Did you know that bread is one of the most wasted foods in the world? So many people toss out bread that’s perfectly fine to eat, jut because it’s gone a bit stale. They think they don’t need breadcrumbs or croutons (what kind of people think they don’t need these things??), but there’s so much more to do with stale bread than that. This post was inspired by a recent trip home: my mother used stale bread from Costco in a summer pudding, and in fattoush. My boyfriend and I try really hard to not be wasteful, so coming up with this list of things to do with stale bread was a good exercise in frugality!
My boyfriend is pretty proud of his Italian heritage, and bruschetta is one of his favourite foods. This is easiest to make if you have toast, hot dog buns, hamburger buns, or anything that isn’t flatbread. We make it by drizzling olive oil on the bread and topping with some garlic before popping it under a broiler to crisp up. While the bread is toasting, we chop up some tomatoes, and season with more garlic, salt, pepper, chopped basil, and paprika because he’s obsessed with it. We top the bread with the mixture, and sometimes we add some mozzarella or balsamic vinegar if we have any on hand.
Fattoush is a delicious Arabic salad that incorporates toasted flatbreads or baguette cubes. It’s very easy to make, you only need to slice up some lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, onion, and parsley, though sometimes I’ve seen people add radishes to the mix. You toast your flatbread of baguette in an oven under the broiler for a few minutes, and then you rip up the bread and toss it in the salad. A traditional dressing looks something like 3 cloves of garlic, between a third and a half a cup of lemon juice, ¾ cup of olive oil, between a quarter and a third of a cup of chopped mint, salt and pepper, and maybe the tiniest pinch of sugar.
3. Ice Cream Crumbs
This one is really weird, but I promise it tastes amazing. Prep your breadcrumbs like you normally would, but then mix in some sugar and whatever else you fancy. We’ve done it with cinnamon and nutmeg, cocoa powder and a bit of instant coffee, and shredded coconut and sliced almonds. My boyfriend likes sprinkling this stuff on top of vanilla ice cream to make it less boring, and my parents put it on their ice cream and their cereal sometimes! They’re favourite ice cream crumb mixture includes sugar, cardamom, a touch of cinnamon, and a hint of salt.
4. Savoury Bread Pudding
I’m not crazy about desserts, but everyone else in my family is. One day, they told me to make bread pudding, but I didn’t feel like something sweet, so I asked if I could try to make a savoury pudding instead. I looked up a recipe online that came out great, I just had to use stale bread to make cheese and chutney sandwiches, cheese and tomato sandwiches, or feta and spinach sandwiches and then stack them in a dish. I seasoned the eggy milk mixture with a bunch of spices, and I cooked that until it was ready. I wasn’t able to find that exact recipe, but I promise it’s delicious, and you can even top the whole thing with even more cheese so what’s not to like!
5. Pizza Toasts
This one is really easy to do and works with any kind of bread. Just cover your bread with tomato sauces, garlic, oregano or basil, and cheese, and add whatever toppings you can fit on there. Pop the bread under the broiler and cook until the cheese melts. I like doing this with cheese and chutney, or mustard, Worcester sauce, and cheese (can you tell how British I am, yet?), but my boyfriend sticks to the pizza toasts and refuses to try my fake rarebit concoction.