Dry Steam?

Yeah… I know that’s an oxymoron, but I’m looking for the best way to steam breads/rolls/buns to warm/tender, but not too soft or soggy. My best results have been by placing some small bowls on the bottom of the steamer insert that I balance the bread over, and then cover the top with a folded tea towel… but too many things to wash.

Any better ideas?

Your idea is great. Some people find a right balance by say putting the bread/buns in a deep bowl and then a wet paper towel on the bowl. and then microwave at low/med heat. You will need to play around with that.

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Have you tried maintaining just a bare simmer so the steam is less…uh…steamy?

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Microwave them.

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Microwaving is iffy depending on the bread, how fresh, if from frozen, etc.

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I don’t like steaming bread - can get chewy fast

I rinse the roll / loaf quickly, splash off extra water, and warm in the oven / toaster oven. If you don’t want a crisp outside you can wrap in foil first.


I basically do what you do, then toast them just afterwards.

Depends on how big your toaster oven is (or if you even have one), but preheat the toaster oven with a ramekin filled with water, then toast your bread in the oven.

I do what @Saregama does.

I think MWOs do a good job, as long as you have the time dialed in.

30 seconds for a frozen bagel before toasting is very close to fresh to me.

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We use a method that combines several above ideas. We wrap bread item in paper towel, pass it under cold water faucet and microwave for 10 to 15 seconds.

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I do this.

I MW, then crisp up in the toaster.

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Geez, a lot of ignorance from Bon Appetit. I was surprised to read this misguidance.

I learned MANY years ago, from America’s Test Kitchen, about retrogradation. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retrogradation_(starch)
Your few days old bread has formed a crystalline web that entraps moisture. A few minutes in the oven, on low heat, restores its crisp crust and moist crumb. No water, no paper towel, no microwave. Not even a baking sheet is needed. I’ve done this for at least 20 years.

I thaw my frozen bread on the countertop wrapped in cling-film. This usually works quite well for pre-sliced rolls and buns, but way too many hot dog buns seemed glued shut… making them tough to open without tearing.

Will your low oven method avoid this (note steaming does)?

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Is this for your Filet of Fish? :joy:

In all seriousness, maybe try spritzing with a fine mist of water (or setting a damp paper towel underneath instead), then wrapping in foil and warming in the oven @ 350° or 400° for a few minutes.

I have reheated bread (not frozen though) with steam, microwave and the oven method and they all work fine, depending on the type of bread. If you want a crisp crust, then it has to be oven.

The trick to streaming is similar to what you’re thinking of, making sure it’s not a hard boil. A rack over a steamer is important to minimize water to surface contact. If you can, also try wrapping the lid in cheese cloth or similar to capture water that might collect on the lid and drip on to the bread. If that sounds too complicated (it is, but clean up is a quick rinse…), then use the oven method with a quick spritz of water.

I heat frozen hot dog buns (still frozen) by wrapping in foil and putting in oven. They do not get too steamy. At least not for my taste.

For frozen loaves of bread, I don’t wrap in foil.