If you’ve ever wondered how to rehydrate a dry bagel, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there: Someone lost the twist tie… again. Your breakfast bagel feels as hard as a brick, and you’re staring down a long morning without breakfast if you toss it. Next time this happens, try this genius trick to save your morning meal in a pinch.
To soften a dry bagel, simply give it a dunk in a bowl of hot water before toasting it whole, according to Serious Eats’ J. Kenji López-Alt. This method should be reserved only for a dehydrated bagel (these can be stale without being dried out), but the water bath treatment ensures the inside is moist and steamy when you slice it open. You won’t even notice the difference — your previously stiff bagel will feel like it just came out of the oven.
If you try this hack for a dry bagel, don’t be afraid to turn up the heat. López-Alt found hot water to be more effective than warm water in giving the carb classic a new chance at being part of a yummy meal. Toast it whole, then break out your favorite toppings like cream cheese or butter. Or if you’re feeling creative, you can top it with a perfectly poached egg for a breakfast that will keep you full, satisfied, and focused all morning.
And there’s more good news: turns out this trick works for other dry breads as well. If you find the same problem with your loaf of bread as you did with your dry bagel, you’ll still want to rehydrate the bread before you toast it. Try wrapping a slice in a slightly dampened paper towel and nuking it in the microwave for 20-second intervals until soft and warm before popping it in the toaster. Your toast should then be hot and crispy and ready for a generous pile of toppings.