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#1
Old 12-12-2006, 12:56 AM
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Does the "heel" of the bread really help keep the rest fresher longer?

My mother has frequently told me that if you eat the heel of the bread, the rest of the loaf will go stale much more quickly. I happen to like the heel pieces of bread so I generally eat them first (unless she catches me ). I however do not eat them now, since it's not worth a fight just to have that particular piece of bread. Is she just trying to keep me from eating that piece, or is she right about the staleness?

Not that we keep a loaf of bread around long enough to get stale in our house. When I was in college, and thus the only eater of my bread when I bought a loaf, it often did get stale before I could finish it. I did eat the heel (at least the top one) first, because I like it, but I'm not sure that was the reason my bread went stale quickly.
#2
Old 12-12-2006, 01:41 AM
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Bread goes stale because it dries out due to contact with air. The crust is much less susceptible to drying out than a cut surface is. When the heel is left in bag, it prevents the outward cut surface of the next slice from coming into contact with the air in the bag, and so prevents it from drying out. The heel itself doesn't dry out much, since it has a crust on the outward facing side. It doesn't keep the whole loaf from going stale, but the whole loaf doesn't go stale at once anyway. It does keep each successive slice from going stale.
#3
Old 12-12-2006, 01:58 AM
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Hmm. That makes sense. Oh, well. I'll miss those forbidden bread heels.

Thanks!
#4
Old 12-12-2006, 02:16 AM
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If the problem is the exposed cut surface, just wrap it in foil or plastic to keep the air off it.
#5
Old 12-12-2006, 06:28 AM
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Go ahead and eat the heel, but not the one after it. It becomes the new "heel" and you get to enjoy what you like. Life is too short to have to miss out on such a simple pleasure.
#6
Old 12-12-2006, 06:31 AM
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Or you could please your mother by saving them for last, then you can double your pleasure. Always a good thing.
#7
Old 12-12-2006, 06:35 AM
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Eat the heel on the other end and then put it back, she'll never know.
#8
Old 12-12-2006, 09:49 AM
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Yes, of course it keeps it fresher. The tough crust is what makes french bread stay fresh unwrapped at the bakery.
However, I love the crust, for the same reason I love toast, the complex carmelized sugars make it tastier.
When my ex would get down to just the heels she would throw them out, and refused to believe that I was waiting for them as a special treat.
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#9
Old 12-12-2006, 02:55 PM
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This was more important before the use of plastic bags. Back then, the heels would get very hard within a week while protecting the next piece and be fit for nothing but crumbs for cooking or feeding birds. Nowadays the heels usually stay fresh enough for me to use for a sandwich.
#10
Old 12-12-2006, 10:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by According to Pliny
Yes, of course it keeps it fresher. The tough crust is what makes french bread stay fresh unwrapped at the bakery.
However, I love the crust, for the same reason I love toast, the complex carmelized sugars make it tastier.
When my ex would get down to just the heels she would throw them out, and refused to believe that I was waiting for them as a special treat.
That's what happens if someone else gets to the heels before I do, if I try to save them. They'll be thrown out. I feel a little silly asking them to save them for me, but I guess I'll have to do it.
#11
Old 12-13-2006, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Si Amigo
Go ahead and eat the heel, but not the one after it. It becomes the new "heel" and you get to enjoy what you like.
It's not as good a heel though, because it's got holes and air can pass through.
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