69. Bread is one of the foods that every one takes so much as a matter of course that little thought is given to its serving. Of course, it does not offer so much opportunity for variety in serving as do some foods; yet, like all other foods, it appeals more to the appetites of those who are to eat it if it is served in an attractive manner. A few ideas as to the ways in which it may be served will therefore not be amiss.
As fresh bread is not easily digested, it should not usually be served until it is at least 24 hours old. Before it is placed on the table, it should be cut in slices, the thickness of which will depend on the preference of the persons who are to eat it. If the loaf is large in size, the pieces should be cut in two, lengthwise of the slice, but in the case of a small loaf the slices need not be cut.
Various receptacles for placing bread and rolls on the table, such as a bread boat, a bread plate, and a bread basket, are also used to add variety in serving. Whichever of these is selected, it may be improved in appearance by the addition of a white linen doily. For rolls, a hot-roll cover is both convenient and attractive. Sometimes, especially when a large number of persons are to be served, a roll is placed between the folds of each person's napkin before they are seated at the table.
Occasionally bread becomes stale before it is needed on the table. Such bread, however, should not be discarded, especially if the loaves are uncut. Uncut loaves of this kind may be freshened by dipping them quickly into boiling water and then placing them in a very hot oven until their surface becomes dry. If desired, slices of bread that have become stale may be steamed in order to freshen them; but unless great care is taken in steaming them the bread is liable to become too moist and soggy.