You will know when they are ready, when you tap on the bottom of the loaf and it sounds hollow.
When coming out of the oven, let them cool completely before you start cutting into it. It's hard to resist but it will be worth the wait. If you cut into a loaf of bread prematurely, you will let the steam out, this is detrimental for the development of the crust.
Bread at my house keeps easily for a couple of days, that is if I am able to resist eating all of it. Don't put it in plastic, it will become chewy. A paper bag works, although it does dry the bread out a bit. I find just letting it sit on the counter works fine, I turn the cut side down. A wooden box would be ideal. You also have the option of freezing the bread. Let it defrost naturally and bake it for 15-20 minutes at 300F. This will refresh the bread.