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...

Enjoy!

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.

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PJ Hamel
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About 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, three dogs, and really good food!

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