Questions re: mailing bread

(susanmcc99) #1

I would love to send a couple of boules/loaves to my stepfather, who lives across the country (US) from me. Has anyone ever shipped fresh (or frozen?) homemade loaves? By mailing or shipping I mean either one-day express mail or two-day Priority Mail (via USPS), or some other rapid method. Questions I have include:

  • Is it better to freeze a loaf after it has baked and cooled, and then ship it frozen? Or ship it unfrozen, same day it comes out of the oven?
  • How should I pack it – in what materials?
  • Can I use two-day shipping or should I go with overnight only?
  • What advice should I give my stepfather regarding what to do with the bread on arrival (e.g., reviving the crust in the oven or toaster, slicing and storing, etc).

By the way, I don’t mind shipping a couple of loaves via overnight mail. This is a gift, and would be a really nice surprise for my stepfather. This winter he’s sent me (via Priority Mail) a couple of boxes of fresh mandarins and garlic from their garden.

Any advice is appreciated.

(Melissa) #2

Interesting question!
If the recipient slices and toasts their bread anyway, I would make sure the loaves are completely cool, put each loaf in a plastic bag, load a box with crumpled paper around the two bags and mail them 2-day.
Then I’d instruct the recipient to pop one (sliced) loaf in the freezer right away. The other: toast by the slice to crisp and revive. After two more days, freeze what’s left.
If it’s someone who finds slicing a hassle, I’d preslice for them.

If the recipient wants to present two crispy loaves of untoasted bread at a dinner party, I’d wrap them in a paper bag or parchment and mail them two-day. They probably wouldn’t need any reviving? Maybe a bit of time in the oven.

(susanmcc99) #3

Thanks Melissa, for these ideas and your quick response. I think it makes sense not to freeze first, since the loaves would thaw during the trip and then my stepdad would probably need to refreeze one of them (which would not be ideal). I’ll be sending him sourdough loaves (cranberry-pecan and some other kind) so those should hopefully hold up fine over two days of shipping.

(SingKevin) #4

I would send it whole/unsliced. When the recipient wants to eat it, warm the oven to 400F, turn it off and put the bread inside for 10 minutes. It will crisp up the crust and warm the interior. If the recipient will not slice your beautiful boule, then, well, perhaps he/she doesn’t deserve such a great loaf!

Sourdough is so much more resilient than commercial bread. I have used the technique above multiple times on the same sourdough loaf and, other than throwing away the one slice from the previously cut end, it works wonders. If I remember to put the cut side of a sourdough loaf down on the cutting board, it almost doesn’t go stale at all.

(MTJohn) #5

I have mailed bread to my brother a couple of times. I used the medium sized flat rate box - sufficient to hold two loaves baked in loaf pans. I baked early morning, cooled the loaves, then wrapped each in a re-purposed plastic grocery produce bag, and used bubble wrap to fill out the box and then mailed late afternoon. Just make sure that the recipient is not traveling on the day that you expect the package to arrive.

(susanmcc99) #6

Thanks all for your suggestions. I’m feeling much more at ease about sending a couple of sourdough loaves.

(Harleyellen05) #7

When my Mother-in-law was still with us, I used to mail her bread from Vermont to Florida. I always mailed on the day I baked it and used a high volume post office. I also timed to take it to the post office so it would go out that day. Monday was a good day so that it didn’t get delayed over the weekend. I always sent it Priority. Upon arrival in 3 days, she would rebake by misting with cold water and putting it in a 350 over for 10-12 minutes…good as new. If I were to do so today, I would make sourdough bread with potato water, (The Baking Network,); it seems to keep longer than the loaves I make with water. Back in those days, I would send a regular sandwich loaf baked with commercial yeast. It contained cooked grains, milk, olive oil, and honey. Hope it went well. Thought I would post tips for the next time.

(susanmcc99) #8

Great ideas, thank you for the suggestions. Timing the mailing for early in the week seems a good strategy.

(Geoffrey) #9

Early in the week for sure. But you can get appropriate size styrofoam container and put a piece of dry ice in with. Should stay frozen solid for several days.