Once you learn how to bake bread, it’s hard to ever go back to buying loaves at the supermarket. While store-bought bread often has preservatives in it so it lasts longer, the bread you make at home will have a limited shelf life, and it may only take a day or two before it starts to go stale. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to gobble down a loaf of homemade rye bread in a day or throw it away the moment it starts to dry out. Instead, consider these five ways to repurpose crusty or stale bread in your kitchen:
1. Homemade croutons
Croutons are incredibly easy to make and can be seasoned to your preference. What’s more, using your bread this way will encourage you to make your health a priority, as croutons are a great addition to a colorful salad or delicious breakfast hash. Cut your bread into cubes and then toss in olive oil and herbs, then toast the bread bits in the oven until your croutons are nice and crunchy.
2. Bread pudding
Bread pudding is a delicious dessert and a perfect way to use up the leftover portion of a homemade loaf. For the best results, serve bread pudding warm and topped with whipped cream. Here is a traditional British bread pudding recipe courtesy of The Guardian, along with several more ideas for utilizing leftover bread.
3. French toast
French toast is a perfectly logical use of stale bread because your egg wash will naturally rehydrate it. While French toast is often thought of as a breakfast food, it can be enjoyed as part of any meal and can easily be transformed into a sweet or savory dish.
Similar to croutons, breadcrumbs are extremely easy to make. Simply bake your bread at a low heat until it becomes dry and brittle. Throw your bread in a food processor or blender with salt and pepper or any other desired seasonings, and then mix until you’ve achieved the desired consistency. You can easily store breadcrumbs and use them for numerous dishes. Bon Appetit recommends sprinkling breadcrumbs on top of baked pasta dishes to create a nice, crunchy top layer.
Panzanella is simply an Italian bread and tomato salad. There are seemingly countless variations on this dish, and what type of bread works best is much debated among chefs. The Guardian has a comprehensive guide to making this dish, which can be found here.