The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Nwebie question - Cooling the fresh baked loaf

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Mako's picture
Mako

Nwebie question - Cooling the fresh baked loaf

 

Ok newbie question (I cant seem to find the answer searching, though I'm sure its been asked before)

It seems taboo around here to cut into a fresh baked loaf of bread.  If I'm going to eat it right away then it seems a no brainer to cut into a hot loaf.  I love the bread hot out of the oven, it seems to taste best then.  I concede that a loaf "finishes" cooking as it cools (just like a piece of meat, steak, roast etc)  and it would loose steam if it was cut.

 

also how do you cool your loaves, just leave them on a wire rack?  if I finish cooking late at night, I usually put my loaves on a cooling rack inside a paper bag, to keep a little air off them, but not  trap moisture and ruin the crust

egoldstein's picture
egoldstein

I just set it on a cutting board and cover with one of my cloths.  I often finish my baking late at night set it up like this and bag it up in the morning.

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

"I love the bread hot out of the oven, it seems to taste best then. "

Then let the bread cool, and then reheat it briefly (this'll also really crisp up the crust, which can be rather nice).  That way the loaf fully sets up.  Otherwise you risk doughy, uncooked insides.  Not fun.

Too impatient to wait for it to cool?  Use a small fan.  That'll cut cooling time down by 1/2 to 1/4 (at the risk of drying the crust out a bit).

"also how do you cool your loaves, just leave them on a wire rack?"

Yup.

"if I finish cooking late at night, I usually put my loaves on a cooling rack inside a paper bag, to keep a little air off them, but not  trap moisture and ruin the crust"

Yeah, I usually try to time things so that's not a problem.  Otherwise, it's up late with the fan. :)  Then I either bag the dough (paper or plastic depending on the style of loaf), or wrap it and freeze it right away.

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

tough to do when you have the wonderful aroma just begging you to cut a slice. I'm always telling my husband "it's not cool yet" but, have sometimes relented and let him slice one. There's something about warm bread from the oven and butter. Yeah, it's harder to slice, squishes the loaf, softens the crust..but who do I bake for..him. If he wants to eat it warm, so be it. If you want to eat it warm, who cares what everyone says..it's your bread.

The loaves that go out of the house as gifts are properly cooled.

I do cool on a rack. Usually I'll bake late afternoon and then let them sit overnight  uncovered. Then wrapped and frozen or bagged.

Betty

RiverWalker's picture
RiverWalker

there must be an extra seductive power when its not your own cooking, my fiancee is always dying over wanting to try it before its even cool enough to hold bare handed, lol.


 


at least most of the time with full loaves theres enough "no really, it has to cool longer!" to restrain.  besides we find that an un-cut loaf is harder to nibble at since you can't skim off little slices "without anyone noticing".

Windischgirl's picture
Windischgirl

What I sometimes do is deliberately shape a portion of my dougn into a bread that's meant to be eaten warm...think foccacia or fougasse. or rolls  The remainder gets shaped into a loaf that can cool overnight for toast and sandwiches the next day.

We get to have our loaf and eat it too!  (sorry!) 

 

Windi

Philadelphia PA

LindyD's picture
LindyD

I have a large wire rack for cooling bread, cookies, etc.  I don't cover the bread until after it has been cut, or if it is going into the freezer after it has cooled.

Since I bake primarily sourdough, I always allow it to cool overnight to allow the flavor to fully develop.  I personally don't think any good bread will taste its best if eaten right out of the oven because it hasn't had time go develop its full character or even firm up. 

I can't say the same for my kids, who will snitch the Ancienne baguettes the moment they are moved to the rack.  Even waving my peel at them doesn't save the bread. They're like rogue chipmunks.

rileybri's picture
rileybri

I am a fan of multi tasters (thanks AB) and use a mesh saute platter guard up on glasses like the one shown here. 

Abracaboom's picture
Abracaboom

I always aim to have the bread ready for dinner, but for one reason or another dinner time always arrives with my loaves still warm. I can hold off the wife and kids for about 15 minutes with quotations from this forum about how one should really let the loaves cool down completely, but when the serious rioting starts I have no option but to yield to their demands. They don't seem to mind the warm bread, nor are they moved by my stoicity when I wave off their offers of warm bread with butter. . . for about 5 minutes.