* Prices may differ from that shown
This is a Lakeland product that my mother in law loves using, and we have borrowed a number of times. I'm sure we're not alone when it comes to wasting bread. There's always the option of taking the ends or the leftovers to the pond to feed the ducks, which we do love doing with our boys, but there's usually far too much bread to waste, and the theory is that this will help keep your bread fresher for longer, thus letting you use it instead of the local quackers getting it all.
Visually, it's nothing special. In fact, they probably could have made it look a bit nicer. Plain looking, it's a two piece hard plastic product, both clear. Both are shaped so that together they can accommodate a standard loaf comfortably. One end is slightly smaller than the other though, so that it's snug all around, and as the loaf shrinks as you cut it, the smaller end of the container slides further into the larger end to reduce the interior space. This is designed to reduce the air around the loaf inside.
Curiously, the device does have a couple of tiny holes - apparently, this is because there needs to be a small amount of air flow or the air becomes stale and this makes the bread go off quicker. Also, there is a white insert in the container which has a series of vertical 'sections'. These are designed to help you slice bread straight, and come with a straight piece that you can use to line up the end, while there are gaps to fit the knife into to cut the slices. This isn't ideal as you can end up with slices that are too thick quite easily, although it will at least help you learn to cut straight.
I suppose this really is a way to add a little something extra to the seemingly exorbitant price of something that is just designed to aid those of us who can be a little lazy or ignorant when it comes to keeping bread fresh. Really, it's not that hard to close the opening of a bread loaf's bag. The thing is, we still don't do it all the time, and I've lost count of the number of times I've gone to get the next slice only to have to throw one away because it's hardened with the elements, the one underneath still just about okay.
And of course, a fresh loaf often doesn't come with a stay fresh bag, and hardens a lot quicker. Using this container does actually help in this case, but in all honesty, it's still an expense I wouldn't be prepared to pay for myself. It costs £12 or thereabouts, although Lakeland don't seem to be making them at the moment. I'm not aware of a design fault, it may just be that the need for these has dissipated somewhat. Perhaps we've all just become better at using bread efficiently, although I somehow doubt it!
Each time I use this, I am surprised at how easy it is to open and then seal closed. I don't really bother with cutting slices, I much prefer that if there's sliceable bread, there's something nice about being able to hack off an uneven slice, something natural and enjoyable about it, that you don't necessarily get from a straight cut, weirdly enough. The price for me is a bit too much, but it certainly keeps bread fresh, and the adjustable length of container is good for keeping it fresh that little bit longer as well.
A problem that most need a solution for is preventing bread from going stale. A lot of you will probably have bread bins, or just seal the bag up as you go. I have alwasy used bread bins, some bins I have had worked reasonably well, others just weren't as practical as I would have liked them to be.
As you can see from the design of this Lakeland Bread Keeper it is designed especially to hold your favourite loaf of bread. I don't use a great deal of bread in the house, but when I do I like it to as fresh as the moment it were brought from the oven - or that is the theory anyway. I have used Lakeland before and they are great with these types of gadgets, so £12 I thought was a reasonable enough price to pay. Although I don't find the Lakeland Bread Keeper particularly attractive I find it does its job well enough for me to award top marks in that respect. For your £12 you get two halves of a storage container which slide together to create an airtight lock thus reducing the speed of the bread becoming stale. There is also a cutting guide built into the bread keeper which now allows me to buy my favourite Tiger Loaf from my local supermarket and keep it fresher for longer! The bread keeper will hold most sizes of bread as it is a generous enough size for all conventional sizes.
Overall I am peased with the way the product is designed and put together. The plastic feels robust and I have never had any issues with quality. The bread guide also allows me to slice my bread just how it should be done - by yourself! £12 may seem a lot for what is essentially two pieces of plastic, but the design overall is very well thought out and I would struggle to find anything to knock a star off for.
