I am often asked whether or not bread can be re-baked. One of my readers recently wrote, "Jen, I took my beautifully browned bread out of the oven and cut into it and it is soggy in the middle. Is there anything I can do to save it?"
Yes, there is. If the bread is already set and browned, you can still create a decent loaf by reheating the oven to 350°F and baking the bread for another 10 to 20 minutes. This will work even if the loaf has cooled. In fact, it's a bit like par-baking bread.
For par-baked bread, bake for 90% of the time necessary for a regular loaf, then cool completely, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then finish baking, adding a few minutes to the time called for in the recipe.
Remember that if you do not allow bread to cool for at least two hours before slicing, it can appear soggy inside, even though it is done all the way through. Bread "sweats" as it cools and dries out inside. The sweating will make the crust softer, but it will harden up again after it is fully cool. Rolls cool much faster and are often eaten straight out of the oven and, of course, if you just cannot wait, then you expect to put up with a damp crumb (with lovely, melted butter!).
If the bread is not set before the oven is turned off, there is not much you can do to save it. This happened to me when I pushed the wrong button on the oven and turned off the oven instead of turning on the timer. I did not notice until much later that the bread was underdone. You can try and bake it further, as there is not much to lose, but only your staunchest friends will eat it.
The best way to avoid the problem of underdone bread is to use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the loaf. Most breads are done when the internal temperature reaches 180 to 190°F for soft breads and 200 to 210°F for lean, crusty breads. Stick the thermometer into the middle of the loaf (I stick it in from the underside, to avoid unsightly holes) and leave it in until the temperature stops climbing.