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 easy-peasy steps, and carry on.
So you think your days of emergency bread-staling are over, do you? The stuffing's behind you? There are bread puddings and breadcrumbs and croutons in your future yet. And amidst your adept holiday meal-planning, 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.
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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 350ºF oven will starve it of its moisture—which is exactly what you're looking for. Cut your loaf into evenly sized cubes or slices (depending on what you're making), and toast them, dry, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Proceed with your recipe. (Please save us some.)
French toast goes the savory route in this extra-crispy version with a healthy kick of salt and freshly ground pepper. Maple syrup gets swapped for ketchup, or if you're feeling like something spicy, Sriracha.
I have a thing for most foods topped with a fried egg, a strange disdain for overly soupy tomato sauce, and I can never make it home without ripping off the end of a newly-bought baguette. I like spoons very much.