Stormy weather? No electricity? Raise a toast to toast.

The Great Halloween Snowstorm of 2011 taught me a valuable lesson.

Actually, several valuable lessons.

1) With the the exception (perhaps) of July 15, it’s never too early  to get out the boots, scarf, gloves, and snow rake.

2) Note to self: make appointment to put on snow tires in late August.

3) When a storm’s in the forecast, have plenty of toast made ahead of time for when your power goes out.

But – heaps of cold toast? THAT doesn’t sound very appetizing…

It’s true, a pile of cold, soggy, limp toast doesn’t tempt my taste buds at all.

But oven toast – slow-baked, sliced bread – now THAT’S something I can get behind.

Even cold. Especially cold.

If you’re someone who considers the perfect slice of toast one that’s barely cooked, its crust offering the merest hint of beige color and its interior fresh and soft as the day it was baked, then read no farther: this toast’s not for you.

But if you love a wonderfully crisp piece of toast, one with deep golden brown crust and crunch all the way through, then you’ll love this simple way to turn leftover bread into just the thing for a rainy (snowy, sleety) day.

First, slice your bread 1/4″ to 1/3″ thick. It helps if the bread is starting to go stale; less squashing down as you cut.

Lay the slices on a baking sheet; parchment keeps things tidy.

While this isn’t strictly necessary, I like to spray my bread with olive oil spray – it adds just that extra touch of crispness and flavor.

Bake in a 350°F oven until golden brown and dry all the way through.

How long? Depends on your bread, and how thick you’ve sliced it. Start checking at 15 minutes.

When done, the bread will be golden brown, and crunchy all the way through (or almost all the way). A tiny bit of moistness at the center is OK; it’ll continue to crisp as it cools.

Remove the bread from the oven, and let it cool right on the pan.

Stack it up…

…and store. I keep mine in a giant plastic jar. It’s pretty, and I don’t forget about it since it’s in plain view.

Next – eat and enjoy. OK, so it’s not hot; it’s still crunchy and wonderfully delicious. The oven bake concentrates the bread’s flavors.

If you insist on hot toast, and your power’s not out – microwave briefly, about 15 seconds.

If you don’t have electricity, warm the toast near whatever heat source you have: fireplace, backyard grill, woodstove…


P.S. Bet you’re wondering what the bread is… It’s Irish Raisin Bread, made with a double helping of raisins. Which means it didn’t rise as well as I’d liked (too much sugar), which is why it ended up as toast – and very tasty toast indeed.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


  1. kettlesmith

    HeyTrud, that sounds great, especially since I have electric heat and a lousy electric company. Can you pass along your tips?

    Although, in the case of a civil war or other civic emergency, you can’t count on having a ready supply of propane either. It would be back to wood stoves.

    In light of recent outages and emergencies, maybe a discussion about cooking tips during emergencies would be helpful to everyone? The community pages would be a great place to start this! Irene @ KAF

  2. HeyTrud

    Pretend for a few minutes that your gas, electricity were unavailable during a civil war…that is a horrible thought…but it can happen nevertheless. I pray it does not, but I am ready. I taught myself to cook bread on my propane grill outside…just in case the SHTF…I can feed not only my family this way, but several neighbors by baking bread on our grill…you all ought to think about this once in a while and give it a whirl….then tell me you can bake bread then! It’s fashionable to cook pizza on your grills, but now bread is quite a challenge. Bread tastes 10 times better on your grills…try it, it may save your lives in the long run.

  3. Aaron Frank

    My first experience with oven toasting was when I had my first job waiting tables. Our drunk chef spent a half hour and used an entire loaf of bread trying to make one of my tables toast.

    Have you ever tried making French toast with this?

    That chef sure had some trouble! I have not tried making French toast this way, but sounds like it may work? Elisabeth

  4. Eleftheria

    My Greek grandmother baked fresh bread for us several times a week. It was the only bread we ate. We preserved the leftovers by toasting this way and ate the crunchy, yummy bread for breakfast the next morning while the day’s loaf was in the oven.

  5. ebenezer94

    I love raisin bread toasted. Haven’t made any raisin bread in eons. I’ll have to try out that Irish raisin bread. Interesting to include both baking soda and yeast. What purpose does the baking soda serve in the dough if the yeast is doing the raising?

    I’ve tried making toast over the gas burners on the stove top when the power’s out. It wasn’t much of a success–but just reheating pre-made toast, that would probably work better. Now if only I knew when the power was going to go out so I could whip up a batch of toast in preparation. 🙂

    The nice thing is, oven-toasting bread – really, just drying it thoroughly, until it’s like melba toast, or a cracker – makes its shelf life pretty indefinite. Not that it ever lasts in my jar on the counter for months on end, but I’ll bet it could… So make some now, and you’ll be ready for the upcoming wintry weather! As for the baking soda, it’s partially a nod to Irish soda bread; but also, the soda gives it one last kick as it hits the oven heat, increasing the rise a bit more. That’s my story, anyway, and I’m stickin’ with it! 🙂 PJH

  6. bettybrzoska

    Not everyone is a toast connoisseur, like us ;-). Raisin toast is my absolute FAVorite! I don’t know why but when I was a kid a loaf of raisin bread was about a quarter the size of a loaf of any other kind of bread. It was a treat in our house to even have it. I used to toast it just shy of burning the raisins and then slather it with butter. Yummy.


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