My parents could never agree on the best place to keep bread, the fridge or the bread bin. I discovered the answer to this several months ago. Bread should always be stored at room temparature, preferably in an air tight box or bread bin to slow down the staling (is that a real word?) process.

Bread kept in the fridge will go dry extremely quickly. The reason for this is that the amount of water that can be absorbed by the starch in the bread declines sharply as the temperature drops towards zero. This can clearly be seen on frozen bread; there will be a thick layer of ice on the bread from the water that has been given up by the starch.

If bread is to be frozen then it is best to do it in as cold a freezer as you can manage, and then defrost it as quickly as you dare. This will make the water freeze before the bread can release it and thaw when the starch is capable of holding it, meaning that once the bread is back up to room temperature it will still be nice and soft.