The bread box may have fallen out of favor in many kitchens over the last few decades, but this accessory is now making its comeback. As more of us are swapping out store bought pre-sliced loaves for home baked; the humble bread box is the must-have to keep bread fresher for longer.In this article we review some of the best bread boxes available on the market as well as discussing some of the main features of the bread box including their construction, lid and design styles. We also take an in-depth look at some of the controversy around whether bread boxes should be vented or not.
The Brabantia fall front bread box is our best pick with its two loaf capacity, wall mounting capability and 10 year limited warranty.
The Home-it stainless steel bread box is our budget pick with its roll top door and 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Table of Contents
- Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Bread Boxes
- 1. Brabantia Fall Front Bread Box
- 2. Home-it Stainless Steel Bread Box
- 3. Cookbook People Original Rolltop Bread Box
- 4. Cooler Kitchen Bread Box with Cutting Lid
- 5. Oggi Stainless Steel Roll Top Bread Box with Tempered Glass Lid
- 6. Creative Co-op Enameled Metal Distressed Bread Box
- 7. Culinary Couture Large Blue Bread Box
- 8. Betwoo Natural Wooden Roll Top Bread Box
- 9. Now Designs Large Bread Bin
- 10. Mountain Woods Antique Style Bread Box
- Things to Consider Before Buying A Bread Box
Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Bread Boxes
1. Brabantia Fall Front Bread Box
The Brabantia fall front bread box is built from durable and corrosion free materials and measuring approximately 18" wide, 10" deep and 7" high, it will fit up to two loaves. Its flat top allows it to be used for additional storage such as cannisters. This brilliant steel box also has hanging eyes on the back which means you can wall mount it rather than just place on the countertop. These also help vent the box.The fall front is kept closed with a magnetic seal which helps keep bread fresher for longer, although this may not seal as well as expected. Some buyers have also found that the bread box itself could fit together better than it actually does. This comes with a ten year warranty which is a limited warranty and only covers mechanical failure.
2. Home-it Stainless Steel Bread Box
Coming with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, the Home-it stainless steel bread box has a smooth roll top door and measures 16" by 10" by 7". This stainless steel bread box with a protective plastic trim also has venting holes to help bread keep fresher for longer.This is made from thinner stainless steel so there is a risk of this arriving dented and as it has a chrome finish, it will show fingerprints and smudges up more than other metals. Some owners have also found it a little more difficult to open than other styles of bread boxes.
3. Cookbook People Original Rolltop Bread Box
The Cookbook People bamboo original bread box is a traditional style bread box with a roll top door which slides to the rear wall rather than down to the base to maximize storage space. Measuring 15¾" by 10¾" by 6¾" it is advised that this be placed in a well-ventilated spot away from heat. This also comes with a satisfaction guarantee.As this box is made from natural bamboo which may occasionally expand, the door can stick, although a dab of wax along the groove will usually resolve. Some buyers consider this box is on the fragile side and there is also a small chance that the bamboo may crack. Some buyers also consider this box too small.
4. Cooler Kitchen Bread Box with Cutting Lid
The vertical standing Cooler Kitchen bread box with cutting lid measures 13" by 7" by 9½" and is designed to take two loaves of bread. The box itself is made from dishwasher safe and the cutting lid is bamboo, which can be cleaned with soap and warm water. The lid also has a seal which still allows air to circulate in the bread box. This retro style bread box is white with a graphic designed by a New York City graphic artist.A small number of owners have experienced some warping of the natural bamboo lid and some care may be needed to put the lid in place to ensure it does not fall into the box.
5. Oggi Stainless Steel Roll Top Bread Box with Tempered Glass Lid
The Oggi roll top bread box is a contemporary styled box constructed from heavy duty stainless steel with a tempered glass roll top with a stainless steel D handle. This also has rubber feet to prevent any damage to countertops. This bread box measures 15¼" by 9½" high and does not contain any extra ventilation holes. Some owners have found it does not keep their bread as well as expected and the handle can be crooked. There may also be some sharp edges on it.
6. Creative Co-op Enameled Metal Distressed Bread Box
The Creative Co-op enamel bread box is a vintage distressed style white enameled box printed with the word ‘bread’ in black. Measuring 13½" by 8¼" by 12", this also comes with a handled top lid and side handles. This can only be handwashed and as it is enameled it will be at more risk of being scratched and dented when in use. It may also arrive with some cosmetic damage to the enamel; although as a distressed design, the enamel has been finished for this specific appearance. As a smaller bread box, it may not fit as much bread as expected.
7. Culinary Couture Large Blue Bread Box
The powder coated stainless steel Culinary Couture large bread box measures 16½" by 9" by 6½" and contains venting holes to its rear to help keep bread fresher for longer. This top opening hinged bread box also comes with a bonus eBook on bread making.Some buyers have received this bread box damaged and depending on the size of loaf it may only take one loaf. This is also lighter weight steel compared to other bread boxes and so not as robust. Some owners have also experienced small ants still being able to get into it.
