Living in a hot and humid climate, I noticed that bread goes stale a lot quicker than when a lived in a dry area. I always feel bad having to throw out stale bread so I started finding ways to make it last longer or re-purpose it. Here are a few ways that have worked well for me:
- Freeze it If I have extra, I just keep a few slices on the counter and freeze the rest. I thought I’d be able to tell the difference in quality but there really was no noticeable difference in taste or texture after it was thawed.
- Refrigerate and Toast it
I also tried storing bread in the fridge. I did notice a difference in the texture – it gets a bit harder, but if you toast the bread, then no one can tell.
- Make croutons It is very easy to make croutons. Just slice the bread in squares, toss with a teaspoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Garlic and onion powder also add a nice flavor. Bake at 375°, mixing them occasionally, around 10-15 minutes or until they turn golden.
- Garlic Bread Sticks Butter the bread slices. Season with garlic salt. Slice the bread into 1 inch wide strips. Bake at 375°, mixing them occasionally, around 10 minutes. The butter seems to make them darken a bit quicker than olive oil. Serve with your favorite pasta dish.
- Bread crumbs
Freeze leftover bread before it goes stale. Once you have enough pieces to make a batch, bake them in the oven at 250-300 for 10-15 minutes. Place in a blender or food processor. I’ve even used a cheese grater to make bread crumbs when I didn’t have either one and it worked.
- Grilled cheese sandwiches I learned how to make grilled cheese sandwiches watching hospital cafeteria workers in one of my first jobs. Toast two pieces of bread lightly first. Then add a tablespoon of butter to the pan or grill. Place cheddar cheese in between the bread and brown both sides of the sandwich in the pan. Serve with a slice of tomato and pickles.
- Stretch ground beef for hamburger, meatloaf or meatballs.
- French toast Lightly toast the bread. Scramble an egg and add cinnamon, vanilla and a tablespoon of milk. Dip the toasted bread in the egg until it is moistened, and fry in a buttered pan. It is ready when it is golden brown. Serve with maple or pancake syrup.
- Thicken soups You can add pieces of bread into any soup to thicken the consistency.
- Feed the birds If you no longer want to eat it, cut bread in small pieces and use as bird feed.
I know there are many more uses for bread, such as making bread pudding, or French onion soup, etc. but these are the ones I have tried.