Out of the oven
The bread is unbaked, it leaves the oven which is at 250°C approximately, and will wait on a rack or a grid a few minutes before going on the shelves, it is what the bakers call "ressuage".
It cools down slowly, especially if it is a big piece, and for the moment it remains crispy, no secret it is the best time to taste it!
With time comes the staling
Then, as time goes by, some of the moisture that is contained in the heart of the bread by the cooking, will slowly migrate from the crumb (center) to the crust (periphery), it does not change its taste, but the crust softens and the initial crispness goes away...
You can't do anything against that, it's in the order of things in baking, but note that it's not as fast on a well or very well baked bread, as on a poorly or under baked one.
It must even happen, in time, the bread must evacuate some of its water otherwise it becomes elastic.
This softening is also accentuated by a poor quality of bread (flours, workmanship, fermentation), you may have already seen those tragic undercooked and softened baguettes, with which it is possible to tie a knot without breaking it.
But no bread escapes it, that's how it starts to stale more or less quickly: It ends up losing almost all its internal moisture to become dry.
What to do?
As I said, we cannot prevent, but we can limit, a little, the staling in time, here are some tracks:
- I have already mentioned it, but it is important to remember, a well baked bread will keep longer than a bread that is not
- A sourdough bread will keep better and longer than a yeast bread
- A well-baked sourdough bread, even better.
- Once the bread has cooled down (this is very important), you can store it in something closed, the ancients used a bread bin, a kind of wooden box lined with cloth, and we would tend to use a plastic bag now.
It's a mistake to use a plastic bag, because it keeps your bread soft, but it quickly becomes rubbery, and your bread needs to breathe anyway.
A much better solution is a canvas bag (cotton, linen...), it keeps your bread in good conditions, letting it breathe without letting it completely dry as if it was in the open air.
You can buy one of course, but if you know how to saw, which I don't, a cotton bread bag is (I'm told) a pretty easy thing to do.
If you find yourself with dry bread one day, don't throw it away, in fact we should never throw away bread, it was just unthinkable with my grandparents' generation.
Here are a few ways to use it anyway:
- There is dry and dry, put it in the toaster, and what you thought was dry might become soft enough for a breakfast sandwich
- Dry enough? Make French toast
out of it, or quiche
, or croutons
- Too dry? Turn it into homemade breadcrumbsTo sum up
: Staling and drying of bread is normal, but you can limit staling by storing bread in a canvas bag (not plastic).
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