Whether it’s homemade or not, we don’t want to throw a loaf of bread when the crust has gone soft, right? But what if you really love crusty bread? Is it possible to make bread crusty again? Well, it is! Read on to learn this trick!
Bread softens in the crust area as the loaf dries out. To make bread crusty again the starch needs moisture to reform. Run the bread’s bottom surface with water from the tap. Put it inside a preheated oven at 180C, and bake until the steam evaporates. In 5-10 minutes, you’ll have almost freshly-baked bread with a crispy crust!
Before we start discussing how to make bread crusty again, let’s tackle why it goes soft in the first place:
The crust of bread becomes soft when it is baked quickly. More moisture is trapped in the core of the bread when bake times are kept short. The moisture migrates to the thick crust, where the starch absorbs the escaping water and turns soft.
Further reading: How to make soft bread
Over time, crusty bread goes soft as the starch particles coagulate into their previous structure. This releases water, and when the bread is wrapped, it traps the water. The crust area draws water from the crumb, and the bread turns soft.
The rate bread goes stale increases in warm and humid conditions. If you’re a new home baker, how you cool the bread is also a factor. Check the how to cool bread article for a deeper grasp.
Here is the best thing you can do to revive your stale bread or soft crust. It works if your bread is homemade or store-bought, as long as it is not pre-sliced. This can almost pass as freshly-baked bread, ready for you to eat! The water collected inside of the dough will permeate through the bread. It will return to its original light and fluffy self like it’s just been baked. The created steam will also make the crust crispy again.
How to revive stale bread:
The ideal oven temperature for this is about 350 F, but using a lower or higher temperature shouldn’t be an issue. It’s actually a good idea to conserve energy and do this alongside food cooking inside the oven.
This might sound unusual, but this is the key to the trick. Flip the bread over and let the bottom face the running water from the tap. Ensure that the entire bottom surface is covered with water, but be mindful not to soak the whole thing! The bottom is the only part that needs to get wet!!
Cover the bread with two layers of aluminium foil. Make sure that it’s fully enclosed so no air can get in or out.
You can set partially moistened bread either right side up on a sheet pan or directly on the oven grates. Either way, it will steam as soon as it goes in. Depending on the size of the bread, after 5-10 minutes, all the steam will have evaporated, and the bread is ready.
Remove the foil from the bread, and If the crust isn’t crusty enough bake on the shelf of the oven for another 2-5 minutes.
Wait a few minutes for it to cool on a wire cooling rack. If your bread was sliced on one end, you might need to trim off some dry parts.
Hi, I’m Gareth Busby, a baker, bread baking coach and college lecturer. My goal is to help you to make better bread and learn about the baking industry.
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