Lithiumphoto/ShutterstockWelcome to my worst nightmare: I prepared my favorite dip for a potluck party. As I’m getting ready to leave, I discover my beautifully soft baguette became rock hard overnight. My mind is racing with all the ways I can repurpose a stale loaf of bread with a recipe for homemade croutons or breadcrumbs, but I need ready-to-eat slices of bread now!
This nightmare scenario doesn’t have to end with buying a new loaf on my way to the party because we know a hack for how to fix stale bread. It really couldn’t be easier! This simple technique will soften even the crunchiest of bread, reviving that foregone loaf into like-new slices of bread again. Once you know how, you’ll want to tell your friends—you’ll be the lifesaver of the party!
How to soften stale bread
- One loaf of rock-hard or stale bread
- An oven
Step 1: Wet the loaf
I know this seems counterintuitive—won’t wet bread be soggy?—but trust us: You actually do want to stick that loaf of bread underneath the kitchen faucet. Turn the water on so it’s running in a slow, steady stream (it doesn’t matter if the water is hot or cold). Position the cut side of the loaf away from you, and run the stale loaf of bread under the running water. The goal is to moisten the crust without getting too much water on the interior. By the way, this is the correct way to cut your bread.
Step 2: Bake it
Set the oven to 300˚F and place the moistened loaf directly on the rack. The low temperature will heat the water, causing the bread to steam inside the crust. After 5 minutes, give the loaf a gentle squeeze. You’re looking for a crunchy-crusted bread that has some give when you compress it. You may need to bake the bread for up to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the loaf and how much water it absorbed.
Step 3: Enjoy your like-new bread!
Just like that, your bread is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside!
Now that you know how to refresh bread, you’ll never have to throw away a stale loaf of bread again! Use your revived bread to make lunch sandwiches, slice it and use it for one of these delicious bread appetizers, or serve it up with your favorite compound butter or spread. For more expert cooking hacks, check out these 25 brilliant kitchen shortcuts you’ll wish you knew sooner.