homemade crunchy croutons made from grilled buttered bread

7 of the Best Ways to Use Up Stale Bread

Who doesn’t wince at the thought of throwing out food that’s past its prime? Take bread for example. It’s no longer fresh. It’s hard and dried out. Tossing it in the garbage may seem like the only thing to do. But wait!

Provided it hasn’t begun to grow mold, you really can turn leftover bread, rolls, or baguettes into something deliciously awesome.

homemade crunchy croutons made from grilled buttered bread

Here’s the secret: Grilling, toasting, baking or frying gives the bread a second yummy life. In fact, the following are all best when the bread is not fresh. Prepare to be amazed.

French toast

  1. In a bowl, beat together 2 eggs, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 2/3 cup milk.
  2. Soak 6 slices stale bread in the mixture, turning to coat both sides.
  3. Heat a lightly oiled skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Place bread in the pan and cook on both sides until golden.
  5. Serve with butter and syrup.

French toast with butter and maple syrup on the white plate

Croutons

  1. Rub 4 slices of stale bread with a crushed clove of garlic.
  2. Cut bread into cubes, crouton-size.
  3. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  4. Add cubes and cook, stirring often, until crispy.
  5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

homemade croutons made with stale bread, salt and garlic

Grilled sandwiches

Make it cheese or chocolate—either way you are in for a fab treat. For grilled chocolate:

  1. Heat 1/4 cup fat-free evaporated milk just until boiling. Remove from heat.
  2. Add  3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, let stand for 1 minute then whisk until smooth. Allow to cool slightly.
  3. Spread butter on one side each of 8 slices of stale sandwich bread.
  4. Divide chocolate on the unbuttered side of 4 slices, leaving a small border and cover each with the remaining slices of bread.
  5. Cook sandwiches in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Turn, press with a spatula and cook until nicely browned and the chocolate is barely melted, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Serve warm.

Breakfast toast with chocolate nut paste

Crostini

  1. Cut that hardened baguette into slices, oil each one with a generous amount of olive oil then toast under broiler. Remove.
  2. Spread each with Dijon-style mustard, Boursin cheese or cream cheese then top with whatever you have available like sundried tomato relish, creamed kale, tomato slices, sliced meat.
  3. Optional: Top with cheese—Parmesan, Gruyere, Swiss.
  4. Slide under broiler to heat and or melt the cheese. Serve immediately.

crostini with stale bread toasted with sundried tomatoes and cheese

Homemade Stuffing Mix (Stove Top Dressing)

Here’s a terrific way you can make your own stuffing mix, similar to boxed stovetop stuffing. It’s a great way to use up day-old (or older!) bread.

Ingredients

For the stuffing mix

  • 6 cups stale bread torn into 1/2″ to 1″ pieces
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 5 tablespoons dried minced onion
  • 1/3 cup dried celery flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1 scant teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf marjoram
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Spread the bread on two baking sheets. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until it is dry and crumbly.
  3. In a large container with a lid or plastic food storage bag, combine the ​breadcrumbs with the rest of the ingredients. Shake or stir to mix thoroughly. Seal and store in a cool, dry place.

    For the stuffing

    • 3 cups stuffing mix (above)
    • 1 1/4 cups water or  chicken broth
    • 3 tablespoons butter
    • salt, to taste

    To use:

    1. Bring 1 1/4 cups of water or chicken broth and 3 tablespoons of butter to a boil. Stir in the 3 cups of stuffing mix. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes.
    2. Taste and add salt, as needed.
    3. Fluff with a fork and serve.

    A small casserole dish of herbal holiday stuffing

    Avocado toast

    Spread any kind of toasted bread with a schmear of mayonnaise followed by soft buttery avocado, a bit of lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste.

    Kick it up with these additions: sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced cucumbers, cilantro, sprouts, sliced olives—whatever you have on hand.

    Healthy Homemade Avocado Toast with Cheese and Sprouts

    Bread pudding

    1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
    2. Break 6 slices bread into small pieces and place in an 8-inch square baking pan.
    3. Drizzle 2 tablespoons melted butter over bread. If desired, sprinkle with 1/2 cup raisins.
    4. In a medium mixing bowl, combine 4 beaten eggs, 2 cups milk, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until well mixed.
    5. Pour over bread, and lightly push down with a fork until bread is covered and soaking up the egg mixture.
    6. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly tapped.
    7. Cut into pieces, top with fresh fruit, spices, whipped cream, or toppings of choice.

    Sweet bread pudding of peaches with milk and eggs in a plate on a linen towel, milk in glass jug, cinnamon on a wooden boards background

     

    Question: What favorite way do you use up leftover, stale bread?


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    5 replies
    1. John says:

      I save up stale bread and when I have enough, I put it through the food processor along with garlic salt, oregano, pepper, onion powder and parsley for homemade Italian-style bread crumbs. Basically free and better than store-bought!

      Reply
    2. Heather says:

      Bread Salad
      1 clove garlic, peeled
      1 pound loaf Italian bread
      1 cup chopped tomatoes
      1 cup cucumber – peeled, seeded and chopped
      1 cup chopped red onion
      basil and parmesan to taste

      Rub a peeled clove of garlic around the inside of a wooden salad bowl, then mince garlic clove and mix with the bread (cut or break into bite-size pieces) in the bowl. Add tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, garlic and basil. Dress with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to lightly coat, toss and serve with parmesan shavings.

      Reply
    3. Maureen says:

      For leftover hotdog buns- I like to slice each half of the bun in half and put either softened or melted butter on each piece, sprinkle with some garlic salt.( add Parmesan or other spices too) You can put them on the upper part of your grill for a few minutes, or in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes or so depending on how crispy you like them. These also then can be chopped up for croutons. Tasty!

      Reply

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