. Whether you're storing bagged or homemade bread, there would be ample space in an appliance garage for it, along with a breadboard and a bread knife. Wood or wood composite appliance garages are available where kitchen cabinets are sold.
Choose a finish that will complement your cabinets, or order an unfinished model and finish it to suit your kitchen. Confirm that measurements will adapt well to your chosen space before ordering. Appliance garages will usually cost around $100 or a little higher. Corner models utilize counter space that is often wasted, yet provides convenient ample storage.
Expandable Bread Boxes
Clear acrylic expandable bread boxes provide great storage, especially for home-baked bread. The unit expands as required, but is limited to one bread or a few buns. This is an excellent choice to keep your homemade bread loaf fresh. However, you will have to keep this acrylic bread box on your counter, in an appliance garage, or on a cabinet shelf.
Other Bread Storage Options
Bread and buns could be stored in a small clear bin with a tight lid, on a side shelf, on a microwave cart or inside a top or bottom cabinet. You could easily add air holes if you wish. In some climates, a safe and pest-free storage is often inside the refrigerator. Although bread will last longer when refrigerated, it tends to lose its soft texture quickly, plug hog some much needed cooling space.
Freezer Storage Tips
Keep only enough bread in non-refrigerated storage for 2-3 days use and store the rest of your bread supply in the freezer. Bread and buns do freeze well but tend to get freezer burn and develop frost inside the bags, much more quickly than other frozen foods. For this reason, freezing a large stock of breads and buns is not recommended. Keep your supply current and use the oldest frozen breads and buns first.
If freezing is a must, storing it in a chest freezer is recommended. This type of freezer is usually manual defrost with fewer temperature fluctuations than your refrigerator frozen food compartment or upright (freezer) models. Consider vacuum sealing bread or at the very least, double or triple bagging to keep air from the bag.