The great McDonald’s struggle to reinvent itself in the face of slumping sales keeps evolving.

Some highlights: Back in April, the $5 premium sirloin burger was unveiled. Soon after that, we got a brand new Hamburglar that was either hot AF or creepy as hell, depending on how you feel about black trench coats. And earlier in May, the Golden Arches started serving kale at select U.S. locations and throughout Canada.

You can’t say they’re not trying everything. And now, McD’s CEO Steve Easterbrook announced Wednesday that the chain plans to make things better by toasting its buns longer (5 seconds longer, to be exact). This increased toasting time will result in hotter burgers, reports Bloomberg, and a new and improved burger-grilling technique should allegedly make burgers juicier.


While none of the actual ingredients will change, Easterbrook said, “These little things add up to big differences for our customers. We’re recommitting to tastier food across the menu.” If we were running the show at Mickey D’s, we’d also switch over the Martin’s Potato Rolls, but that’s just us.

To Toast, Or Not To Toast

yeah toast

At first, McDonald’s bread-toasting strategy might sound slightly silly. But anyone who has ever eaten toast can tell you that it’s delicious, and that it tastes completely different than it did when it was just plain old bread.

What’s behind this miraculous transformation? Everyone’s favorite culinary reaction: The Maillard reaction.


Genius pastry chef and Institute of Culinary Education creative director Michael Laiskonis offered an in-depth explanation of how the Maillard reaction works in different foods for Lucky Peach. While Laiskonis didn’t specifically describe toast (there are too many examples of Maillard reactions to realistically expect to list them all in a single piece), he did talk about what happens when you bake a fresh loaf of bread:

Browned Crust of Bread: As a loaf of bread bakes in a hot oven, complex reactions are taking place; the gas produced by the yeast expands and the proteins and starches set and gelatinize to form the final structure of the loaf. On the exterior surface of the loaf, proteins and sugars (during the fermentation process some the flour’s starch converts to maltose) react with the intense heat of the oven (usually well above 204°C/400°F); and with rapid evaporation of water, the crust develops and browns. This browning and complex flavor does not occur within the center of the loaf because the interior temperature may only reach 93°C/200°—too low for Maillard reactions—and because desirable moisture is trapped within the loaf.


Picture that same description on a smaller scale, with your much thinner piece of toast—or, in the case of McDonald’s, a simple hamburger bun. We can’t say this will definitely turn McDonald’s fortunes around, but we do know that improving your food is never a bad call.

[via Bloomberg]