3 Easy Ways to Make Bread Stale for French Toast

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If you have stale bread on hand, French toast is a delightful Sunday morning that comes together quickly. What if you don’t?

Even if you just purchased bread from the supermarket, you may learn how to make it stale for French toast. It increases the number of stages in the recipe, but the final product is always worth it.

But first and foremost, why do we need stale bread for French toast? Let us investigate!

Do You Need Stale Bread for French Toast?

Every recipe for French toast begins with stale or dried-out bread. It has become such common knowledge that we no longer debate whether we need stale bread or whether new bread would suffice.

Fresh bread is useful for a variety of purposes. You can’t image a tasty BLT or Pb&J on bread that’s been hanging around for a long, can you?

But is stale or dry bread for French toast merely a stuffy old custom handed down from a century ago? Or does it have an effect on the dish’s overall texture and flavor?

It turns out that somewhat dry or stale bread is required to obtain the desired result of golden, fluffy, but custardy French toast. And I’ve done the research on why stale bread is the greatest choice for French toast so you don’t have to!

Why Use Stale Bread for French Toast?

Here are a few reasons why you should stain or dry your bread before making the best French toast:

Structural Integrity

This is arguably the most important reason why you shouldn’t prepare French toast using bread that isn’t stale or dry.

Because stale bread has far less moisture than new bread, a piece of stale bread is rougher and more stiff than a fresh one.

So, adding moisture in the form of the egg and milk custard softens it somewhat, but only to the point where it can still be handled and flipped on the burner.

If you soak fresh bread with custard, it will dissolve before it ever touches the pan or griddle.


This is connected to the preceding point, although it is more of a gastronomical than a practical one.

If you soak a slice of stale bread in the egg custard, it may be cooked while keeping its height, giving the finished product a fluffy texture.

A slice of fresh bread, on the other hand, will bow under the weight of the egg custard and disintegrate into a sticky, flat piece of toast. The outcome is virtually always poorer than that of the stale bread.


Last but not least, the stale bread works as a sponge, soaking up the egg and dairy custard. The final French toast will be on the same level as the soak, depending on how tasty you create it.

Adding vanilla essence (or vanilla bean if you’re feeling fancy), cinnamon, or orange zest may considerably improve the final dish. All of these flavors permeate the bread, making it delightful both inside and out.

Because there is no capillary action drawing the soak inside when using fresh bread, most of the soak will stay on the outside. As a result, the taste will not enter the fresh bread as much as it does the stale bread.

So, now that we know why stale bread is essential for French toast, let’s figure out how to make it stale!

How Do I Make Bread Stale for French Toast?

There are a few methods for making bread stale or dry enough for French toast. Each approach is dependent on how much time you have until your French toast is done.

1 – Leave It Out Overnight

This is the no-frills, no-nonsense method for stale bread: just let it become stale the old-fashioned way, with air and time.

The transfer of moisture from the starch granules to the surrounding air spaces in the bread causes stale bread. This occurs faster if there is a larger surface area where the moisture may escape.

As a result, the bread should preferably be sliced and spread out so that air may flow around it. I prefer to cut my bread into half-inch slices, place them on a wire rack (or crumpled aluminum foil), and leave them out overnight.

You’ll have bread that has lost most of its moisture and is ready to dip in some egg and milk custard in the morning!

2 – Put It in a Low Oven

If you’re wanting French toast right now, your only alternative is to dry it out by evaporation. You can do this in either a toaster oven or a conventional oven; just make sure the temperature is low enough.

I like to do this directly on the oven grates to enable the bread to lose moisture more quickly, but you may also use a baking sheet and wire rack. Just be prepared for a lengthier wait.

Cut your bread as thick as you wish, then bake it for approximately 2030 minutes, or until it is mostly dry to the touch.

It won’t be bone dry when you pull it out, but let it to cool for 1015 minutes and you’ll notice how dry it becomes.

This approach is ideal if you want your French toast to retain some of the scent and taste of freshly cooked bread.

However, in order for this to work, you must be patient and not remove the bread too quickly, or you may encounter some of the issues stated above!

