Tired of tossing away that stale bread after it's no longer sandwich-worthy? We've got some delicious ways to use up every bit before it ever sees a trash bin.
My #1 Tip for bread that was once crispy and wonderful, but is now hard as a rock or as chewy as leather...
Put Water on It!
This is one of the best kept secrets of the bread world! Crusty loaves or baguettes that have dried out or become chewy can be restored to their former glory by splashing some water on them, wrapping them in foil, and baking at 300F for 5 or 10 minutes.
For bread that is really rock-hard, run the entire loaf under cold water for a few seconds (avoid getting the cut-side wet if possible). Then, wrap the loaf in tin foil and bake for about 10 minutes. Remove from the foil and bake right on the rack for another few minutes to really get a good crisp going!
This is also a super fun conversation piece when hosting a dinner party...the look your guests give you when they see you running that loaf under a stream of water will only be topped by the look on their faces when they bite into the deliciously warm bread with the super crispy exterior!
Trust me, you'll want to tell your friends about this one!
Uses for Stale Bread
One of my favourite uses for stale bread is homemade croutons. If you can stop yourself from eating them all right off the baking sheet, these make a great addition to salads, or pop them on top of homemade soup. Croutons are best made from crusty type loaves, but regular sliced loaves also work just fine. Here’s how I make them:
- Chop your bread into 1 inch cubes and place in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and toss, and then sprinkle with some salt. Add other seasonings that you like, such as parmesan cheese, minced garlic or garlic powder, black pepper, paprika, or Italian seasonings.
- Spread croutons in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment, and bake in a 300F oven for 30 minutes, turning the croutons once half way through. They should be golden brown and crispy when they're done.
- Use right away, or store in a airtight container for a few days. If they start to go soft, pop them back in the oven to crisp them up before using.
Other things you can do with stale or leftover bread:
- Bread Crumbs: chop bread into cubes and a quick whirl through the food processor or blender, and you'll have lovely bread crumbs. If your bread isn't overly stale, pop slices in a 300F oven for about 15 minutes to dry out before you proceed. If you don't need them right away, just freeze them. Use them to bread chicken, pork or fish, or toast them up in the oven and use to top pasta or over roasted veggies.
- Stuffing (or "dressing", depending where you're from): Stale bread makes the best stuffing! Cube up your bread and leave it sit out overnight to really dry out before using in your favourite stuffing recipe.
- Egg Strata: Our ham and veggie version of this yummy make-ahead recipe is perfect for brunch or lunch. Get the recipe here.
Stale Bread is Ok, Fuzzy Bread is Not!
Although it’s fine to re-purpose bread that is stale, bread that has mold on it should not be eaten! Just cutting off the moldy spots doesn’t guarantee the bread won’t make you sick. That’s because molds can actually spread through the loaf of bread via invisible “tendrils”. Even if you can only see spots on the outside, the entire loaf could be contaminated.
Bottom Line: bread that has mold on it, even just a tiny bit, should head for the compost bin.
Images taken from Pixabay.com