Kitchn Love Letters

I Never Thought I Needed a Bread Box, but Now I Don’t Know How I Lived Without It

updated May 25, 2023
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A photo of a loaf of pumpkin chocolate chip bread on a cooling rack.
Credit: Maria Do

For years, I’ve been baking bread in a mad-scientist kind of fashion. I love brewing my own levain for some seriously tangy bakes beyond plain ol’ loaves, venturing into the world of naturally leavened friands, muffins, and brioches — I definitely have a passion for sweet and savory breads of all kinds. But that also means that I have a lot of leftovers in the kitchen from my bakes — not that it ever stops me from firing up the oven again the next day and trying another experiment. 

The only issue is that I end up with quite a lot of half-eaten loaves or half-batches of muffins, which I either store in the freezer or devour at midnight. There are a lot of ways to store bread — the freezer is a big one, of course, and many expert bakers also recommend wrapping bread in paper rather than plastic to let bread breathe. One thing experts all agree on, though, is having a dedicated bread bin to help keep bread fresher for longer periods of time — and I don’t mean any ol’ food container!

What’s So Great About Alessi’s Mattina Bread Box?

I used to keep most of my freshly-baked bread and mini muffins in an airtight Tupperware box, but I’ve since learned to appreciate the humble bread box. Specifically, I love the Alessi Mattina Bread Bin that I bought more than a year ago. It has all the hallmarks of a traditional tin bread box, but with a few modern extras that make it more useful and functional in my kitchen.

A good bread box should have tiny holes, or at least a lid that’s loose enough to allow some air to circulate — this prevents the bread from producing condensation and growing mold, but doesn’t dry it out either. The Alessi bread box has a lid that’s just loose enough so it’s much better at keeping bread fresh compared to other containers with airtight seals that essentially suffocated the bread. The product is made of steel but is still surprisingly lightweight — I’ve owned some hefty bread bins which are not only big and bulky, but also super heavy to handle.

The piece de resistance has to be the lid of the Mattina bread box. Not only is it flat so you can stack other kitchen items on top (like this cute French butter crock), but it’s also made from bamboo, which has antimicrobial properties, and has little grooves to catch crumbs when you slice bread right on top. This way, you can toss them out easily, rather than have them sliding off onto the floor. And once you’re done slicing a few pieces, you can use the lid as a serving tray, too.

How Big Is the Mattina Bread Box?

The size of the Mattina is similar to a shoebox, so it doesn’t take up that much room on your counter. It’s a good size for my small apartment kitchen and can fit about three whole baguettes when cut in half, or about 10 medium homemade muffins if you don’t mind a snug fit.

How Do You Clean the Mattina Bread Box?

Cleaning the Alessi bread box is also easier than most bread boxes I’ve had. Some don’t have a detachable lid so you can only really wipe it down with a cloth, but the Mattina lid lifts right off and both pieces can be rinsed off quickly and dried with a clean dishcloth.

Unlike other bread bins that either look like hulking storage containers or novelty boxes with script on the side, the Mattina is sleek and modern, just like all the other Alessi kitchen gear I have (and I have a lot!). It looks great on my counter and does a great job of storing all my bakes so they stay fresh for days — or at least until I finish them. Now, time to make some room on the counter for the matching Mattina butter dish.

Buy: Alessi Mattina Bread Box, $160