We all do it. We buy a beautiful loaf of bread to eat with dinner, or to sop in egg custard for breakfast, and then, a few days later it’s looking rather sad. Maybe mildly shriveled, too crusty around the edges. And it doesn’t feel great, knowing that you have half a loaf of kind of inedible bread, knowing how chewy and perfect it was when it was fresh. But it is edible! You just have to have a few stale bread recipes in your back pocket. Here are some of mine:
Make breadcrumbs: Cut the crust off your bread and cut it into chunks, then throw them in the food processor till they’re the right consistency for you. You can either toast them now or throw them in a ziplock back in your fridge – for sooner use – or freezer – for later use. Pull them out later to top your favorite macaroni and cheese (I’m dying to try this one) or this chicken gratin (which I just made and was a big hit).
Ribollita: Stale bread soup may sound odd, but that’s what this is. I love this easy, throw-whatever-you’ve-got-in-the-pot soup. It’s a hearty, delicious meal for colder days.
Croutons: Cube your bread, toss it in some olive oil, and throw it on a sheet pan with a few cloves of smashed garlic and sprigs of thyme. Toast at roughly 350°F for about 8-10 minutes, keeping a close eye on them to avoid burning.
Bread pudding: If you’ve got more of a sweet tooth, cube your bread, soak it in eggs, sugar, milk, and spices, and bake it for an easy, rustic dessert.
Panzanella: A summertime recipe, panzanella is a great way to use up stale bread and the plethora of tomatoes you may have from your garden. Remove crusts and cube your bread, halve or dice your tomatoes, some cucumber, red onion if you want, and add some crumbled feta or ricotta salata. Top with torn basil and a simple balsamic or red wine vinaigrette.
French onion soup: Not only is French onion soup a great way to use stale bread, it’s also a great way to use any chicken or beef or vegetable stock you might have in the freezer. But let’s be honest, the best part of this soup is the cheesy toast floating on top, soaking up all that delicious broth.