Food - Drink
Why You Shouldn't Slice Into Fresh Baked Bread Before It's Cool
By AUTUMN SWIERS
Fresh, homemade bread makes you want to dig in and tear that crispy crust apart, right? But, hold off, because a burnt mouth isn't the only thing you're risking by slicing your hot bread too soon.
For an optimal slice, Fine Cooking recommends letting most standard-sized loaves rest for 45 minutes before cutting in, but this might not be a one-size-fits-all standard. Gareth Busby, founder of Busby's Bakery School, says that a thorough cool-down can take anywhere from two hours for crusty breads to six hours for denser whole grain loaves.
Cooks Illustrated explains that when starch is cooked with water, the starch molecules absorb the water, expand, and soften in a process called “gelation.” The reverse of this process is called “retrogradation,” where starch products harden and gain their structure, so it’s important to let that bread cool.
In addition to a gummy loaf, slicing too soon can also make the opposite happen and dry out your bread. Cutting into bread fresh out of the oven creates a massive hole through which steam can quickly escape.