Can a Stale Baguette Be Revived?

Leaving a baguette out overnight results in a rock hard loaf of bread. There may be a way to safe it. (Photo: Tatiana Popova/Shutterstock).

This morning, I had half a stale baguette leftover from last night’s cheese board for the Academy Awards party I attended. There are many creative to reuse stale bread, but I decided to try to bring the baguette back to life instead of turning into croutons or bread pudding.

I’ve had a video saved from the ‘Rachael Ray Show’ for some time, just waiting for a baguette to go stale. Ray’s guest Sarah Moulton did a segment about saving food that is not fresh, and her first tip was for reviving a stale baguette. Because of time constraints, she talked about how to do it, but the audience didn’t get to see the finished product. I thought I’d give her method a try, from beginning to end.

Steps to reviving the baguette

Here are the steps I took to try to bring the stale baguette back to life, as described in the video.

  1. Took a hard, stale baguette, and banged it against the counter to demonstrate that it is actually stale. My dog thought someone was knocking at the door and went ballistic.
  2. Liberally doused the baguette under the faucet with water.
  3. Wrapped the wet baguette in foil.
  4. Put the wrapped baguette in the oven set for 300° F for 12 minutes. Did not pre-heat the oven.
  5. Removed baguette from oven and unwrapped. It was soggy and mushy, just like Moulton said it would be.
  6. Placed unwrapped baguette back in the oven for five minutes on top of the foil to crisp up the crust.
  7. Took baguette out of oven. The top crust was crisp; the bottom crust was soggy. Realized leaving it on top of the foil kept the heat from getting to the bottom to crisp it up. I put the baguette back in for four more minutes hoping to get bottom crust crisp.
  8. Removed baguette from the oven a final time.

The results

Did my baguette become edible again? Yes, it did. The inside was soft; the outside was crisp. When I ran my bread knife through it, I heard the satisfying crunch of a crusty loaf being sliced into. It was impressed with the results. My baguette slices were ready to slather with butter, dip into olive oil with spices, or be the base for a hunk of cheese and some preserves.

The leftover, stale baguette isn't the only thing from last night's party getting a new life today. I'm turning the odds and ends left over from the five wedges of cheese on the cheese tray into Fromage Fort that I'll freeze to bring out on another occasion.