One of the many perks of sourdough bread is its long shelf life.

Thanks to the acidic environment in the dough, harmful microbes are greatly reduced, which means your bread won’t mold nearly as fast as the stuff from the grocery store.

Let’s look deeper at how long sourdough lasts, why it lasts so long, and the best storage methods.

storing sourdough bread on the counter

How Long Sourdough Lasts

Sourdough bread is so good at resisting mold that I find it goes stale before it ever starts growing mold. (I’ll explain why that is in the next section.)

I’ve actually never seen mold growing on any loaf of sourdough I’ve ever baked!

Personally, I can leave a fresh loaf of sourdough on my counter, stored in a Ziploc bag, for about 5-7 days. It’s rare that it lasts that long, though.

Others say their sourdough lasts 3-5 days, while others can get up to two-and-a-half weeks.

Inclusions = All Bets Are Off

If you have inclusions, especially sugary ones, all bets are off. A cinnamon sugar loaf is super susceptible to mold!

sourdough cinnamon sugar raisin loaf
A cinnamon raisin loaf like this one won’t last on the counter for very long before it starts molding.

I’d recommend storing bread with inclusions in the fridge or, preferably, slicing it and placing the individual slices in the freezer.

freezer storage of sourdough bread slices
How I store sourdough bread slices in my freezer

Humidity Levels

Also, where you live plays a big factor here.

Those who live in very humid environments, like Texas or Florida, may only get three days out of their room-temperature sourdough before it starts growing mold.

Those in low-humidity, colder environments can get above that two-week mark.

Related: How Long to Proof Sourdough in the Fridge (+ Tips)

Why Sourdough Lasts Longer

Sourdough bread lasts much longer than storebought bread despite having no added preservatives. The protection against spoilage and longer shelf life are due to the microorganisms in the sourdough starter.

“Acidification through sourdough fermentation was found to inhibit the endospore germination and growth of Bacillus spp. responsible for rope spoilage.”

Strategies to Extend Bread and GF Bread Shelf-Life: From Sourdough to Antimicrobial Active Packaging and Nanotechnology (2018)

Sourdough starter is a mixture of flour, water, and a collection of wild yeast and lactic acid bacteria. The end result is more acidic bread, which isn’t an ideal environment for harmful microbes that cause bread to spoil.

Don’t get me wrong – sourdough bread still goes bad. But you have more time to enjoy it than you might realize!

Why Sourdough Bread Is Less Likely to Go Stale

Sourdough bread lasts longer and is less likely to go stale. The decomposition of starch during lactic acid fermentation helps the bread taste fresh for longer.

No more stale bread!

You can read a lot more about the benefits of sourdough here: 27 Top Benefits of Sourdough Bread + Why It’s Good For You

How to Help Sourdough Last Longer

There are a few tips and tricks to store a loaf of sourdough bread so that it’ll last a bit longer. 

Note: Before you store sourdough bread, let your bread completely cool down. When it comes out of the oven, place the hot loaf on a cooling rack and let it rest for at least 5-6 hours. A hot loaf of bread in a plastic bag will cause wonky humidity levels and may even make your bread get soggy. No bueno!
sourdough on a cooling rack

1. Freeze individual slices.

The best way to help your sourdough bread last as long as humanly possible is to freeze it. And yes, sourdough bread freezes incredibly well!

I’ve found that slicing it up and freezing the individual slices (it can still stay in the same bag) is ideal. That way, you can pull out one slice at a time, pop it in the toaster, and you have a fresh-tasting slice of homemade bread.

Note: if you want, you can wrap the individual bread slices – or a whole loaf – in cling wrap before putting it in a freezer bag. That'll help prevent freezer burn if you don't plan to go through the bread within a few weeks.

2. Put your loaf in a heavy-duty freezer bag.

The way I personally store my fresh sourdough loaves is in a heavy-duty freezer bag on the kitchen counter.

storing sourdough bread in a bag on the counter

If you want your bread to stay at room temperature, I find this to be the best method.

