The Romans deserve credit for many things, like democracy and engineering, but did you know the Romans also deserve credit for toast?
The word “toast” even comes from the Latin “tostum,” which means “to burn or scorch”. But, there’s a flaw to their creation, and it’s how to keep toast fresh.
The simplest way to keep toast fresh is to keep it in an oven on low. You can also cool it on a rack so that air can circulate. If you put it on a pan, moisture can accumulate at the bottom, making that side soggy.
If you’ll bring toast with you, let it cool completely before packing it. You also want to keep your packed toast separate from wet ingredients.
Having perfectly toasted bread is one of life’s simplest comfort foods. So it’s worth knowing how to keep toast fresh. Keep reading below to know all the tips and tricks.
How Toast Gets Soggy
Right after toasting your bread, your likely first instinct is to put it on a plate. If you do that it will eventually get soft. Toast gets soft when it accumulates moisture.
So where does the moisture come from?
From the air.
Fresh hot toast heats up the surrounding air. The air inside the nooks and crannies of the bread is of course hot too. When you put the toast on a plate, warm air continues to exit the toasted bread from both the top and bottom.
When we put food on a plate, the plate is usually cool or room temperature. So as warm air exits the bottom of the toast, it comes into contact with the cool plate.
This sudden change in temperature causes the moisture in the warm air to condensate at the bottom of the toast. The toast then absorbs these condensates, softening them.
So if you want to keep toast fresh, below are two simple ways to do it.
Keep Toast Warm
This method is short-term only, like at most 30 minutes. A perfect example is when you just made toast, but you want to save for the middle or end of your meal. You pop the toast in an oven to keep it warm. Keep the oven on low.
Since its surroundings will be warm, the warm air from and around the toast will not condensate. This method is for short-term only because it isn’t economical to keep the oven running for a few slices of bread.
Put the toast on a rack so the hot air can properly circulate. If you put it on a pan, then there’s a chance that condensation can occur at the bottom.
Let Toast Cool On A Rack
You now know that if you put hot toast on a cool plate, warm air continues to exit the bottom of the toast and hits the plate. The warm air comes into contact with the cool plate, then the moisture in this warm air condensates. An easy fix to this problem is to not put the toast on a plate. Instead, put it on a rack. The rack will allow the warm air from the toast to keep circulating. Hence, it prevents condensation.
Toast racks were made specifically for this purpose. If you don’t have a toast rack, you can use the following as a substitute.
- Baking cooling rack
- Removable grate from a gas stove
- Cookie cutters
- Rolled up pieces of aluminum foil
- The rolled-up foil will act like the grills on a rack. Make sure they’re tall enough to allow proper air circulation at the bottom
Another easy way to make your toast seem like it’s freshly made is to reheat it. If you’ll put it back in the toaster, do it only for a few seconds. If it’s too long you’ll burn it, so you may want to stay close to it. Another way is to pop it in the oven.
Bringing Toast With you
Some people like to pack sandwiches with toasted bread. There are ways to keep the bread from getting soggy as you take it with you.
Before fixing the sandwich, let the toast completely cool on a rack. When it’s cool, you have two ways to go about packing your food.
Don’t Put In Wet Ingredients
Moisture accumulation is the enemy of crisp toast. So when bringing a sandwich with toasted bread, don’t put in the wet ingredients yet. So avoid ingredients like ketchup or mustard.
Don’t even put in solid foods with high moisture content. So also avoid ingredients like pickles and tomatoes. If you want these foods to be part of your sandwich, bring them with you.
Keep your partial sandwich in an air-tight container. When it’s time to eat, then finish making your sandwich.
Keep The Ingredients Separately
Alternatively, don’t even begin making your sandwich at home. Bring all the ingredients with you and keep your toast in a separate air-tight container. When it’s time to eat, then assemble your sandwich.
It can be a hassle to bring any or all your sandwich ingredients separately. But it’s the price you pay for crisp toasted bread. If you want to go the extra mile, put silica gel packs with your toast. The silica gel packs will more favorably absorb any moisture in the container.
Think About Your Bread
You can make toast using any kind of bread, but some kinds are better for making toast. The main attraction of toast is its crispiness.
So making toast from light and fluffy bread like brioche isn’t the best idea. Dense and dry bread would be more appropriate. Examples include ciabatta, challah, and baguette.
Some cooks say that whole wheat bread make the best toast. The texture of whole wheat bread is coarser compared with white bread. Whole wheat breads are also denser. These traits are what we look for in toasted bread.
How To Store Toast
Besides bringing the toast with you, you may be saving some for later. So you want a way to store toast so that it still remains fresh.
Before you begin storing it, make sure it has completely cooled down as mentioned above. Place the toast in an air-tight container. You can add silica gel packs to keep the toast from absorbing moisture. Then place the container in the refrigerator. The bread can keep for 24 hours.
Ideally you do the steps above for toasted bread alone. You can still do those steps for toast that’s already in a sandwich. However, the results may not be as good. The toast can absorb any of the moisture in the other ingredients of the sandwich.
The sandwich can keep for a few hours, depending on the ingredients. The less the wet ingredients, the longer the sandwich can keep.
Can you make toast without a toaster or oven?
If you have a stove and a skillet or pan, then you can make toast. Heat the bread on the pan on medium heat. If you have a gas stove, you can even toast the bread directly on the flame. The result will be similar to making toast with a campfire.
Can you toast stale bread?
You can make toast with stale bread. But instead of making regular toast, many people will suggest making French toast. With French toast, you soak the bread in a mixture. The mixture normally has eggs, sugar, and other flavorings. The stale bread absorbs this mixture better than fresh bread.