Leftover bread can be a real treasure these days when you don’t feel like leaving the warmth of your home to get outside in the cold and get something to eat. There are many dishes – both sweet and savory – you can make with your leftover bread! Check them out!
When we get ready for the holidays, we usually buy a lot of foods and different types of bread. After New Year's Eve (or any other holiday that includes too much food) passes, you may end up with too many leftovers. Wheater you decide to donate the remaining food or even throw away some perishable goods, think twice when it comes to leftover bread!
Whether you’re left with half a loaf or two whole loaves of bread nearing their expiration date, know that you can use them in so many dishes. Some of them are listed bellow.
7 ideas to wisely use your leftover bread
Bread slices – even the stale ones – can easily turn into tart crusts if you soak them in water, milk, or eggs. You can make both savory and sweet tarts using your leftover bread. Just place bread slices or crust into a tart pan, then fill with the chosen ingredients. For savory tarts, you can add eggs, spinach, mushrooms, cheese. If you decide to make a sweet one, fill it with melted chocolate, fruit, or different types of custard.
2. French toast
A classic favorite, French toast is a great idea you can use to make sure you don’t throw away a bit stale leftover bread – don’t be afraid to use it. Soaking the bread in a milk and egg mixture softens up stale slices! Also, French toast is a great idea for the first meal of the day, especially if you didn’t get a chance to shop for groceries.
After you learn how to make it the classic way, you can experiment with many different French toast ideas.
Croutons are perfect in soups and salads! Instead of buying them, make them at home! Instead of throwing away your remaining bread, use it to make croutons! It’s so simple! Croutons are cubes of bread that have been toasted, either in a frying pan or the oven, until they are crisp and golden brown. Removing the crust is up to you! As for the spices, you can add garlic, rosemary or other dried or fresh herbs while baking the croutons. You can also make them with a bit of olive oil or parmesan. When the croutons are done to your liking, remove them from the oven and let them cool in the pan.
If you’re not using them right away, store them for a few days in an airtight container. Just make sure to add your croutons at the very last moment to your soup or salad, so they don’t become soggy.
Strata or stratta is a layered casserole dish, similar to a quiche or frittata. It’s made in a large dish, from a mixture which mainly consists of bread, eggs, and cheese. You can also make it with meat or vegetables. Layer your bread and fillings, in order to produce layers (strata).
For making a strata, you should use 1 part milk, 1 part eggs, 1 part cheese, and 2 parts bread. Plus – optional - 1 part other toppings such as asparagus, onion, sausage pieces, ham, spring onion, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, and bacon.
When you assemble your strata, start with a buttered baking dish. Bake in it your bread pieces just until they become crisp on the outside, 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely before assembling. Then, add layers of cheese (think of Monterey Jack, mozzarella, cheddar, fontina, gruyere, goat cheese, blue cheese, or grated parmesan), your extra toppings, and a mixture of equal parts eggs and milk (it’ll soak the bread).
Another way to use your leftover bread is to make breadcrumbs. Pop them in a freezer bag and grab a handful when you need them. Cut the bread into cubes, then spread it in a single layer on a baking tray. Move to the oven and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). When the time’s up, check and stir. If the bread cubes are not sufficiently dry, continue baking and checking at 10-minute intervals until most of the cubes are hard and crunchy.
When ready, remove from the oven, and allow the croutons to cool slightly, then transfer the dry cubes to a food processor and process until you get breadcrumbs. You should store the breadcrumbs in the fridge, in a sealed container. Use them in puddings, fish or meat crusts, casseroles, gratins, or in pasta toppings.
Panzanella is a Tuscan chopped salad of bread and tomatoes. It doesn’t matter that it’s popular in the summer, you can also eat it during the winter, especially now, since – we can assume – you’re kind of sick of all that meat dishes.
Panzanella is made with pieces of soaked stale bread and tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Onions and basil are often added. You can also add other ingredients like lettuce, olives, mozzarella, capers, anchovies, red onion, cucumber, tuna, parsley, boiled eggs, mint, bell peppers, lemon juice, and garlic.
7. Bread pudding
Leftover bread really does make the best pudding. This is a classic dessert very easy to make. How do you make bread pudding? Just break bread into small pieces and place them into a baking pan. Then mix eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla and pour everything over the bread. Bake in the oven. You can also add your raisins, jam, nuts, dried fruits, or chocolate pieces.