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Cooling the bread properly
Proper cooling can impact the quality of the loaf.
If cooled excessively, the bread will become drier and firmer, giving it a brittle, harsher eating quality.
When cooled too quickly, the loaf will become dehydrated, and the moisture loss will make it stale quicker.
You can also end up with too much moisture in the storage bag when you put an uncooled loaf in it.
You should place your loaves onto a cooling wire rack to cool them, allowing the air to circulate the loaves and keep the crust from becoming soggy. Leaving them on the pan to cool could result in a soggy bottom crust.
Never cool the bread in the oven
Suppose the baking time concludes, and the bread is in the oven. If you turn off the oven and leave the bread to cool in the oven that is still near baking temperature, you will dry out and possibly burn the bread.
Only wrap loaves once they’re fully cool
If you wrap it warm, condensation will form, causing a soggy crust and promoting spoilage.
Allow sitting for at least 15-30 minutes before you cut into your loaf
While the cooling process is happening, the starch retrogradation will complete as the water moves out evenly towards the crust.
For best results, place the baked bread on a wire cooling rack and allow it to cool completely for at least 15 to 30 minutes before slicing. However, 2 hours would be ideal if you can control yourself.
A loaf without enough cooling can gum up the slicer blade.
Also, if the loaf has enough cooling time, the sidewalls will be weak and can collapse when being sliced. You will end up with ragged slices, or the bread may tear from the excess moisture, which makes the loaf and the crumb too soft.
When your bread is ready for slicing, use an electric knife or a sharp serrated knife with deep serrations. It will make it easier and neater to cut even slices. For square pieces, place the loaf on its side and portion across.
You can also use a bread slicer for uniformly sized slices. They are inexpensive and can also be used for slicing bagels.
Some bread types do better being torn by hand, such as baguettes, as it gives them a more attractive texture.
Sliced bread allows air to come in contact with more of the bread, which causes the bread the dry out and stale faster. Wait to slice your bread until ready to eat it for the best results.
If you plan on storing the bread, cut only the amount to be consumed.
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