3 – Slightly Toast It

If you don’t have an oven and just have a toaster, this may work just as well. All you have to do is toast the bread until it is blond, then allow it to steam and dry.

Place the newly toasted bread in front of a desk fan if you have one. This will force even more moisture held within to the outside, resulting in a drier product.

You should be warned, however, that this will give the bread a somewhat distinct taste. Toasted bread has had some of its surface sugars caramelized, resulting in the toast taste we all know and love, so it isn’t as blank as typical stale bread.

If you want to override the toasty flavor, just add a few warming spices to the custard, like cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Those spices go so well with French toast and can give you a more interesting, complex result.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most often asked questions regarding preparing stale bread for French toast and other applications:

Was French toast invented to save inedible bread?

Pain perdu, which translates to lost or forgotten bread, is the French term for French toast, yet this delectable dish goes back to the Roman empire. They, too, wanted to dip and fry their bread in eggs.

Bread was traditionally baked using whole grain or coarsely bleached flour. This generally results in a more rougher bread bake to begin with.

Furthermore, since ingredients that kept bread soft (dough conditioners) had not yet been produced, bread stale quickly. Because they didn’t have freezers to keep the bread fresher for longer, they had to eat it even if it was stale, thick, and chewy.

That’s where the magic of French toast comes in; it turns stale bread, which is barely edible, into a really joyful eating experience.

Does bread go stale when left in the refrigerator?

Yes, it does, and it does it quickly! Cooler temperatures, such as those found in the refrigerator, allow the starch granules in bread to re-crystallize, resulting in stale, chewy bread.

However, utilizing the refrigerator to cause the bread to get stale is not recommended.

Aside from the uneven cold exposure, which causes the bread to get stale in some places but not others, the humidity within the refrigerator may cause mold to grow.

This is particularly true if you keep it in its plastic bag before taking it out and leaving it on the counter.

What else can I use stale bread for?

Stale bread may be used to create stuffing (or dressing), bread puddings, French toast, and croutons for soups and salads.

Final Thoughts

If you want to make French toast but only have fresh bread, you may learn how to create stale bread in a rush!

You just need to use your oven, toaster, or toaster oven. With a low heat and some time, you can dry out the bread.

If you’re planning ahead for the following day, you may leave the sliced bread out on the counter overnight to become stale. Just make sure the slices don’t overlap so the bread can dry evenly.


How do you make bread stale fast for French toast?

How do you rapidly dry bread for French toast? Do you have a sudden yearning for French toast? If you’re in a hurry, cut the bread into uniformly sized slices and arrange them on a sheet pan in a single layer. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit and bake the bread for ten minutes.

What is the fastest way to make bread stale?

If you absolutely do not have time, resort to your oven.

Giving your bread a brief bake in a 350oF oven will dehydrate it, which is precisely what you want.

How long to soak stale bread for French toast?

The bread must soak in the egg mixture for it to permeate for a soft, custardy core. This needs hard but mild pressure, and the bread should soak for at least 15-20 minutes. You don’t want to sear the surface of your French toast as you would a steak.

Can you dry out bread for French toast?

The bread should ideally be somewhat stale. A drier bread will absorb all of the custard. The day before cooking, let the bread out with the wrapper open. If you’re in a hurry, dry the bread slices for 10 minutes in a 275°F oven before soaking them in the custard.

What can I use if I don’t have stale bread for French toast?

French toast is traditionally cooked using stale bread that has been resting on the counter for a few days. If you only have fresh bread, arrange slices on a baking pan and bake for approximately 10 minutes, or until the middle is dry.

How long does it take for bread to get stale sitting out?

Bread has a limited shelf life at normal temperature, lasting about 3-7 days. Proper sealing and storage, as well as the use of a refrigerator or freezer when necessary, may help prevent mold and extend shelf life. If you find mold, throw away the whole loaf since mold may generate deadly mycotoxins.

How long does it take bread to go stale?

Unfortunately, bread does not last long. The degradation process begins as soon as the bread is removed from the oven (or removed from the heat source). Your bread will get stale within a few hours (in the case of a conventional French baguette) or days (for sourdough breads).

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