If you’ve ever let a loaf of bread get so stale that it won’t even make decent croutons, you know that shameful feeling that comes with throwing it out. Be ashamed no longer: This life-changing (we really mean that) tip for reviving stale bread is so effective, we can’t believe we hadn’t discovered it sooner. Here’s how save your next loaf that’s going south.
1. Be Sad; Your Bread Has Gone Stale
Let’s get one thing straight: Bread that’s gotten moldy is beyond repair. So sad. Compost it and move on. But if your loaf has just gotten a little crusty and tough, there is hope. Read on.
2. Stick the Bread Under Water
This step might seem terrifying at first, but stay with us. Turn on a faucet of running water—either hot or cold will do—and stick that loaf of bread right under it. Try to position it so the exposed or cut-side is facing away from the faucet, but if the loaf’s interior gets wet, fear not. Food director Carla Music has performed this trick with a totally saturated loaf to great success. Don’t be timid; get the crust good and wet before proceeding.
3. Put the Bread In the Oven
If your oven has a “warm” setting and you’ve been waiting to use it, this is your moment. If not, just set it to 300-325 degrees and pop the bread in the oven, directly on the rack. Set a timer for 6-7 minutes, depending on the size of the loaf—or 10-12 for a super wet loaf (like one whose interior has gotten drenched). What emerges will be a good-as-new loaf: Moist on the inside, crackly-crust on the outside.
4. Be Happy! You Now Have a Fresh Loaf of Bread
What is this trickery? How does this all work? The water turns to steam, which rehydrates the bread’s crumb, or interior, while the heat of the oven firms up the crust. As a bonus, your kitchen smells great. Now grab that jam—we’ve got a loaf of bread to eat.