Take the 2-minute tour ×
Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Whenever I buy bread, it's flavor and texture is amazing in the first day. The bread is humid and soft. In 2 or 3 days, it gets hard. Is there some trick to renew the bread to a nicer state?

share|improve this question
1  
Your bread will take longer to get stale if you keep it away from direct sunlight and out of the refrigerator. –  Kate Gregory Mar 27 at 19:47
add comment

3 Answers 3

While it is never possible to restore bread to its fresh baked glory, toasting can help.

The main staling mechanism in bread is the re-crystalization of the formerly gelatinized starches, making the bread seem hard and dry.

Toasting heats the bread up, and helps the starches re-gelatinize, and so can help mitigate the staleness, although it is not a complete cure.

share|improve this answer
2  
I usually put it in the oven on a backing sheet with a small container (over proof) of water. –  Max Mar 27 at 17:02
    
Agree with Max: toast with water in the oven, and it is good to eat while still warm, reverts back to unpleasant upon cooling. –  rumtscho Mar 27 at 17:04
add comment

The trick I learned from my grandfather is harder to do these days because of the prevelance of plastic bags:

  1. Heat your oven.
  2. Wet down the inside of a paper bag.
  3. Place the loaf of bread in the paper bag, and fold it over to seal
  4. Place the paper bag in the oven.
  5. Extract it before the paper looks like it's getting crispy.

As rumtscho mentions in his comment, once it cools back down, it can firm back up, but I find that it'll take longer than just warming it up in a dry oven. (I don't know if it's an issue with extra heat being transfered in the water, so it takes longer to cool, or if there's something chemical going on).

And as I'll probably get questions about what oven temperature -- whatever temp you're baking everything else at. If you're not cooking anything else, try 300F / 150C ... it's most important to heat it up to generate steam on the inside of the bag, but not so hot that the bag combusts.

(white paper bags are better than brown in my opinion, as you can see 'em starting to char a little bit to signal when to remove them)

share|improve this answer
    
I should mention that you can remove 'em before the bag starts to char ... it's just that you really need to remove it if that starts to happen. –  Joe Mar 27 at 23:53
add comment

Bread actually gets stale because it has gotten too moist, not because it's actually dry as common sense would indicate. Put it in the oven at a low temperature for a while and it should be better.

share|improve this answer
1  
Aren't they the same thing? –  leon Mar 27 at 22:34
    
Oh, hahah, I miswrote that. The bread has become too moist when it gets stale. D'oh! Edited the original post. –  user3341874 Mar 28 at 0:52
    
This is incorrect. If the bread gets moist, it will harbor mold and spoil. Staling is a different mechanism. –  SAJ14SAJ Mar 29 at 1:48
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.