Tip: many avid sourdough bakers also recommend putting your bread, cut side down, on a cutting board. You can leave it this way at room temperature as you go through it. If it starts drying out, which may happen after a day or two, put the loaf into a freezer bag.

Thanks to the freezer bag, your bread will keep its moisture.

A dried-out loaf is the main reason I don’t like other methods, like brown paper bags or a linen bread bag, but I’ll cover those in more detail shortly.

3. Put the entire loaf in the fridge.

This isn’t my favorite way to store bread, but putting the whole loaf in the fridge will prevent mold. It may speed up the staling process, though.

I put the loaf in a ziploc bag, and it can last in the fridge for well over a week this way. You might even get close to two weeks out of your bread, though I doubt it’ll last that long!

The texture may be a little dry coming out of the fridge, but if you put a slice in the microwave for about 10 seconds, it’ll soften up and taste like it just came out of the oven.

4. Keep it in the Dutch oven.

A lot of bakers store their sourdough bread right in the Dutch oven they baked it in.

It’s convenient, and the environment seems to be a hard one for mold to grow in.

5. Try beeswax wrap.

I haven’t personally tried beeswax wrap because the freezer bag on the counter has worked so well for me, but many people swear by it.

It’s better for the environment since you can reuse the same beeswax wrap repeatedly.

beeswax wrap for sourdough bread
Bee’s Wrap has great reviews on Amazon

Related: The Oldest Sourdough Starters (And Why It Doesn’t Really Matter)

Storage Methods I Don’t Recommend

There are a few “classic” bread-storing methods I’ve tried over the years that I don’t recommend.

sourdough loaves cooling down after baking

1. Bread Bins or Bread Boxes

I’ve spent too much money on bread bins and boxes to leave disappointed. They’re pricey, they take up a lot of room on your counter, and I didn’t find them to do any better than a Ziploc freezer bag.

The bread got dry and even seemed to mold a bit faster.

2. Aluminum Foil

I also don’t recommend wrapping your loaf in aluminum foil. Air seems to creep in and dry out the loaf, especially if it sits on the counter for over a few days.

If you want to freeze your loaf, I recommend wrapping it in plastic wrap before aluminum foil.

If your loaf doesn’t fit in a regular Ziploc freezer bag, that may be the best way to go.

3. A Cloth Bag

I’ve tried cloth bags, often marketed as bread storage bags, and they’re horrible.

The crisp crust has jagged edges that get caught on the linen bag as you try to pull it out, and the bread dries out.

4. A Brown Paper Bag

The brown paper bags are perfect for selling or gifting fresh sourdough bread, but they’re not ideal for storing bread on the counter.

brown paper bag for sourdough storing

They seem to let air in, and your beautiful artisan bread will likely dry out.

What to Do With Stale Sourdough Bread

If you’ve tried a storage method that didn’t work and you’re left with stale bread, make sourdough croutons! You can also use that dried-out bread to make sourdough French toast.

One last option is to wet your loaf and reheat it in the oven. Here are the simple steps:

  1. Dunk that sourdough boule in water for about 20 seconds.
  2. Wrap the wet loaf in aluminum foil.
  3. Re-heat it in the oven at 300°F for about 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the foil and bake for about 5 more minutes to get back that crispy crust.

It sounds bizarre, and doing it feels so wrong, but it works! That stale loaf will likely perk right back up.

how long sourdough lasts pinterest


The best way to help your fresh loaf of sourdough last longer and retain that soft interior is to place it in a Ziploc bag and store it on your kitchen counter.

It’s simple; you don’t need any special tools, and it works.

I also highly suggest freezing individual slices so you can take one out at a time and pop it in the toaster. 

Let me know in the comments how you prefer to store your sourdough!

Further Reading: Sourdough Bread Flavor: Why Does It Taste Sour?

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