Last updated: 16/10/2022

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Bread bags are not only practical and have a vintage character, they also help to protect the planet. In times of climate change, Fridays for future and pollution of the oceans, we can avoid a lot of waste by using them.

It is already taken for granted in this day and age to receive a paper or plastic bag at the bakery and supermarket without being asked. This creates a huge amount of waste products per year and the clearing of forests for paper endangers our climate. By using a cloth bag, you avoid this cycle and own a product that is reusable and natural.

In the following informative bread bag test 2022 we will compare all types of bread bags and give you an overview of the best products. This way you can find out which bag is best suited for you and your needs. This will make your purchase decision easier.




Summary

  • Bread bags are a good and important alternative to the previous packaging options in the shop, as they reduce waste and are sustainable
  • Bread bags like these come in different sizes and materials, which determine the rest of their properties such as environmental friendliness, breathability and cleanability
  • The many functional areas of a bread bag, for example as a shopping bag, freezer container or storage for various foodstuffs, are also a plus point

The Best Bread Bag: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a bread bag

What is a bread bag?

A bread bag is a bag in which baked goods such as bread, rolls or sweets can be stored. It is mainly made of different types of fabric, but is also available coated with beeswax.

Bread bags come with all kinds of prints and inscriptions and are used for food storage in a wide variety of countries. (Image source: unsplash.com / Kuroko Ukou)

Other foods can also be stowed and stored in the bag, but for vegetables and fruit, for example, there are also separate nets and bags.

Most haversacks can be used not only for storage, but also for shopping or freezing.

Who is a bread bag suitable for?

A haversack is suitable for everyone. If the following points are important to you, you should definitely decide to buy a bread bag:

  • Freshness: Bread and various baked goods are still considered one of the staple foods for many people. This makes storage an important issue, because bread products should remain fresh, juicy and crispy on the outside for as long as possible. In the plastic alternative, the bread sweats or dries out in the paper bag.
  • Sustainability and waste reduction: The most important factor in deciding to use bread bags made of natural materials is their environmental friendliness or sustainability. If you use your bread bag and vegetable nets for shopping, you save at least one plastic and one paper bag per purchase. Over the course of a year, this adds up to a large amount. In this way, a part of our waste can be avoided in small, uncomplicated steps.
  • Versatile functions: A bread bag is best for storing all baked goods and various foods. It can also be used in many ways, such as for shopping, storing, freezing or as a decorative element in a vintage look. Its space-saving function is another plus point.

What materials are available for buying a bread bag?

Bread bags are available in the following different types of fabric and materials:

  • (Organic) cotton
  • Linen
  • Hemp
  • Paper
  • Beeswax

They are all suitable for storing baked goods or other food. You can also use normal jute bags for storage.

You can see the advantages and disadvantages of the different materials in the decision section. As a general rule, natural products that are biodegradable offer the best added value for the environment.

Many companies even offer sustainable products that do not contain animal products, dyes or bleaches.

What are the closure options for bread bags?

If they are beeswax products, you can easily seal them by hand heat or roll the food tightly in the cloth. Sometimes clips are also provided for the closure.

Type Features
Drawstring The most common and practical type of closure for bread bags is the drawstring. This allows the bag to be sealed airtight, which on the one hand helps the shelf life of the goods and on the other hand is great for freezing.
Thin drawstrings Thin drawstrings are also often used in bread bags. While they work similarly to the drawstring, they are not equally airtight. The drawstring is also easier to use.
No closure Some of the bread bags also have no closure option. If the bag is only used at home in the same place, it can also be stored without a closure. However, the bread will not be as fresh as in a sealed bag. Shopping and freezing are also rather impractical without a closure.

How much does a bread bag cost?

The price of bread bags varies greatly depending on the material, size and accessories. It also depends on whether you value a particular supplier or shop and how you want it to look. There are various prints that make the haversack a real eye-catcher.

The cheapest bags can be bought for 3-9€, but most products are in the middle price range of 14-23€. The most expensive bags cost up to 30€.

