There’s nothing worse than realizing your loaf of bread has gone stale before you had the chance to use it all. But don’t despair — with some kitchen creativity (and a few recipes up your sleeve), you can work a little magic so it lives to see another day.
1. Bring Bread Back to Life
That’s right — you may not have to accept that your bread is dead. While there are a myriad of methods for reviving stale bread, these two are top-notch.
The Microwave Method
1. Wet a paper towel so it’s damp, but not sopping.
2. Place the bread on top of the paper towel.
3. Microwave on high in 15-second bursts until the bread is soft.
4. Use immediately for best results.
The Oven Method
1. Preheat your oven to 400 F.
2. Place a pan of water on the lower rack.
3. Once preheated, place your bread on the rack above.
4. Bake for 5-10 minutes, until softened.
2. Create Croutons
Stale bread is perfect for making homemade croutons that can liven up any salad or soup. All you have to do is slice your stale bread into cubes, toss with oil or melted butter and the seasonings of your choice, then either fry on the stove or toast in the oven until crisped to your liking.
3. Whip Up French Toast
When the stale bread absorbs an egg-custard mix for French toast, it fries up into crispy-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside perfection.
4. Make Bread Pudding
Whether you make it savory or sweet, bread pudding is one of the most classic uses for stale bread for a reason: it’s insanely delicious and super easy to pull off. Slightly stale bread works best at absorbing the creamy custard mixture, so when you bake it, each portion become uber-saturated with flavor.
5. Prep a Whole French Toast Casserole
When you combine the best parts of French toast and bread pudding, you get a French toast casserole. Start by placing the stale bread slices in a baking pan and soaking them in a sweetened custard mixture overnight. All you have to do is bake it in the morning and brunch is served!
6. Make Bread Crumbs
Bread crumbs are a handy item to have in your pantry, but you can also easily make ’em yourself. Simply pulse stale bread in a food processor and use it as a seasoning, fry coating or dust for your cooking surface.
7. Put It Into Stuffing
You don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving to make stuffing. The next time you have a bunch of stale bread, use it to whip up a batch and you’ll make any day feel like a holiday.
8. Turn It Into Dessert Cups
Stale bread is thirsty, so it’s the perfect canvas to absorb soft, melt-y desserts like ice cream or pudding. If the bread is somewhat pliable, cut it into strips and press it into cupcake liners — that way you can use ’em as little serving bowls for your favorite soft dessert.
9. Top French Onion Soup
One of the best parts of French onion soup is the toasted piece of bread cheesy on top, and stale bread works oh-so-perfectly in that role. With the soup underneath and gruyere coating on top, the bread will soak up all those incredible flavors.
10. Make Bruschetta
Stale bread on its own is boring. But stale bread toasted and topped with tomatoes and herbs — aka bruschetta, the classic Italian appetizer — is mouthwatering and most definitely puts your loaf to good use.
11. Bake a Charlotte
Bread pudding isn’t the only sweet you can make with old bread. A charlotte is a classy, tasty dessert where stale bread slices line a mold that’s filled with fruit or custard (or both!). The fillings soak into the bread, giving it a flavor you won’t be able to resist.