We have all heard that saying; “Waste Not, Want Not!” It is a good saying to keep in mind to help everyone save money and prevent them from throwing food away.
It is a given that stale bread will appear in your home from time to time. Sometimes it happens because the bag it comes in has a small hole that isn’t visible letting in air that will dry the bread out. Other times the loaf may get pushed back on the counter, bread box or refrigerator and go unnoticed until it is too late. There may also be a member of the family that took some bread out and didn’t tie or close the bag back up since they were coming back for more during their meal and never did. You also may have purchased a large bag of rolls or buns which were too much to eat before they started to dry out.
No matter what the reason or how it happened, stale bread will present itself in all households whether you are an amateur or professional chef. That doesn’t mean you have to toss it in the garbage. There are plenty of uses for stale bread that will salvage the money used to purchase it. Now you won’t have to toss the bread and also throw your hard earned money away either.
Try these ideal uses for stale bread:
Making homemade breadcrumbs is the first use that comes to mind. They are easy to prepare and can be stored in an air-tight container for quite a while or even freeze them in a storage bag to use another time. All you have to do is lay the bread slices on a baking pan at 150’ until the bread is completely dried, golden in color and brittle. Break up the slices into pieces and then use the food processor or kitchen blender and pulse the dried bread into crumbs. Once the stale bread is reduced to breadcrumbs split the batch in half. Some recipes ask for plain breadcrumbs while others require flavored breadcrumbs. Leave half the batch in the food processor and add some herbs such as parsley, celery flakes, oregano or a few shakes of Italian spice and pulse the crumbs for a few seconds for some homemade seasoned breadcrumbs.
Enjoy a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch the day your bread gets too dried out for a typical sandwich. The bread used for grilled cheese sandwiches are toasted until the bread gets browned and crispy so drier bread is perfect to start out with. Just butter both sides of the bread, which is easier to do than on fresh slices. Place in frying pan or on a griddle pan and toast away until golden. Add the cheese to both sides and when the cheese is partially melted place two slices together. Heat for a little longer on both sides and it is ready to serve and will taste the same as if the bread was fresh. In fact you will cut down on the cooking time since it won’t take as long to toast the bread.
Slightly stale bread is perfect for making French toast. The bread won’t soak up as much of the egg mixture preventing it from taking long to cook or becoming soggy. Italian or French bread, Texas toast or even plain white bread made a delicious breakfast or brunch treat of French toast when the bread is a bit drier.
If you are a nature lover one idea that comes to mind is for the birds. Feeding the birds chunks of stale bread is a treat for them. If you don’t have time to make something for yourself with the stale bread let it set out longer on the counter. Once it is completely dried out toss it out the window or place it in the yard away from the house and enjoy the view as the birds swoop down and enjoy a hearty meal of bread that has gone stale in your kitchen.
Stuffing or turkey dressing as some may call it is another great way to utilize stale bread. Adding in the herbs and spices with the stale bread creates a great side dish for any poultry dinner dish. It will also save money not having to purchase bags of dried bread at the grocery store.
Feel like a snack, Bruschetta is a great choice to enjoy. You have to toast up the bread slices anyway and when the bread is slightly stale you have a head start in the process. Before baking the bread, spread on some butter or oil and herb mixture and heat until golden brown. Then add your toppings and enjoy a snack or appetizer before dinner.
Homemade croutons are another great way to use up those stale bread slices or loaves. Cut into cubes, toss into a mixture of olive oil and herbs and bake until golden brown. Allow the croutons to cool completely before storing. These are great tossed over a salad or to top a bowl of soup.
Speaking of soup, the one that pops into mind first is French onion soup. There is always a slice of bread floating on top of the soup that holds the cheese up from melting to the bottom of the bowl when it is baked.
Jackson residents can shop at any of these local grocery stores: Pick’n Save or Wal-mart when they need to purchase bread. This product is so versatile and can be used to prepare so many different meals when fresh and now there are some ways you can still use up that bread if it becomes stale in your kitchen.
© 2013 Beverly Mucha / All Rights Reserved
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