Staling of sourdough is largely reversible
Contrary to popular belief, staling is not primarily about drying out, but rather the way the water interacts with the flour particles, a phenomenon scientists call ‘starch retrogradation’. Even when sourdough bread goes hard, most of the moisture is still hiding in there; it just needs to be unlocked.
HOW TO REVIVE ‘STALE’ BREAD – REHEAT IT!
The magic number is 60°C – when the interior hits that temperature, freshness is restored. Prepare to be amazed!
- Toast it
Pop a slice in the toaster so the inside becomes soft and moist and the outside deliciously crunchy. Even a week old, a slice of our rye bread becomes soft and delicious when warmed briefly in the toaster.
- “Refresh” (re-bake) it
Take a ‘stale’ loaf of sourdough bread, splash the top with water or toss half a cup of boiling water into a pan preheated in the oven, and re-bake at 180/200C (preheated; fan/conventional) to restore to its just-baked condition. Indicative times are: 5-8 minutes for small loaves like baguette or ciabatta, 12-15 minutes for a 500-1000g loaf. Squeeze it and you will hear the crust crackle and feel that the inside has been restored to the soft and yielding crumb it had when it first came out of the oven. Once you have refreshed bread, it is best eaten the same day as it will quickly go stale.