The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

That crispy, chewy texture -- the next day

jjudson's picture
jjudson

That crispy, chewy texture -- the next day

We absolutely love that crispy, chewy, fresh-out-of-the-oven texture that you get with a loaf on baking day.  My wife and I look forward to "fresh-bread day" for breakfast -- every third day.  We make an artisanal sourdough using flour from Carolina Grounds, water, and sourdough starter.  It's great on the first day, but as everyone knows, the loaves lose that great texture within hours out of the oven.  The next day it's "meh".  It definitely makes us look forward to "fresh-bread day" though.

So I'm wondering:  How can we get that with a day-old loaf?  Can it be popped back into the oven to get close to that fresh-baked texture again?  If so, what would be the procedure?

Thanks!

HansB's picture
HansB

I just lay the loaf cut side down on a cutting board and get great texture for a few days. If you wrap in plastic the crust will soften quickly. 

jjudson's picture
jjudson

Right now we wrap it loosely in foil.

HansB's picture
HansB

Anytime you wrap bread it will get soft, especially if it is not completely cooled. Try just laying it cut side down, see if that works better for you.

Teryeasta Breadloaf's picture
Teryeasta Breadloaf

If you wrap it in plastic to preserve moisture but then after a few days pop it in the oven for a while, does the crust get good again? 

Weizenbrot's picture
Weizenbrot

... at around 350-375F/175-190C for a few minutes. The cut side dries out slightly, but the crust crisps up and the crumb returns to almost fresh-baked condition. 

I do the same for store-bought breads that have lost that fresh-baked texture.

jjudson's picture
jjudson

We tried HansB's suggestion and it definitely had better tooth than wrapping it.  I'm going to try Weizenbrot's suggestion (what's with all of the Octoberfest names on this thread? it's making me thirsty!) and see how that works out.  I might even wrap it up the night before as Teryeasta says and see if there's a difference from the oven between wrapped or not.  I'll report back here with my results.  Thanks for the recommendations and help!

Now I have to go crack open a good bottle of Augustiner-Bräu...

the hadster's picture
the hadster

Chiming in a bit late.

First, as mentioned previously, make sure your bread is completely cool before you cut into it.  I have to bake 2 loaves for my family.  I make one for the meal and a small one to be ripped into as soon as its cool enough to touch.  What is it about warm bread?

Anyway, I store my bread in the microwave.  There is just enough air to keep the crust from getting too soft but the tight seal on the microwave keeps the bread from getting stale quickly.  I've tried paper bags, bags made especially for storing bread, a piece of foil just on the cut side, cut side down on the cutting board, cut side down on the cutting board with a paper bag over the top, with a plastic bag over the top... you name it, I've probably tried it.

I keep going back to the microwave.

I find that if the bread is uncut, 5 minutes in a warm oven (350ish) is enough to restore the crust to its just baked glory.

I prefer a slightly tighter crumb to my bread.  For bread that has been sliced into, I cut my slices nice and thick and toast them.  So, for the next meal, if using bread that has been sliced into and stored, I serve it toasted.  The tighter crumb I prefer plus the thickness of the slices - as big as my toaster will permit, about 1 inch - means that the toast stays hot for a long time.  I slice as much as will be needed and toast just was is required for the first round.  A quick jump from the table to toast the second round takes no time at all.

I usually bake in the morning, so my bread has been out of the oven for about 5 or 6 hours by the time dinner rolls around.  I find that 5 minutes in the oven that has been turned off, or preheated just for the bread and then turned off, while I get dinner on the table and the family in their chairs, is enough to bring the morning's bread back to just out of the oven glory.  The thorough cooling means that the moisture has had time to equalize, so the crumb has that lovely custardy, shiny goodness...

HansB's picture
HansB

I think I'll try cut side down in the microwave next time.

plevee's picture
plevee

Toast.