Money Mondays: 10 Ways to Avoid Wasting Bread

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This post is by Bernie Carr,


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:

  1.  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.
  2.  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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Grilled cheese sandwiches    Bread that is a little bit dried out still makes great 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.
  7. Stretch ground beef for hamburger, meatloaf or meatballs.
  8. 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.
  9. Thicken soups  You can add pieces of bread into any soup to thicken the consistency.
  10. 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.  What are your favorite ways to use up bread?  Please share in the comments.

About the author:

Bernie Carr is the founder of Apartment Prepper. She has written several books including the best-selling Prepper’s Pocket Guide, Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure, The Penny-Pinching Prepper and How to Prepare for Most Emergencies on a $50 a Month Budget. Her work appears in sites such as the Allstate Blog and, as well as print magazines such as Backwoods Survival Guide and Prepper Survival Guide. She has been featured in national publications such as Fox Business and Popular Mechanics. Learn more about Bernie here.



For tips on prepping on small budget, read my latest book:

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  1. Hi Jen, Always wanted to know how to make panko crumbs-makes really good fried chicken. Thanks for the tip!

  2. Hi Mike, Wow, a homegrown salad with homemade croutons sounds wonderful! Thanks for the comment!

  3. you can use stale bread in stuffing for turkey, chicken if you are baking whole birds too. I have had wonderful meals made by a late friend of mine stuffed grouse (mind the odd of bit of 7 1/2 shot). Hunted the grouse together and he was hell of a lot better cook then me. He would save up all the heels of bread and use them in the stuffing.

    1. Hey Oldguy, That’s a good one. I haven’t tried it as stuffing myself, but now is a good time to save those bread heels with Thanksgiving around the corner. Thanks for the idea!

  4. Bread is really not good for birds, so please don’t do that except for an occasional treat! Stale bread is great for french toast, you make the egg batter, and put your bread in to absorb, then cook it. Loved the tip about toasting it for bread crumbs. Those will keep for a long time, so long as you keep bugs out of them.

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