Since moving into my own place I have been forever throwing out bread as first and foremost I do not use a great and secondly I am very fussy when it comes to using bread that's been open longer than 24 hours. So I decided to save all this waste I would buy myself a bread keeper and after looking around online the one that seemed most appropriate and that had excellent feedback from users was the Lakeland bread keeper. I had previous good experience with the company before so had no hesitation in using them as a brand and my loyalty as been rewarded!
This retails for £12 and is well worth the price as after a month or two it will make its money back by saving me on bread I was throwing away! What you get for that price is a large plastic storage box in which to keep your bread ensuring it maintains freshness and doesn't go off. They affix together by pushing the two halves into one and it all feels very compact, very steady and is, as I found out for myself, tough enough to prevent the occasional drop! It will fit in a full loaf of large bread too!
I have found the bread keeper works a wonder and it has certainly made my bread last longer and encouraged me to use bread after 24 hours of being opened which was my main fussy issue. I also have been able to use the cutting guide to cut through glorious uncut loaves I have been having which is built into the device here. Its very easy to use by making imprints in the bread.
All in all this is an excellent quality product that I am sure you will find, as I did, keeps your bread fresh and has a nifty practical use for uncut loaves too! Ideal if you bake your own bread too!
The Bread Keeper is available from Lakeland stores or can be purchased online at www.lakeland.co.uk and retails at £11.99.
The bread keeper is a plastic storage container for keeping uncut loaves of bread, it comes complete with a plastic cutting guide. The storage container is made of clear plastic and comes in two halves one slightly bigger than the other, the smaller of the two slides inside the larger one and the idea is that it expands to accommodate a full size loaf (maximum size 15cm x 28cm x18cm) but as then the loaf gets smaller you the smaller piece slides in further reducing the size of the container (minimum size 15cm x 15.5cm x18cm). The container has two small round air vents on each end of the container, these air vents maintain adequate air circulation and help to keep bread fresh for a little longer.
As well as the clear plastic container you get a white plastic cutting guide, this is essentially is a white plastic base onto which you sit your bread then at each side is 7 white plastic prongs, each with a space between which is just big enough to slide a bread knife. There is an additional removable piece, (again white plastic) that slides onto the end of the cutting guide to keep bread in place.
To use the cutting guide you simply place the uncut loaf on the base of the cutting guide and slide to end. Hold in place, using plastic stopper provided, place an ordinary bread knife between the prongs on each side of the cutting guide and cut bread. The plastic prongs will keep the knife on track and you will end up with nice even slices of bread. As there are 6 spaces on the cutting guide you can cut up to 6 slices at a time without having to reposition the bread.
I have had one of these for around two years now and use it on a daily basis. I find the storage container really handy for storing bread, not sure I agree with the claims that it keeps your bread fresh for longer than a normal storage container would, I would say it performs about the same as any other bread bin. One of the things I do like about this container is that it is see through, my husband has a habit of using the last of the bread without telling me and it drives me mad when I go for some and find there is none left. With this container I can clearly see how much is left and pop some fresh in to bake before we run out.
The reason I actually bought this product was not for the storage container but for the cutting guide. I am not the greatest when it comes to slicing bread, I always end up with wonky slices one end could be 3 - 4 cm thick and the other 1cm. So when I saw this product I thought I would give it a try. I found the product very easy to use and you do end up with nice even slices (around 1cm in thickness), so in that respect yes it does work. The downside to what would otherwise have been a great product is the cutting guide is a little flimsy and it often feels as though the prongs are about to snap. That said mine has lasted 2 years now, all prongs intact. The plastic base of the cutting guide is showing signs of wear and tear and is covered in knife marks and will need replacing very soon. Overall though I do feel the product has lasted quite well, it has been used several times a day for the last 2 years so I guess it is only natural that it will be showing signs of wear and tear.
Overall I would recommend this product, it is not perfect and I do think the cutting guide could do with being made from stronger material, but it is still a really useful containier/cutting guide and is very reasonably priced at £11.99.
Lakeland / Plastic bread store with cutting quide.