How Do You Make Baked Bread Crispy?

September 13, 2022
Written by Allyza Cepeda
Crispy Bread

If you love bread and had one where the crust has gone soft. What do you do—do you throw it away or try to make it crusty again? Yes, the latter is possible. Here’s how!

When bread dries out, its crust softens in the process. To make your bread’s crust crispy again, it needs moisture so the starch can reform. Just quickly run tap water to the bread’s bottom and then put it inside a preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius. Bake until the steam evaporates and you’ll have a near freshly-baked bread that’s crispy!

Why does bread have a soft crust?

Before we delve deeper into how to make bread crusty again, it’s worth tackling why it goes soft in the first place. 

During baking, the crust softens due to a short bake time. This reduces the amount of moisture that exits the crumb. And as the bread cools, the starch in the crust area absorbs the excess moisture, which then makes the crust area soft.

Why Does Bread Crust Go Soft

Bread goes soft over time as the starch particles gel together and transforms into their previous structure.

This happens when you wrap bread to prevent moisture loss. The crust area is where the loss of moisture usually happens since it naturally attracts water from the crumb.

The speed at which bread goes stale also increases in warm and humid conditions. That’s why it’s important to cool the bread properly so it doesn’t stale much faster.

The best way to make bread crust crispy again

best way to make bread crust crispy again

The best thing you can do to revive stale bread or a soft crust is to do the following:

1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius)

The ideal oven temperature to make baked bread crispy is about 350 F. However, using a bit of a lower or higher temperature wouldn’t be an issue as well.

2. Wet the loaf under running water 

This part is the key to reviving your bread’s crust. Just flip your bread and run the bottom part under a tap’s running water.

Remember, the entire bottom of the bread’s surface should be covered with water, but be mindful of not soaking the whole thing though! The base is the only part that should be wet!

3. Wrap the bread

Cover the bread with aluminum foil and use two layers. The bread should be fully enclosed so no air will get in or out.

4. Bake in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes

Now bake your covered bread on a sheet pan or the oven grates.

You’ll immediately notice that it will steam as soon as it goes in. Depending on your bread’s size, the steam will likely evaporate within 5 to 10 minutes. After that, the bread is ready to be taken out of the oven.

5. Take it out of the oven and unwrap

Let it cool off for a few minutes and if the top part isn’t crusty enough, put it back in the oven for another 2 minutes. This time without the foil. Take note that if your bread has been sliced on one end, some of the dried-out parts may need to be trimmed. 

This is the closest you can get to freshly-baked bread.

It will be ready to eat and the water that accumulated inside the dough will spread throughout the bread. This will turn it back to its original light and fluffy texture, similar to bread that has just been baked. The steam will also make the bread’s crust crispy again.

How to avoid your bread from getting stale and having a soft crust

How Avoid Stale Bread?
  • Always let freshly-baked bread cool off properly after baking. If you cover your bread with parchment paper while baking, make sure to remove it. Once it has finished baking, put it on a cooling rack after. There should be enough space so your bread can breathe.
  • It’s also important to not put your bread in the refrigerator after baking it. Putting freshly-baked bread into a cool environment will change the alignment of its starch molecules. This is what causes bread to go stale although reheating bread will change back its starch molecules. However, this causes the bread to go stale much more quickly.
  • What we recommend doing instead is to store your bread in the freezer. This is the best way especially if you’re storing your bread for a long time. Just make sure to wrap your bread tightly so it retains its moisture while being stored. If you’re about to eat it, let it come down to room temperature and then pop it in the oven for a few minutes.
  • You can also store your bread in a plastic bag, just don’t close it tightly so some of the moisture in the bread can escape. This will slow down your bread’s drying process and will keep it fresh for about three days.

What if the opposite happens and the crust of your bread becomes too hard?

There are several reasons why the crust of bread becomes too hard. For one, baking bread at too high temperatures will cause a hard outside crust. To prevent this from happening, bake at a moderate temperature (350°F to 375°F). 

Another factor is dark baking pans since the color of a pan can influence what you’re baking. Dark pans absorb more heat and this transfers to whatever you’re baking such as bread.

Make sure to reduce the oven temperature by 25°F or just use a light-colored baking pan.

Some bakers use glass pans and glass is that it conducts heat more than metal. If using glass, reduce the oven temperature by 25°F or just use a light-colored baking pan as well.

Another reason for a hard crust is when moisture evaporates quickly. This typically happens at high altitudes. If you’re in such an environment, check your bread for doneness ten minutes before the minimum baking time indicated in the recipe you’re following. 

Just insert a wooden pick into the center of the bread you’re baking. And if it only has just a few moist crumbs sticking to it, your bread is done. This way, you don’t overbake it to the point that the crust hardens.

Allyza Cepeda
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