Often, however, the price does not only include a single cloth bag, but a set of several bags of different sizes. Other sets also include vegetable and fruit nets.

The additional nets and bags that are often included in the price offer great added value because they promote sustainable and packaging-free shopping for all types of food.

So you get natural products at a good price that make it easy to shop sustainably.

Can I go shopping with a bread bag in the local shop?

In most bakeries or grocery shops you can go shopping with your own haversack and store your goods in it. Often this is even encouraged, as it reduces the amount of plastic or paper bags you have to hand out.

Often, bringing your own bags to shops is even encouraged to reduce the amount of waste products given out.

Some shops also sell specially made bread bags to encourage customers to use them for shopping. It is best to ask at the local shop concerned.

However, the EU hygiene protection regulation officially prohibits this method. Nevertheless, some sellers circumvent the ban. For reasons of hygiene, the packaging you bring with you is not allowed to cross the counter and be returned. Therefore, it is a good idea to keep the bread bag on the buyer’s side and ask the seller to put the baked goods in it.

What is the alternative to the purchased bread bag?

As an alternative to the haversack as a means of storage, you can buy a wooden box or a clay jar. However, both are much more expensive than a bag. Another impractical aspect is that the boxes only have one function. Shopping as well as freezing is rather impractical with this product. Visually, however, they look good and keep baked goods fresh for a long time.

Another alternative is to use so-called beeswax cloths. You should think about what properties you want your bread bag to have and then choose the right material.

If you don’t want to buy a haversack or would rather design it according to your own wishes, you can sew one yourself. There are many instructions, YouTube videos and patterns on the internet.

Decision: What types of bread bags are there and which is the right one for you?

If you decide to buy a bread bag, you can choose between different types of bags:

  • Cotton bread bag
  • Linen bread bag
  • Hemp bread bags
  • Paper bread bags
  • Beeswax bread bags

For beeswax products, there are real bags as well as simple beeswax cloths in which you can easily wrap smaller products.

There are different advantages and disadvantages for each type of haversack. It depends on what you value most in terms of storage, materials and cleaning. All the important aspects are explained below to help you make your purchase decision.

What distinguishes a cotton bread bag and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The cotton bag is made from normal cotton as well as organic cotton and is a natural product that is biodegradable.

Although cotton has good air circulation, it stores relatively little moisture. This has the advantage of preventing mould from forming in the bag. However, the bread loses its moisture so quickly and stays fresh for less time.

Advantages
  • Prevents absorption of humidity
  • Biodegradable
  • Easy to clean
Disadvantages
  • Bread stays fresh for less time

It can be reused after each use by cleaning easily and quickly. You can wash the bag at 40-60° C according to the instructions and then iron it.

Freezing food in a cotton bag is also no problem.

What distinguishes a linen bread bag and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Unlike cotton, a linen bread bag offers the necessary breathability to ensure that the bread remains juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside. It ensures enough storage to absorb the moisture released, but at the same time allows enough moisture to escape to the outside. Thus, the antibacterial function is also given.

Linen is also biodegradable and therefore has the usual sustainable character of a good bread bag. The fabric also has its own cooling effect.

Advantages
  • Breathable
  • Biodegradable
  • Inhibits bacteria
  • Cooling effect
Disadvantages
  • Crease-prone
  • Careful cleaning
  • Does not withstand strong friction

Linen bags are also reusable, but cleaning is a little more involved. If you want the haversack to last a long time, clean it with lukewarm water and a gentle detergent.

The gentle cycle of the washing machine is also conceivable, but linen does not tolerate much friction or high temperatures and is very susceptible to creasing. Cold temperatures are no problem, so this type of fabric is also suitable for freezing.

What distinguishes a hemp bread bag and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

If the hemp bread bag is produced fairly and organically, it is an optimal companion. The material is robust, but still offers good breathability. Again, air, temperature & humidity can circulate well, which prevents the formation of bacteria and mould. However, the bread remains fresh.

