How to Make Stale Bread Taste Delicious Again

This simple technique will soften that rock-hard loaf in no time at all!

Male hands cutting wheaten bread on the wooden boardShutterstock / Lithiumphoto

Welcome to my worst nightmare: I prepared my favorite dip for a potluck party. As I’m getting ready to leave, I discover my beautifully soft baguette became rock hard overnight. My mind is racing with all the ways I can repurpose a stale loaf of bread by making croutons or breadcrumbs, but I need ready-to-eat slices of bread now!

This nightmare scenario doesn’t have to end with buying a new loaf on my way to the party because we know a hack for how to fix stale bread. It really couldn’t be easier! This simple technique will soften even the crunchiest of bread, reviving that foregone loaf into like-new slices of bread again. Once you know how, you’ll want to tell your friends—you’ll be the lifesaver of the party!

How to Soften Stale Bread

You’ll need:

  • One loaf of rock-hard or stale bread


  • An oven

Step 1: Wet the Loaf

I know this seems counterintuitive – won’t wet bread be soggy? – but trust us: You actually do want to stick that loaf of bread underneath the kitchen faucet. Turn the water on so it’s running in a slow, steady stream (it doesn’t matter if the water is hot or cold). Position the cut side of the loaf away from you and run the stale loaf of bread under the running water. The goal is to moisten the crust without getting too much water on the interior.

Step 2: Bake It

Set the oven to 300-degrees F and place the moistened loaf directly on the rack. The low temperature will heat the water, causing the bread to steam inside the crust. After 5 minutes, give the loaf a gentle squeeze. You’re looking for a crunchy-crusted bread that has some give when you compress it. You may need to bake the bread for up to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the loaf and how much water it absorbed.

Step 3: Enjoy Your Like-New Bread!

Just like that, your bread is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside!

Now that you know how to refresh bread, you’ll never have to throw away a stale loaf of bread again! Use your revived bread to make lunch sandwiches, slice it and use it for bread appetizers, or serve it up with your favorite compound butter or spread. And learn what the end piece of bread is called and what you can use it for. If you’re suddenly inspired to make your own bread, put your skills to the test with ezekiel bread and our basic homemade bread recipe.

Lindsay D. Mattison
Lindsay has been writing for digital publications for seven years and has 10 years of experience working as a professional chef. She became a full-time food writer at Taste of Home in 2023, although she’s been a regular contributor since 2017. Throughout her career, Lindsay has been a freelance writer and recipe developer for multiple publications, including Wide Open Media, Tasting Table, Mashed and SkinnyMs. Lindsay is an accomplished product tester and spent six years as a freelance product tester at Reviewed (part of the USA Today network). She has tested everything from cooking gadgets to knives, cookware sets, meat thermometers, pizza ovens and more than 60 grills (including charcoal, gas, kamado, smoker and pellet grills). Lindsay still cooks professionally for pop-up events, especially if it provides an opportunity to highlight local, seasonal ingredients. As a writer, Lindsay loves sharing her skills and experience with home cooks. She aspires to motivate others to gain confidence in the kitchen. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her cooking with fresh produce from the farmers market or planning a trip to discover the best new restaurants.