8. Betwoo Natural Wooden Roll Top Bread Box
The Betwoo bamboo bread box is a roll top box made from natural bamboo and density board. Measuring approximately 15¾" by 10⅔" by 6½" this also has a wooden knob for easy opening. There can be a chance of the bamboo door sticking which can usually be resolved by rubbing wax along the groove. This may not be as robust as expected and it may be received with some damage to the bamboo.
9. Now Designs Large Bread Bin
The top opening and hinged Now Designs large bread box measures 16" by 9" by 6½". This is a vintage style turquoise powder coated steel box with ‘bread’ embossed on the front of it in white. It also has a white steel D handle for opening the lid up and contains ventilation holes at the back to allow air to circulate in the box.A small number of buyers have received this box with considerable damage to it, and because the lid opens back to 180 degrees, not only does this put extra strain on the hinges but it means it may take up more room on the countertop than expected.
10. Mountain Woods Antique Style Bread Box
The extra-large Mountain Woods antique style bread box is made from responsible and plantation grown acacia wood and has a magnetic and flip down lid/fall front with rattan and metal accents. This measures 16" by 10.5" by 9" and as natural wood it will occasionally need rubbing with mineral or vegetable oil to maintain its appearance.This does have a slanted front which can restrict its storage space and as this is not a vented bread box, not all buyers will be satisfied with its style. A small number of owners have also found that quality control may not be as rigorous as expected for a higher price item.
Things to Consider Before Buying A Bread Box
The bread box has been around for a while. When bread was baked traditionally and without preservatives or even freezers to freeze it; bread would always be stored in a bread box. Not only would the bread box help keep bread fresh for longer, it could limit moisture content (reducing mold growth) and kept the bread safe from mice, ants and other household pests.
Bread boxes eventually fell out of favor during the 1980s, as more of us moved away from home baked goods to convenient store bought produce. Because these commercial loaves contain preservatives and were usually pre-sliced, they were able to last for longer. However, the bread box is making a comeback, probably as more of us are returning to, or started, baking bread for dietary or other reasons. Because home baked bread is preservative free, it cannot keep for the same length of time as store bought so the bread box is once more an essential on the countertop. The bread box also helps keep crumbs contained rather than all over the countertop.
Bread Box Materials
Bread boxes are available in a range of materials including metal, wood, ceramic, plastic and more. Wood is always a popular choice as it is the material that bread boxes were constructed from historically. It also suits wooden and country style kitchens. Most traditional styled wood bread boxes will take up to two loaves.
Enameled bread boxes are another older style of box. Usually having a loose top lid, these can be found as traditional style enameled boxes or there are some designs which are more contemporary.
Steel or stainless steel suits many styles of kitchen as these bread boxes come in a range of shapes and sizes and often have clean lines and are pleasing to the eye. Stainless steel is also easy to clean and sanitize.
Although there are some ceramic bread boxes available, their weight and fragility makes them a less common choice of material for today’s bread boxes. Unless they have protective feet under them, they can also scratch the countertop.
Plastic or acrylic style boxes are often similar in style to Tupperware and often expand to take a larger loaf. These are more restrictive on their capacity, but their smaller size means they are easier to hide away in the pantry if countertop space is limited. Plastic boxes may also be dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
Bread Box Styles, Shapes and Sizes
Bread boxes are available as contemporary styles, traditional/antique and vintage or retro. When considering which style to choose, do think about the design of your kitchen. As much as you may like the look of an award winning contemporary steel bread box, if your kitchen is a traditional styled and dark wood kitchen, the bread box will probably stand out too much. Similarly, a vintage style enamel box will probably look out of place in a high gloss and stainless steel contemporary kitchen.
Some bread boxes may be manufactured as part of a kitchen range, which means you can buy other matching accessories such as cannisters or even pot holders for your kitchen.
Roll top bread boxes are common and these are often traditionally styled. The roll top usually rolls back inside the box to either the rear wall or the base. You should take the capacity of the box into account when looking at roll top boxes as you will lose some inner space with the roll top. These can be better where you have limited height though, such as under cabinets and they will also suit being placed on a shelf. You can usually store bits such as tins or cannisters on top of these types of boxes if you have limited countertop space.
Top lidded bread boxes may be hinged or just lift off the box completely. If the lid is hinged, check how far it opens back as if it opens all the way, you will need more countertop space behind it. Those which are hinged at the front are also known as fall front door bread boxes. Some wooden lids also serve as cutting lids which means you do not need to have an extra cutting board for slicing bread.
Bread boxes can be shaped to take particular loaves, such as oval shaped, or they may be taller to allow bread to stand up in them. The shape of the box should best suit the main types of bread you want to store in it.
