Ever since Mark Bittman's article a little while ago on using your microwave, we've had that much-maligned appliance on our collective brain. Is it perhaps more energy-efficient? Should we consider it more often? We've talked about cleaning sponges and steaming broccoli in the microwave.
One thing, though, that we almost never put in the microwave is bread. It ends up chewy and spongy. But we feel guilty turning on an entire hot oven just to warm a small basket of bread for dinner, so we have been experimenting with warming bread and rolls in the microwave. Here are a few tips that have been working well.
1. Keep it moist - We lightly moisten a paper towel or regular kitchen towel and lay it directly on the surface of the bread.
2. Keep it covered - Then we cover the whole thing with another paper towel or kitchen towel.
3. Keep it low - We microwave on low to medium power - 30 to 50% - for about a minute. Then we check and see if the bread is warm yet. You don't want piping hot bread; it will be chewy by then. You just want to warm it through, keeping it moist and covered so it doesn't dry out or get chewy in place and hard in another.
This is rather similar to our technique for proofing bread in the microwave.
We like warm bread so much more than room temperature rolls and loaves. In fact, that's one thing we judge restaurants on; is their bread warm and the butter soft?
How do you warm bread for dinner?
(Images: Faith Hopler)