Hold On To Your Bread Heels To Keep The Loaf Fresh

As beautiful as a freshly-baked bread loaf might be, its days are numbered. Bread lovers around the world are keenly aware of this fact, using bread boxes and careful wrappings to keep loaves soft, moist, and enjoyable as long as possible. And while discarding those dense, harder ends might be tempting to get to the stuff that is perfect for sliced pieces of toast, you may want to stop yourself from hasty decisions.

Today calls the heel the "reject piece," the crusty part of the bread that is best set aside or used in another recipe like bread pudding or stew. Though the heel might not be as easy to bite into as the bread's spongy middle and may, indeed, be better used for softening hardened brown sugar, per Kitchn, those durable ends have plenty of value. 

Bread's outer ends are in no way the lesser of the whole and can be used to keep loaves fresher for longer.

No piece left behind

Unsliced baked bread can be appealing not only because they often lack the additives commonly found in pre-sliced supermarket loaves, but they can stay fresher for longer, recognizes Wonder How ToStarch is to blame, as in its natural form the compound is stiff, losing its structure when introduced to water and higher temperatures throughout the baking process (via BBC Science Focus). Once cooled, starch re-organizes and results in tougher pieces of stale bread. This happens when bread is exposed to air, explains Food Crumbles, and why it is imperative to safeguard bread from air as much as possible to prolong the life of a loaf.

Bread heels can act as a kind of bread cover, preserving bread and protecting it from the drying impact of air, instructs Food & Wine. The goal is to keep bread away from elements that will take away from its freshness, and the heel can help you do that. Yummy agrees: Beginning and end pieces keep loaves enjoyable for longer, as the hearty, denser pieces lock in the bread's moisture. Enjoy freshly baked loaves by first slicing the middle of the bread, suggests Wonder How To, and push the cut sides together to create a crumb-protecting, insulating container to enjoy later.