Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.
Today: Forgot to stale the bread? Not to worry -- stay calm, follow these steps, and carry on.
So you think your days of emergency bread-staling are over, do you? The stuffings behind you? There are bread puddings and breadcrumbs and croutons in your future yet. And amidst your adept holiday meal-planning -- and a Type A Google document or two -- you might (just might) let staling the bread slip.
When that happens, don't scrap the bread pudding. (Never scrap the bread pudding.) Here is what to do.
If you remember with a day to go, slice your loaf.
The more of the bread's surface area you expose to air, the faster it will stale; slice it, and you're giving yourself a leg up on the whole process. (If you'll eventually be cubing your bread, be careful to cut it into slices with the same thickness you'd like your cubes to have.) Lay the slices on a cooling rack you'd normally use for cookies, let the air circulate, and watch your bread go gloriously brittle. Tomorrow it will be ready to turn into breadcrumbs or put into that pudding.
If you truly have no time, turn to your oven.
Giving your bread a quick bake in a 350º oven will starve it of its moisture -- which is exactly what you're looking for. Cut your loaf into evenly-sized cubes -- or slices, if you're making this or this -- and toast, dry, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Proceed with your recipe. Please save us some.
How do you stale bread quickly? Tell us in the comments!
Photos by James Ransom