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What to do with Stale Bread
Before you throw the last of your baguette in the garbage, let me give you several great ideas for what to do with stale bread. It’s happened to us all…That partial loaf of bread we bought or made has gone stale from one too many days out on the counter. Alas, think of it as a blessing instead of a lost cause.
In our house, we do our very best not to let food go to waste. So, when I peeked under my towel to find the butt of my homemade sourdough hardened, I knew I had to find a solution. I wasn’t prepared for the plethora of options, and I felt a little silly for ever buying breadcrumbs prior to that moment.
Any kind! Sourdough, einkorn, whole wheat, rolls, baguettes, croissants, biscuits, challah, sandwich bread…..you name it, and there’s a recipe for it. Some bread will work better using different methods, but they can all be repurposed somehow.
This is one of my favorite ways to use up stale bread. If you’ve ever bought croutons, your mind might be blown away by how simple (and much more delectable) this homemade version is. A denser bread is best for this.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Use a bread knife to slice your bread into ½ in – ¾ in cubes.
- Place your bread in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. *For a half loaf of bread (about 8 oz) use 3 TBSP olive oil, 2 cloves of minced garlic, ½ tsp of pepper, and 1 tsp of salt.
- Bake for 8-12 minutes until the cubes are golden and crisp. Toss them halfway through to help them brown evenly. They can turn from brown to black quickly, so keep a close eye on them.
- Allow to cool on baking tray and then store in an airtight container at room temperature. They will last for a couple of weeks like this.
If you’re looking to flavor your croutons, try adding dried herbs such as parsley, rosemary, thyme, oregano, or Italian seasoning. Add a dash of heat with cayenne pepper or paprika. You can sprinkle them with parmesan for a cheesy mouthful.
When we’re feeling “zesty” in the kitchen, a spice combo we love for our croutons includes (for 8 oz of bread cubes):
- 3 TBSP olive oil, ¾ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp onion powder, ½ tsp dried thyme, ¼ tsp dried rosemary, ¼ tsp dried oregano, ½ tsp parsley, and 1 tsp of salt.
Toss them on your soups or salads for an extra crunch!
When you learn how to make these breadcrumbs, I’m hoping you don’t feel like you need to buy them from the grocery store except in a pinch.
I’ve laid out simple instructions for both plain and seasoned breadcrumbs.
These will last for a month at room temperature, about three months in the fridge, and in the freezer for up to six months. You’ll have those breadcrumbs on hand for when a meatball craving comes along.
You can use these in any recipe that calls for breadcrumbs or panko crumbs, but just be aware of when you’re using your seasoned ones for recipes. You want to make sure the flavors will mesh well.
Baguettes work really well for this method but feel free to play around with other bread too. Just make sure you can slice them relatively thinly.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Slice your bread into about ⅛ in thick slices. Brush both sides with olive oil, place on the lined baking tray in a single layer, and sprinkle with a couple of pinches of sea salt.
- Cook for 8-10 minutes or until the bread just starts to turn a golden brown.
- Allow to cool and store in an airtight container for at least a week. If you have used larger pieces of bread, feel free to break them up to a more appropriate “cracker size” after they are cooled.
Eat your crackers plain, use them with your favorite dips, or top them with bruschetta.
If you have a kid (or a kid at heart) in the house, this option might be your new best friend. The most popular types of bread to use for this are challah, sourdough, and sandwich. When dipped in a mixture of milk, egg, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt, your stale bread will turn into a deliciously fresh breakfast.
This is another breakfast choice that is basically a one-pot casserole full of possibilities. At its core, it’s eggs and hunks of bread. Here’s your opportunity to use those stale croissants, biscuits, or challah. Then, there’s the perfect excuse to add bits and ends of veggies and meats from your fridge. You could include, spinach, peppers, onions, tomato, olives, artichokes, ham, sausage, bacon, or prosciutto amongst other ingredients. The casserole is usually topped with cheese and baked to perfection.
from Sally’s Baking Addiction
Remember that Thanksgiving casserole that you intentionally leave your bread out to dry for? Why not make it all year round? You can change out ingredients for more seasonal options depending on when you make it or just keep it classic! No one will complain about a spring stuffing. Try this using your baguettes or crusted loaves.
from Bon Appetit
This is another recipe that actually calls for stale bread. You can use pretty much any variety of bread for this velvety custard dessert. The best part is that you probably already have these basic ingredients in your kitchen.
A bread salad can be the best of all worlds. Meld fresh veggies, fried bread, and a bright vinaigrette for an all-in-one dinner idea. I love chopping up my seasonal garden veggies and homemade sourdough for this one.
from Bon Appetit