Uses for Leftover Bread

Bread shareholders may know that it is a miracle if a loaf of seven stars bread makes it through the day without being eaten. If it does survive the first day and is not stored appropriately, fresh bread dries out quickly. But do not fret! There are many divine recipes that rely on stale bread and the drier, the better. So if you are becoming disenchanted with the crunch of day-old bread, here are a few ways to change things up.

Croutons: Homemade croutons will instantly make your salad gourmet. Simply slice the bread into cubes, toss with olive oil, salt, garlic, and herbs of your choosing, and bake in the oven at 300 degrees until brown (about 15 minutes). If desired, add grated cheese two minutes before they finishing baking- with just enough time to melt the cheese without burning it.

Bruschetta: Dry bread is crucial when making bruschetta because it won't fall apart when adding the topping. The word "bruschetta" refers to the bread itself, which is rub with garlic, drizzled with olive oil, and toasted, roasted, or grilled. Classic bruschetta is topped with chopped tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic, garlic, basil, and sometimes onions and/or cheese (usually parmesan or mozzarella). Try this classic bruschetta recipe or this instructable for a step-by-step guide with pictures. If you are looking for something more adventurous, try this double mushroom bruschetta, cannelini beans & rosemary bruschetta, or chargrilled zucchini, marinated feta & spring pea bruschetta.

Crostini: Similar to bruschetta, crostini is made with dry, toasted bread. Unlike bruschetta, which is served warm, crostini are usually served cold and the slices of bread are thinner. Since the word "crostini" refers to the bread or "toasts," options for toppings are endless. Try this recipe for classic crostini, or go a step further with pea pesto crostini (perhaps with pea greens instead of peas) or Crostini with Balsamic Strawberries, Ricotta & Pea Shoots.

Fondue: Dried bread is essential for truly delicious fondue. Simply cut up the bread into cubes and serve with fondue.

Bread Pudding: Carrie Vasios, of Serious Eats, writes, "In the sweets department, there is an obvious choice for using up stale bread: bread pudding. I happen to love this warm, custardy dessert, so it's a nice coincidence that it's best when made with stale bread. (It allows the cubes to soak up the liquid without turning to mush.)" Check out recipes for hot chocolate bread pudding, salted caramel banana bread pudding, thai coffee bread pudding, and more here.

Bread Crumbs: use these to make meatballs, casseroles, or macaroni and cheese. Bake your bread in the oven on low heat until extremely dry. Then transfer to a food processor or blender and pulse until crumbled to your liking. Add herbs or cheese for an extra kick, and store in the freezer in an air-tight container.

French Toast: If you have never had french toast with stale bread, you are missing out. Again, using stale bread keeps the french toast from becoming too soggy or soft when dipped in the egg mixture, and using thick slices makes it a much heartier brunch idea. Find recipes for Vanilla Maple French Toast, Marscapone and Marmalade Stuffed French Toast, and more here.

French Onion Soup: It's gourmet comfort food. Try this recipe from Martha Stewart.

Grilled Cheese: Andrea Karim best describes why grilled cheese with dry bread is a spectacular idea: "Hey, half the point of grilling a sandwich is to get the bread nice and crispy, and with dried sliced bread, you're already halfway there. To get a perfect grilled cheese, I lightly butter and grill both sides of the bread before applying the cheese. That way, the bread is extra crispy on both the outside AND the inside, and the cheese melts faster."

Still not sold? Find more ideas on Wise Bread, TheKitchn (here and here), and the NY Times. Alternatively, you can find uses for stale bread that are not for human consumption (dog treats, cleaning your coffee grinder, and more!) here.


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