How do I keep bagels from going soft?

I made bagels recently using the following article on Food52:

They turned out so great! Perfect, crisp outside with a chewy center. The only problem was that the leftover bagels that I left out/put in tupperware got soft and somewhat wilt-y after a while. I'm thinking it was excess steam in the bagels and that they should be cooked longer? Did I just store them the wrong way? How do typical artisan loafs of crusty bread stay so crusty for so long??

Thanks for the help!

Matt Sloan


MMH July 22, 2016
We have done this several times. We wait till the next day, slice them and freeze in freezer bags so we can see what we have.
Shuna L. July 22, 2016
I recently froze almost 300 bagels the day they were made. As soon as they were room temperature, I wrapped them all individually in aluminum foil. Even weeks later, they taste delicious when I pull them out of the freezer.

Your other question about how do crusty loaves stay crunchy on the outside is a tricky one. If you want to store your crunchy loaf in a container, I suggest glass or metal, as plastic tends to breathe in a way that lets in humidity. But that super crackly, crunchy crust will fade the longer it's not eaten. If I buy a levain loaf from a bakery and I can't eat it all the day its made, I pack it in a brown paper bag, but it won't be the same the next day, it's true.

Levain made breads do not stale/change quickly, because they have no "commercial yeast" in them. The more yeast that's in a bread, and the more humidity that is in your region, will add to the staling aka - soft/wet/less crunchy exterior of your loaf.
Matt S. July 22, 2016
Humidity is a great point. I live in New Orleans so its very humid.
BerryBaby July 22, 2016
I freeze whatever I'm not going to eat immediately. I agree with HalfPint and Pierino, they go stake quickly.

Voted the Best Reply!

HalfPint July 21, 2016
With most baked goods, let them cool completely on a rack with good air circulation. They'll be fine for most of the day, but should be frozen or wrapped (or put in a container) by the end of the day. Breads and bagels are fresh and best the day they are made. After that, they can become stale. Edible but stale. So I often freeze and then reheat in a toaster oven directly from the freezer. Almost like it was fresh baked. Almost ;)
pierino July 21, 2016
The biggest problem with bagels is typically letting them go stale and hard rather than soft. As HalfPint noted they are best the first day and to keep beyond that freeze them.
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