Step Number 13 – Cooling

A simple as cooling down may sound, it is just as important as all the other steps.

Technically the bread begins to go stale as soon as it comes out of the oven.

Most breads are best left to cool down and then eaten when at room temperature. The exception is flat breads and pizza or when you are super hungry and cannot wait no longer!

The inside of bread is still developing while cooling down. If you cut into a loaf right way, it will be gummy, and the flavour will be bland. It might be pleasant to eat a warm piece of bread, but you will not be getting the best flavour experience.

When it comes to rye bread it should be left to cool for at least 24 hours before cutting. While it is warm the flavour will not be developed yet, and the crumb will be very gummy.

Cool the loaves on a rack if you have one. Or lean them against a surface so that they are not touching a solid surface with the bottom as this will trap steam and result in a soggy bottom.

Never refrigerate or freeze bread. Contrary to popular belief bread stales more quickly in the fridge than it would at room temperature. This is when preferments come in. A bread made with prefermented flour or a sourdough bread will keep fresh for much longer because of acidity.

My best suggestion and a way that I go about my baking is – make smaller loaves and bake more often. You will always have fresh bread and you will get to bake more. Although larger loaves will stay fresh for longer, but who wants to eat the same bread for a whole week anyway?!

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