Advantages
  • Very durable material
  • Breathable
  • Prevents bacteria formation
  • Easy to clean
Disadvantages
  • Crease-resistant

Because of its durable material, hemp is easy to clean at 40° C in the washing machine and can therefore also be reused. However, your bag can wrinkle quickly, so be careful here if you like it nice and smooth.

Freezing is also no problem with the hemp bread bag.

What are the characteristics of a paper bread bag and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Since paper bags have been in use for a long time and are easily mass-produced, you can buy them cheaply in large quantities.

For a short time, paper is suitable for storing bread goods. However, over time it usually softens as it cannot absorb moisture and allows so much air inside that the products become hard.

The taste of the food remains unaltered because the paper does not release any aroma.

Advantages
  • Cheap
  • Food-safe
Disadvantages
  • Not very breathable
  • Not very durable
  • Not very environmentally friendly

Paper bread bags can usually not be used more than 1-3 times and then have to be disposed of. This does not speak for special sustainability and causes waste again. In addition, many trees have to be felled in order to produce the bags.

What distinguishes a beeswax bread bag and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Beeswax bread bags or cloths are usually cotton or fleece products that are coated with beeswax. They are usually available in beautiful, colourful designs, for example with floral patterns.

Advantages
  • Antibacterial
  • Breathable
  • Easy to clean
Disadvantages
  • Poorer closure options
  • Repairs possible
  • Shorter freezing periods

In most cases, beeswax has a good antibacterial effect, but you should still be careful with susceptible products such as raw meat or eggs. Baked goods, however, are fine. Despite the wax layer, the product remains breathable.

You can simply wipe your beeswax bag or wax cloth with cold water and then let it dry, so you can reuse it as often as you like. However, if there are small tears in the material, you will need to make short corrections. To do this, simply heat the cloth or bag briefly in the oven.

Also, due to the poor sealing possibilities and the nature of the material, food should not be frozen in beeswax for longer than 4 weeks.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate bread bags

In the following, we will show you which aspects you can use to decide between the variety of possible bread bags.

These criteria will help you to get to grips with the different types of bread bags:

  • Material
  • Size
  • Environmental friendliness
  • Breathability
  • Easy to clean

In the following paragraphs, we will elaborate on these criteria for you.

Material

The biggest difference between all types of bread bags is the material used. Apart from the size, this determines all other criteria.

Packaging-free shopping and waste avoidance will be necessary in the coming years.

The sustainable extraction of the material and its special properties, such as biodegradability and multiple use, make most bread bags a real boon for environmental friendliness. If you’re keen to switch to packaging-free shopping, you should definitely consider a haversack.

Each of the materials in a haversack reacts differently to temperature, humidity, air permeability, etc., which in turn affect the contents of the haversack. These in turn have an effect on the food inside.

While some fabrics retain a lot of moisture, others do less. One fabric can be particularly antibacterial, while another ensures optimal air circulation. Thus, the condition of the baked goods and their shelf life are massively influenced.

Cleaning is also determined by the type of fabric. While one type of bag is very easy to clean, another requires intensive care or minor adjustments in the course of use.

Size

There are no standard sizes for bread bags, so you will find many different sizes when looking for the right bag. It all depends on what exactly and how much of it you want to store in a bag.

Different bread sizes and shapes require a diverse range of different sized bread bags. (Image source: unsplash.com / James Harris)

Widely used are bread bags for rolls & biscuits and for medium or large loaves of bread. For these products, the sizes vary by a few centimetres among different suppliers. However, the specifications often list the suitability for the respective baked goods.

Even for rather unusual sizes, there are now specially produced bread bags, such as for baguettes (approx. 16-20 x 65-70 cm) or very large loaves of bread.

Environmental friendliness

The environmental friendliness towards both nature and the consumer is a key feature of the bread bag that sets it apart from previous bag alternatives.

By using the same bag over and over again, we produce much less waste. They also keep baked goods and food fresher for longer, which also reduces food waste. Using paper bags creates mostly biodegradable waste, but the fact that many trees have to be cut down for it should not be ignored.

