There are few things as wonderful in this world as a freshly baked loaf of bread. (But I have been eating low-carb for the past few months, so it may just be the cravings talking!) I usually just keep sandwich bread on hand for my boys to make sandwiches, but every once in a while, I buy a loaf of deliciously crusty bread, or perhaps a baguette, from the bakery. The only drawback of buying bakery bread is that it tends to start getting stale after just a few days!
But luckily for me (and you,) there are plenty of ways to put that stale loaf of bread to good use. Check out these 7 clever ways to turn stale bread into something totally useful!
7 Ways To Use Stale Bread
1. Homemade Breadcrumbs
If you have some stale bread on hand, you can easily make delicious homemade breadcrumbs! Not only will you save money by reducing food waste, but your homemade breadcrumbs will taste even better than the store-bought ones!
Just tear up a few pieces of your stale bread, pop them in your blender, and pulse quickly a few times. It should only take a few pulses to break the bread down, and you can make the crumbs as coarse or fine as you like.
(This process will work best with bread that’s a few days old, but you can use fresh bread too! Just pop the bread into your oven at 200 degrees until the bread dries out a bit, then follow the instructions above.)
2. Homemade Croutons
In addition to making your own breadcrumbs, you can also use stale bread to make your own croutons! Start by cutting your bread into 1″ cubes, then place them on a baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle the bread cubes with olive oil, and sprinkle with your favorite dried herbs.
Place the baking sheet into your oven at 350° for 10 minutes or so, flipping the croutons over halfway through. When they’re perfectly crispy and golden-brown, they’re done! Sprinkle your finished croutons on your favorite salads and soups for a delicious crunch.
3. Soup Fix
Have you ever noticed a layer of oil or fat collecting on top of on of your homemade soups? A piece of stale bread is a great quick fix! Just place the bread onto the surface of the soup for a few seconds. The bread will absorb most of the fat resting on the surface, then you can just toss the bread out. Consider your soup saved!
4. French Toast
Many people say that french toast is even better when you make it with stale bread. The stale bread absorbs the egg mixture more readily than fresh bread, so you end up with deliciously moist french toast.
Stale bread is great for making bread pudding, too! Use your favorite french toast and bread pudding recipes, or check out my tasty Apple Pie French Toast recipe at the link below.
5. Meatloaf & More
After you use your stale bread to make homemade breadcrumbs, use them as a binder ingredient in meatloaf, meatballs, and even burgers! The breadcrumbs absorb some of the juices during the cooking process, which helps the final product to be moist and tender.
Use homemade breadcrumbs in your favorite recipes, or check out my recipe for delicious (and adorable!) Meatloaf Cupcakes below.
6. Grilled Cheese
Use your stale bread to make grilled cheese sandwiches! The bread is going to crisp up anyways, so using stale bread doesn’t really affect the texture of the finished grilled cheese. (If you’re worried about it ending up too dry, add a soft cheese like cream cheese to your sandwich for extra moisture!)
7. Soften It Up
You can soften up a stale loaf of bread with this quick trick! (It works best on bakery loaves with sturdier crusts.)
Run the loaf of bread under running water for a few seconds, then place it in your oven at 350° for a few minutes. The moisture on the surface of the bread will create a steaming effect in the oven, so the bread should come out soft enough to slice or tear.
Bonus Tips For Keeping Bread Fresh
- Store bread in plastic or foil to help combat moisture loss.
- Store bread at room temperature rather than in the fridge.
- Freeze bread to keep it fresh for longer than a couple of days. Seal it tightly in a freezer bag, then defrost at room temperature.