Sourdough oatmeal bread Sourdough oatmeal bread Bread doesn't always get used up when it's supposed to. Why not make it last? (Photo: BGSmith/Shutterstock)

5 ways to give that stale bread new life

Because repurposing that outdated loaf sure beats throwing it away.

Despite your most earnest meal planning and grocery budgeting, sometimes bread goes stale before you can eat it. Rather than waste food, we compiled some ideas for giving that bread a new purpose.

1. Whip up some French toast.

Peaches 'n cream French toast from stale slices of breadSourdough, Texas toast, standard sandwich ... doesn't matter, as long as it's good and stale. (Photo: Jerry James Stone)

Breakfast is stale, er, served! Let's see, take a piece of bread, dip in beaten egg, fry it in butter ... we all know how amazing this turns out, no matter what kind of bread you use. But guess what? If the bread is too soft, the finished product will be too soggy. Plus, if you're the type who likes to really soak your bread in the egg mixture for that dense, custard-like texture without the bread falling apart, then stale is definitely the way to go. Try this fantastic peaches and cream French toast recipe from our Israeli Kitchen contributor Jerry James Stone.

2. Soften it with water.

loaf of bread on towelIt's like regifting, only with bread, so it's better. (Photo: TanaCh/Shutterstock)

OK, so you know that bread gets soggy really easily. So obviously we're not suggesting that you submerge your bread in order to turn back time on freshness. We're reasonable human beings who know a thing or two about food. Thus, we know there are two ways to soften stale bread: in the oven, on low heat, for 10 minutes; or in the microwave for 10 seconds. Both ways require wrapping the bread in a damp towel, and both ways require constant supervision to make sure your towel doesn't get too hot and catch on fire.

3. Turn it into croutons.

herbed croutons made from stale breadA fresh crouton is the best crouton. (Photo: aga7ta/Shutterstock)

Sometimes stale is the goal, not an unfortunate byproduct of bad planning. Indeed, there are some crouton recipes that prescribe stale bread to achieve full crouton consistency. Table Matters has a great one; so does Stone Family Farmstead.

4. Save it up for bread pudding.

casserole dish of gooey bread pudding made from old breadBread pudding is better with a dense, slightly dry bread. (Photo: Africa Studio/Shutterstock)

The recipes of Southern cooking extraordinaire Paula Deen are nothing if not unabashedly high-calorie. She clearly doesn't let that stop her, and rightly so. That said, her bread pudding recipe should be followed to the letter to produce those results we know and love from Deen. That means using stale Italian bread, no shortcuts, no exceptions.

5. Instant pizza crust.

this pizza bread used day-old bread as crustA good, easy pizza starts with day-old bread. (Photo: Grey Carnation/Shutterstock)

On the off chance you have a few slices left over from bread pudding night, simply carry it over into ... pizza night! The New York Times has a recipe that's a whole lot easier than making pizza dough, what with all that mixing and kneading and rolling ... what could be better than making great pizza just by doing absolutely nothing?


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5 ways to give that stale bread new life
Don't throw away that stale baguette or bagel, try these ideas for giving that old bread new purpose.