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10 Ways to Use Up a Whole Loaf of Bread (Especially the Stale Parts)

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If one of your 2016 resolutions is to cut back on kitchen waste, there's no better time to start than now. Once you've hit the farmers market, done some cooking, and prepped for the week ahead, be mindful of your bits and bobs: Compost your eggshells, tuck the onion skins in the freezer bag newly christened as your stash of stock ingredients, and for crying out loud, don't toss that staling hunk of bread! Instead...

Photo by James Ransom
  • Make bread crumbs! And put them on everything, from salad to pasta to roasted vegetables, over a gratin or an egg in any form, or in meatballs or meatloaf (among other things).
  • Cut the bread into cubes and bake them into croutons.
  • Just how stale is this bread? If it's still got a bit of chew, it's a prime candidate for a wintry panzanella.
  • Give your bread a brand-new life in mushy-dreamy bread soup. (Try this version if you're not into mush.)
  • Strata will never lead you astray.
Mushroom, Kale, and Sausage Strata

Mushroom, Kale, and Sausage Strata by Kendra Vaculin

Strata with Sausage and Greens

Strata with Sausage and Greens by Merrill Stubbs

  • A sultry romesco will put a few slices of stale bread to use and punch up anything that needs punching, from seafood or meat to roasted vegetables.
  • Slice your loaf very thinly, then place the slices on a tray in a very low oven to dry out. Ta-da! Crackers! (Something else to put that romesco sauce on.)
  • There's always bread pudding—or French toast—if you need something sweet.
  • Form moistened stale bread into a sort of dumpling, the Italian canederli.
  • Lay a strip of bread over stewed fruit and bake for a cobbler-style dessert.

Share your stale bread wisdom—and storage tips!—in the comments.

Tags: bread, stale bread, reduce kitchen waste, bread crumbs, bread soup