Question for Tom Lehman

Hi Tom,

How would you suggest holding bread for a large catering order? I’m going to get it sliced into 1" pieces from my baker and hold them in the fridge. But I don’t want them cold come time to serve.

However, I’m afraid having them at room temperature for a couple of hours will start making them crusty. This will be an almost 3 hour event where I need to continually replenish the bread.

I’ve thought about putting them in a hotbox after heating it with boiling water. Will that make them soggy? Any suggestions?


Okay so I am not Tom but when we catered we would tightly wrap in saran wrap the first cut batch and then we would replenish bread cut on the spot. Always soft and fresh. We didn’t heat it or warm it. We also didn’t refridgerate it prior to the event. I would get the delivery the day before.

The longer you keep it in the bag they have it in the better.


Thanks Kris,

Ideally I’d like to do what you suggested. But, we’re catering for 1,000 people in 2 hours. We’re planning on 2 pieces per person so that’s 2,000 1" pieces of bread. I don’t think we’ll be able to slice it fast enough to get everybody served. But maybe we can just wrap it tight, like you suggested, in bags of 100 or so.

Unless stale bread is on the menu, don’t put the bread in the cooler. Instead, have the baker put the bread slices on sheet pans and cover with stretch wrap to prevent drying. DON"T try to reheat, unless you want crusts bread slices, and stay away from high humidity storage as this will only lead to soggy bread. As for the breas itself, you might ask the baker to make the bread with double the regular amount of fat as this will make the bread softer and allow it to remain softer during the serving period. Since I don’t have any idea of how much fat the baker is using in his bread, I must caution you to discuss this with him first. The addition of 5 to 8% fat to the formula is what I would expect to see if he doubled it.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Thanks Tom,

Sounds like I’ll do what Kris suggested, only for the entire batch.

I’m heading down to talk with the baker now and ask him about doubling the fat.

Thanks again!