Bread boxes are available in a range of sizes and you should consider how much kitchen space you have, as well as how much bread the box can store. Also make sure that the box you like will not appear cramped if you have limited space in the kitchen. Ideally there should be at least a few inches of clearance on each side of the box. Some larger boxes may also contain an extra shelf so you can store bagels, pastries and other goods on the top as well as bread and some boxes may be suitable for wall mounting if you do have limited space.
To Vent or Not to Vent?
Any bread box, vented or not, will not stop bread from going stale or developing mold, but it will slow it down and help retain the best characteristics of the bread. A well designed and vented bread box should keep the bread at room temperature while allowing the correct amount of air to circulate. If air does not circulate, then the bread will produce condensation which will dry it out and encourage mold growth.
Although freezing bread is viable and done by many of us for longer term storage, the bread does need time to defrost, and let us be honest, home baked bread never tastes quite as nice when defrosted as when fresh.
Bread which dries out has undergone a process called retrogradation. This drying out process will occur in any food which contains starch as the starches crystallize and trap moisture. The bread box can keep enough moisture in it to slow retrogradation, which means the inside of the bread will stay moist and the crust crispy.
In normal household temperatures and away from direct sunlight and high heat sources, a vented bread box should keep bread and other baked goods such as cookies and pastries near fresh for up to four days. Bread may keep fresh for as long as a week, depending on its type, whether store bought or homemade and the overall environment. More bread stored in the box soften it faster as it this prevents as much air from circulating, but of course some of us like it soft while others prefer crustier bread.
Although some of us do keep bread in the refrigerator it does not help it keep better, in fact, colder temperatures actually speed up retrogradation in both home baked and store bought breads, which means the bread will dry out in a day or so. Likewise, storing bread in an airtight container will speed up retrogradation. If you leave your bread in its plastic wrapper, it will stay soft, but the crust will also soften, and it will have a dry feel to it. Leaving bread in a paper bag also dries it out quickly and leaves it as hard as if you had left it unwrapped on the countertop overnight.
Whether the box is vented through the seal or through holes, these should be designed to keep household pests out. Pests are often the main reason that some of us prefer a box which is not vented as this ensures the bread is kept safe. A box which is airtight rather than vented will also keep bread softer, which depending on personal preferences and the style of bread may be preferred by some of us.
So, for the vent debate, there is no wrong or right answer. Although a vented box is more common and may keep bread crispier, it is down to personal preference as to whether you choose a vented or a more airtight bread box. Whichever one you choose, bread should be placed into it the same way. Unwrapped and unsliced. If freshly baked, it should be completely cold. Bread which is left wrapped will stop the box from working as it should do. You should also check your bread daily, rather than just leaving it in there and a bread box should be at least wiped free of crumbs with a piece of paper towel after every loaf is finished.
Cleaning a Bread Box
Stainless steel, plastic and ceramic bread boxes are easy to clean. Once you have removed the crumbs, then a soft cloth and some warm soapy water is usually enough to cleanse it properly. It can then be wiped dry with a towel, left to air and then put back into use.
A wood bread box can be treated in the same way, however because this is generally more fragile s and more prone to moisture damage, you should take a little extra care. Once crumbs have been wiped out, you can use a minimal amount of warm soapy water to wipe it out and then dry it thoroughly. If any mold has been growing in a wooden box, then remove as much as you can with a soft brush and wipe down with hot water and vinegar to remove any final traces of mold and sanitize it. This will then need a few wipe downs with warm water to remove any vinegar traces before drying.
Using up Stale Bread
As long as the bread does not have any mold on it, however stale it is, it can be used. Toasting it, making eggy bread, milk bread or fried sandwiches are just some of the easy ways to use up stale bread. You can also slice the bread, add a little olive oil or butter and pop in the oven until golden brown. Served as crispbreads, these taste great with toppings such as soft cheese.
You can also make fresh breadcrumbs which are perfect for fresh taramasalata, or make bread pudding, stuffings or homemade croutons. For more exotic recipes, why not make fattoush? A Middle Eastern bread and vegetable salad, this can be made with stale flat, Italian or French bread. German dumplings or semmelknoedel are similar to Italian gnocchi but made with milk and stale bread. These dumplings can then be served with meat, fish or in soups. There is also the British classic summer pudding dish made with seasonal fresh fruits and bread.
In this article we have considered why a vented bread box is important, but also why some may prefer a box which is more airtight. We have also touched on why bread boxes are becoming a kitchen essential once more and some of the main features you should consider when selecting your next bread box.
We hope you have found this article on choosing the best bread box and some of our recipe tips for using up stale bread informative. If you are considering adding a bread box to your countertop, or are just replacing an old favorite, we trust that our reviews of ten of the best have helped you in your choice of bread box to not only suit your kitchen but also your types of bread.