There is never a shortage of delicious stale bread recipes out there. You want to try one of them ASAP, but all you have is fresh store-bought bread. Fret not — while there are ways to keep bread soft and fresh, there are also ways to make it deliberately go stale without delay for various culinary purposes.
Letting as much moisture escape from the bread as possible can make it stale quickly. This can be done by slicing up the bread to allow moisture in it to evaporate without much trouble. Refrigerating the bread can also make it go stale faster. Baking it for about 15 minutes at 350°F may be done, too.
Below, we will talk about some of the steps you may take in order to speed up the staling process of bread. By giving any of them a go, you will be able to try the stale bread recipe you just came across online right away.
But before anything else, let’s answer this pressing question…
What Makes Bread Go Stale?
Loss of moisture is the primary reason why bread becomes stale. Moisture from the center moves into the crust, which then evaporates into the environment. It’s due to this why stale bread is hard and dry.
The changes in the molecular structure of starch in bread also contribute to bread going stale.
Bread is at its peak freshness after it’s been removed from the oven and has cooled down.
Needless to say, the process of staling starts soon after. How long bread becomes completely stale will depend on factors that can impact the rate of moisture loss, such as how you store it or where in the kitchen you place it.
It takes about five to seven days for store-bought bread to go stale in the pantry. They include white bread, whole-grain and multi-grain varieties.
On the other hand, homemade bread can become stale at a slightly faster rate, about four to five days when stored in the pantry.
Ensuring that as very little moisture as possible will be able to escape is one way to keep the bread from staling faster, which is why it’s a good idea to store bread in a plastic bag or wrap it in aluminum foil. But be warned: trapped moisture can compromise the quality of the crust, which toasting can deal with right away.
In order to fend off staling, keep the moisture intact. But if the recipe calls for the use of stale bread and you can’t wait for days for bread to naturally go stale, all you have to do is allow as much moisture to go in less time.
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And this takes us to the hub of this article, which is none other than…
How Do You Make Bread Go Stale on Purpose?
To make bread go stale deliberately, one must allow as much moisture in it to evaporate. This can be done by slicing up the bread to expose as much surface area to the air. Placing it in the oven for about 15 minutes is another way. Storing bread in the refrigerator will make it go stale faster.
Bread can become stale within five to seven days. Proper storage can delay the staling process, and improper storage can make bread hard and dry in no time.
The following are some of the things you may do to have stale bread ASAP:
Unlike most food products, the lifespan of bread becomes shorter in the refrigerator. It has something to do with the fact that low temperatures can change the molecular structure of starch in bread, in particular causing them to crystallize. When this happens, bread becomes dry and hard at a faster rate than it would when stored at room temperature.
The crust can keep moisture from inside the bread to evaporate quickly.
So, in other words, it helps to keep the bread soft and moist for a long time. And this is why slicing up the bread can make it stale faster — the smaller the pieces you cut it up into, the faster the staling process.
Placing sliced up bread on a rack is a good idea, too.
Place in the Oven
As mentioned earlier, the process of staling starts as soon as the bread is removed from the oven. The oven is also something that can make bread stale in no time.
All you have to do is preheat the oven at 350°F (149°C) and bake the bread for 15 minutes or until it’s hard, dry and lightly toasted. Slicing up bread beforehand can make the process go faster.
Stale vs. Spoiled Bread: What’s the Difference?
Stale bread is bread that’s hard and dry. On the other hand, spoiled bread is bread that’s harboring disease-causing microbes, such as mold. Stale bread is safe to eat, which is why recipes were created to keep stale bread from going to waste. Meanwhile, spoiled bread is no longer safe to eat.
It’s perfectly fine to cook with stale bread. The same cannot be said for spoiled bread.
Not a lot of people know that stale bread and spoiled bread are two different things. Bread turning stale is just an issue related to quality — it no longer has a crunchy crust and the center is no longer soft and moist. In order for you to be able to enjoy stale bread, you will have to do a lot of tearing and chewing.
On the other hand, bread turning spoiled is more than just bread losing its quality — it’s bread losing its being fit for human consumption because of microbial growth.
Bread is highly susceptible to mold formation. The minute mold spores land on it, they will begin to multiply.
That’s because many of the ingredients in bread are good sources of nutrition for mold. Bread that has a lot of moisture in it grows mold faster, which is why leaving bread in a plastic bag for a long time is a complete no-no.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) says you should not eat bread even with the smallest traces of mold because mold on the surface sends microscopic tendrils deep into bread.
Some people who accidentally eat moldy bread will probably not experience any unfavorable symptoms — the worst thing that could happen to them is being grossed out after realizing they just consumed something with the fuzzy green stuff. However, the same cannot be said for people who are sensitive to mold.
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, shortness of breath and even death — these are the things that could happen to some with mold sensitivity, depending on their age and health status.
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Just Before You Make Bread Stale
In most instances, the goal is to keep the bread soft and fresh. This can be done by placing it in a plastic bag, wrapping it in aluminum foil or simply keeping it in a bread box.
However, there are times, too, in which making bread go stale at a much faster rate is a must. This is especially true if you can’t wait to give a recipe that calls for the use of stale bread a try but all you have is bread fresh from the store. It’s a good thing that you can deliberately make bread stale rather than wait for about a week.
By following the steps on how to make bread stale given above, you can start whipping up a masterpiece that requires the use of stale instead of fresh bread.
Can you store bread in the freezer to keep it from getting stale?
With the exception of French baguettes and other crusty ones, most store-bought bread can be stored in the freezer for four to six months. However, to avoid freezer burn, squeeze out as much air from the freezer-safe bag as possible before storing bread in the freezer.
How do you soften stale bread?
In order to revive stale bread, preheat the oven to 350°F (149°C). Place stale bread under running water quickly to make the outside wet. Place wet bread on a baking sheet and bake for six to ten minutes. Stale bread can also be wrapped in a damp piece of paper towel and then microwaved for around ten seconds.