If you use a bread bag, you produce less waste and act in a more environmentally friendly way. (Photo source: 123rf-com / Sergey Nivens)

Another plus point for the environmental friendliness of such bags is that they are obtained via natural substances. These are usually also very tolerable for humans, as there are few to no harmful substances in the bag and they have an antibacterial effect on their contents.

Breathability

The breathability of a bread bag is a factor that should not be underestimated when buying, as it ensures the condition of the bread over a longer period of storage.

The following properties should be present to keep your baked goods fresh for a long time:

  • good air circulation: ensures that mould does not form and that moisture can enter and leave the bag.
  • Retention of moisture: the bag should be able to hold just the right amount of moisture to prevent mould from forming prematurely or the crust from softening. The bread should also retain enough moisture to stay fresh.
  • good temperature regulation: while bread in plastic easily starts to sweat or dries out quickly in the fridge, a bread bag should ensure the best possible temperature.

Easy cleaning

Since all types of bread bags except paper bags are reusable, they must all be easy to clean. Cleaning can vary in ease or difficulty depending on the type of fabric and texture.

Ease of cleaning type of cleaning example
Very easy machine washable (40-60° C) organic cotton, cotton, hemp
Easy wipe by hand and let air dry beeswax
More cumbersome gentle cleaning with special instructions such as temperature and detergent linen

For fabrics that require more care, consider whether you have the time and inclination to do so. If in doubt, avoid buying such a fabric bag, as its longevity depends on proper care.

Facts worth knowing about bread bags

How long can you store bread and rolls in a bread bag?

In the right bag and if properly sealed, bread will stay fresh on the inside and crisp on the outside for up to 7 days. For this, the room temperature should be between 18-22 degrees.

Bacteria and mould are less likely to form in the bread bag.

However, it should be noted that there is no rule of thumb, because different types of bread have different shelf lives. Wheat and spelt breads have a shorter shelf life than rye breads. However, bacteria and mould growth is significantly reduced in the bread bag compared to plastic or paper bags.

Can I freeze food in the bread bag?

Yes, you can freeze food in the bread bag, but not in paper bags. All other materials listed as well as jute bags are suitable for freezing. Care should be taken here:

  1. Portioning: Determine the quantity per bag. It often makes sense to freeze only parts of baked goods or slices of bread
  2. Preparation: Close the selected bag as completely airtight as possible and squeeze any remaining air out of the container. It is easier to do this with a tight seal or drawstring, otherwise freezer burn can occur with open or only slightly sealable bags. This does not harm the food itself, but can affect the taste.
  3. Defrosting: When defrosting, first let the bread rest for a few hours at room temperature.

Food should not be frozen for longer than 4 weeks in beeswax bread bags and cloths. In the other fabric bags this is possible for at least 6 months up to 2 years.

Can bread bags be printed or embroidered and where?

Many bags you can buy online already have logos or slogans printed on them. However, if you want to use your own print, you can easily do this at a local print shop with a textile print.

If you search the internet for a company that prints your haversack, you will mostly find ads for promotional prints. Therefore, I recommend searching on etsy.com, for example, and having a customised haversack delivered there.

Embroidery is also no problem, you can either do it yourself or pass it on to a local sewing shop.

Where can I order promotional bread bag?

Promotional bread bags are easy to find after a quick Google search. There are various online suppliers. Depending on what you are looking for and what you value, you will quickly find what you are looking for. You don’t have to order bread bags beforehand, you will be offered various bags with printing options directly.

Where can I buy old haversacks from earlier wars and armies?

If you are passionate about the 1st and 2nd World Wars and the German Armed Forces, haversacks from these eras might be a highlight for you. It depends on which troop you are interested in, such as the Reichswehr, DRK, Army, Civil Defence. There are various old models, the best known of which are the M31 and M44.

Such pouches are mostly collector’s items. On the one hand, because of their age and character, on the other hand, they are often in a condition in which you can no longer use them to store food.

The best place to look is ebay.com, where these sought-after relics are often auctioned off.

Picture source: 123rf.com / lightfieldstudios

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