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October 14, 2006

Helpful Hints from joeeze: What is the best way to store an unfinished loaf of French bread?


From the current (November/December 2006) issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine:

A. Unless you store it correctly, there's often no good way to salvage a half-finished loaf of day-old French bread; your best bet is to use the stale pieces for bread crumbs, strata, or French toast. We tried several methods of keeping our leftover French bread fresh, both at room temperature and in the refrigerator: in its original paper bag, folded shut; wrapped tightly in aluminum foil; wrapped tightly in plastic wrap; and inside a large zipper-lock bag with the air pressed out.

Two days later, the room-temperature bread stored in the paper bag was hard, stale, and inedible. The foil-wrapped bread, on the other hand, was the best of the bunch. While it wasn't quite up to the standards of a fresh loaf (the crust had softened considerably and the interior crumb had gotten slightly chewier), it wasn't half bad, especially when crisped and "refreshed" for a few minutes in the toaster oven (or for five to seven minutes in a 375-degree oven). The bread stored in the zipper-lock bag was comparable, while the sample wrapped in plastic wrap — not quite as airtight as foil — was slightly staler. The refrigerated loaves didn't fare as well: They were drier, tougher versions of those left at room temperature.

So the next time you have a bit of baguette left over, store it at room temperature, tightly wrapped in foil or in a zipper-lock bag, and don't wait longer than a couple of days to eat it.

October 14, 2006 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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I store left over french bread in my dog. Funny, I've never asked for any of it back ;-)

Posted by: stephen bove | Oct 15, 2006 10:30:12 PM

Joy. Bread puddy. You can leave the raisins out. I know this violates some grand scheme, but the universe is still expanding. Even withOUT raisins.

Posted by: Mb | Oct 15, 2006 10:25:10 AM

The VERY best thing to do with leftover French or Italian bread... Save your bread during the week and make this on Saturday.

Bread pudding with Whiskey Sauce

Bread Pudding

1 qt. half and half
2 cups sugar
1 large loaf French bread
3 eggs
2 tbsp vanilla
1 c. raisins
1 stick butter

Tear bread into bits and place in greaded 13x9 pan. In separate container, mix milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla and raisins. Pour over bread and mash bread down till soaked. Top with one stick of butter cut into slices. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Whiskey Sauce

1/2 cup butter
1 small can evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk, beaten
1 jigger bourbon

Combine butter, milk, sugar and egg yolk in top of double boiler. Cook, stirring over simmering water till thickened. Stir in bourbon. Serve warm on bread pudding - or plain cake or, if you're like my family, just eat it straight out of the bowl with a spoon!

Posted by: Shawn Lea | Oct 14, 2006 7:51:34 PM

Refrigerator? They should have also tried the freezer: I don't know about French (or Italian) bread, but I keep sliced breads in the freezer, take out a few slices at a time, and either let them thaw in a plastic "lock" bag or toast them...

Posted by: Tequila Jack | Oct 14, 2006 6:52:40 PM

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