You’ve spent all day making bread. You finished baking the bread. The next step is letting it cool. Yet you may be desperate to get to bed.
The first question many ask is: can I let the bread cool overnight? The answer to this depends on where you’re letting the bread cool. For example, you don’t want to leave the bread inside a warm oven to cool. The residual heat from the oven would dry it out. Leaving it in a warming drawer of the oven would do the same thing, though it would happen more slowly. This is why people are advised to use cooling racks to cool the bread after baking it.
Can I Let Bread Cool Overnight on a Cooling Rack?
If you let the bread cool on the cooling rack, it will release a lot of moisture into the air as it approaches room temperature. Once the bread hits room temperature, you want to protect it.
This means putting it in a cool dry place like a bread box. You can also wrap it in foil or cloth to protect it. The ideal solution is to wrap it in plastic.
You could put the bread in foil or plastic wrap on the cooling rack so that you don’t forget to eat it before it goes bad.
Can The Bread Safely Cool on the Cooling Rack If I Protect It?
One option is to cover the bread with a cloth. That will slow down the loss of moisture and heat from the bread. However, it also protects the bread from flies and much of the mold in the air.
Note that homemade bread will last about three days before it goes bad unless dried out, rotted or something else is going on.
Can I Let Bread Cool Overnight in the Bread Maker?
This is bad on every account. The bread maker may dry out the bread if it keeps heating up the bread to keep it warm until you take it out.
If you turn off the heat but leave the bread inside the bread maker, the moisture can’t escape from the loaf. It will be soggy at best and rotting at worse.
Take the bread out of the bread maker to cool. Once you’ve let it cool, if you’re short on space, you can let the bread sit inside the bread maker though not in the bread pan.
After all, the original bread pan that you baked it in needs to be washed to minimize the risk of bacterial growth.
Can I Cool Bread on a Bread Board Overnight?
Suppose you’ve made your dough and baked the bread. It is tempting to leave the newly baked bread on the breadboard to cool. This isn’t ideal, since the bottom of the loaf can’t vent the steam.
It could end up soggy if wrapped up after thirty minutes. That isn’t an issue if you leave it on a clean breadboard overnight, but it can still dry out.
Problems arise when the freshly baked bread is left on the board you used to mix dough and proof it. The yeast, sugar, and other ingredients remain on the breadboard.
This is a fuel source for bacteria and fungi in the air. Putting your bread on this material is equal to asking for it to rot faster than it otherwise would. You’re guaranteeing problems if the bread has an egg or butter glazing or contains a lot of fats.
Can I Let the Bread Cool in a Bread Basket?
It is common for people to take the bread out of the oven and put it in a bread basket shortly before it is served. You could even let it cool in the basket, though the bottom of the bread may be a little soggy.
If you want to let the bread cool in a bread basket and you’re not going to eat it in the next hour, cover it with a towel or cloth.
If it sits there overnight, it will probably still be good as long as there aren’t ingredients in the bread which means it should be refrigerated or consumed immediately.
Can I Cool the Bread in a Covered Cake Platter or Another Covered Container?
We would recommend against cooling the bread on a covered cake platter. You want the excess moisture to escape from the bread during the cooling process, and a domed cover prevents this.
This is the same reason you don’t want to cool bread in a sealed tupper-ware container, though you can seal it in
Tupperware in place of a bread box if that’s all you have to protect it. You can seal the bread in a plastic bread box, too, once it has hit room temperature and had a chance for the excess moisture to escape. You can then leave the bread in a sealed container overnight.
Can I Cool the Bread Overnight in the Refrigerator?
Know that you don’t want to put the cooling rack in the refrigerator. The bread will dry out, and the bread will dry out fastest where it is in contact with the now frigid cooling rack.
The bread will also dry out if you simply take it out of the bread maker or oven and let it cool on a plate in the refrigerator.
You can wrap the bread in plastic wrap or foil and then freeze it promptly after you make it. This will literally stop the clock, allowing it to remain fresh once you thaw it.
You could even thaw it and pop it in the oven or a warming drawer for a little while to make it more appetizing. You also have the option of freezing the bread once it has cooled.
Don’t freeze the bread and then thaw it in the refrigerator, because that can cause it to dry out.