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Are you a bread wetter?


Fat Guy
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About a decade ago a friend demonstrated the following method for restoring day-old bread in the oven or toaster oven:

- Turn on faucet

- Run bread under faucet

- Toast on high temperature

A couple of caveats:

- You have to run the bread under the faucet ever so briefly. You just want to swipe it, really. The idea is just to get the exterior of the bread a little bit damp. You don't want to soak it. For the timid, this can also be accomplished by wetting your hands and feeling up the bread -- you may have to repeat a couple of times to get the whole surface damp, though, and the faucet method is faster.

- The true beauty of this method is what it does to the crust -- it gives it a fresh-baked flavor and texture. So this only works brilliantly with bread where most or all of the exposed surface is crust. So, like, a roll or a baguette or a piece thereof. It doesn't work as well with slices of bread -- though it does work.

Anybody else in the bread-wetting camp?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Hey! I was going to post on this and forgot...

A variation that I find better (less likely to result in soggy bread) is to put the bread in a plain paper bag, close the bag, wet the entire outside of the bag, and then put it all in the oven. I check it when the bag gets dry, and repeat the process if necessary until the bread is "rejuvenated". Of course, caution is important... I always stay pretty close/attentive when I do this, and try and keep the bag from sitting inside the oven while dried out.

My mom was the one who taught this to me, when I was younger... I have no idea where she learned it from, though.

Edited by feedmec00kies (log)

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Hey, Andie posted about this bread under the faucet method ages ago and I have been meaning to try it!

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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Oh, yeah, all my bread gets salvaged this way.

I don't run it under the faucet. I wet my hands and use them like a paintbrush to dab the water evenly on the outside of the bread.

Works really well even for bread that's a couple of days old.

The heat of the toaster evaporates the water ... it steams the inside of the bread, and then once the water's gone from the surface the surface can get toasted.

Notes from the underbelly

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I don't run it under the faucet. I wet my hands and use them like a paintbrush to dab the water evenly on the outside of the bread.

Yup- been doing it since childhood. I just get hands dripping wet and do a quick rub

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For the timid, this can also be accomplished by wetting your hands and feeling up the bread -- you may have to repeat a couple of times...

Oh my, feeling up bread.... :shock:

I've heard of this but never tried it.

There's an aging baguette waiting for me when I get home. :smile:

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Yep, this old gal has been sprinkleing bread for many years. I wet my hand and shake it over the bread (like we used to sprinkle clothes to iron before steam irons, Boy am I old or what?), then put the bread in foil for a few minutes, open the foil and let it crisp up. Saved many a loaf this way :wink:

Guess I'm a bread wetter from way back :biggrin:

Edited by cajungirl (log)

Just a simple southern lady lost out west...

"Leave Mother in the fridge in a covered jar between bakes. No need to feed her." Jackal10

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I'm so glad others are wetting their breads.

Now, all those of you who are using paper bags, foil and hands: these are a waste of your time. Once you master the faucet technique you can go from faucet to oven, no bag or foil, and your bread will come out beautifully. Try it.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Bread wetter's anonymous? I've always done this with stale baguettes but was ashamed of being called too cheap. This method works for frozen or stale char siu Bao as well, the only difference is, I nuke it in the microwave. Comes out fresh as if steamed recently. Does not work well for regular bread, gluten gets tough. Yes, I am a closet microwave user as well. :smile:

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You can also wet your hands, pat a stale tortilla on both sides, then heat up the tortilla in a hot skillet. At some point, turn the tortilla over to dry out the other side. This method is quick. You can have one tortilla heating in the skillet as you wet another one. A technique taught to me by a couple Mexican grandmothers, who thought I was crazy when I wrapped the tortillas in foil and then waited around for the oven to heat up. :laugh:

Edited by djyee100 (log)
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I'm so glad others are wetting their breads.

Now, all those of you who are using paper bags, foil and hands: these are a waste of your time. Once you master the faucet technique you can go from faucet to oven, no bag or foil, and your bread will come out beautifully. Try it.

Well I think it depends on the level of staleness. A rock hard baguette- yes. Exposed slices benefit from a little more control. Of course this is splitting hairs. I am just glad the word is being spread.

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Thanks for bringing back a memory - I now remember my grandmother teaching me this when I was little (using a paper bag). With my husband, the human eating machine around, there's never much of anything to refresh. :smile:

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I use this method a lot, but somehow it never seems as good. And I'm only talking about myself, because other people I know have done it, and their stale bread comes out great. Mine just always seem to get chewy OR by the time the crust is crusty the innards are still stale. Maybe I have the oven on too high...

...This method works for frozen or stale char siu Bao as well, the only difference is, I nuke it in the microwave. Comes out fresh as if steamed recently....

I also heat up my bao in the microwave too, but I never cop a feel on my bao, I just leave it in the wrapper. One or two minutes in the microwave and the plastic wrap just expands and essentially steams the bao. I've only tried this on baos i've made myself and are individually wrapped, not sure about commercial baos you can buy from the stores.

I just have to be sure not to over microwave it and once i take it out of the microwave i have to instantly take off the plastic wrap or it creates a vacuum and you have an imploded bao that is tough and extremely chewy - not a pleasant texture.

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This is a little bit bread wetty but with a slightly different spin. Chef-boy told me to brush my bread with milk to keep it from staling like when I had the tea room or to revive it a bit. Y'know for the little tea sandwiches. And yes I understand some folks are lactose intolerant. No worries I wasn't open long enough to kill anyone.

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