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, it needs moisture for the starch to reform. Run the bread’s bottom surface with water from the tap. Put it inside a preheated oven at 200 C, and bake until the steam evaporates. In a few 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:
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Why does bread have a soft crust?
During baking the softening of the crust is down to short bake times reducing the amount of moisture that can exit the crumb. In this case as the bread cools the starch in the crust absorbs much of the excess moisture, making the crust area soft.
Further reading: How to make soft bread
Why Does Bread Crust Go Soft
Over time, crusty bread goes soft as the starch particles coagulate into their previous structure. This happens when bread is wrapped to prevent moisture loss. The crust area is where moisture loss will occur from the loaf. So it naturally draws water from the crumb.
The rate at which bread goes stale will increase in warm and humid conditions. If you’re a new home baker, cooling the bread properly might also even be a factor for this. So you may want to check out the how to cool bread article for a deeper grasp.
The best way to make bread crust crispy again
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.
How to revive stale bread:
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees (180C)
The ideal oven temperature for this is about 350 F, but using a lower or higher temperature range shouldn’t really be an issue. It’s actually a good idea to conserve energy and do this alongside food cooking inside the oven.
2. Wet the loaf under running water
This might sound unusual, but this is actually the key to the whole trick. Flip the bread over and let the bottom face the running water from the tap. Make sure 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!!
3. Wrap the bread
Cover the bread with two layers of aluminum foil. Make sure that it’s fully enclosed so no air can get in or out.
4. Bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes
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.
5. Take it out of the oven, unwrap and inspect
Wait a few minutes for it to cool off. If the crust isn’t crusty enough, put the bread back in the oven for another 2 minutes, without the foil.
Keep in mind that if your bread was sliced on one end, you may need to trim off some parts in the sides that have dried out.
This can almost pass as a freshly-baked bread, ready for you to eat! The water collected in the 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.
Tips on how to avoid your bread from getting stale and having a soft crust
- Let your freshly-baked bread cool off properly after baking. If you baked bread with a baking pan or parchment paper, remove it afterwards. Always put it in a cooling rack after getting it off the oven. Make sure that there’s an ample space so your bread can breathe.
- Don’t put your bread in the refrigerator. Putting freshly-baked bread inside a refrigerator will change the alignment of starch molecules. This is what’s causing bread to go stale. Reheating bread changes its starch molecules back. But this will cause the bread to go stale more quickly afterwards.
- Store your bread in a freezer. If you need to store your bread for a long time, a freezer is the way to go. Make sure to wrap it tightly so it can retain its moisture. So when you’re going to consume it already, it can still absorb the moisture. Let it come down to about room temperature before popping it in the oven for a few mins.
- You can store bread in a plastic bag, but don’t close it tightly. Let some of the moisture in the bread escape. This will slow the drying out of the bread and will keep the loaf fresh for about 3 days.