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Use your loaf: how to use up stale bread

Here are some recipe ideas for using up leftover bread as a shocking 20 million slices are thrown away every day just in the UK. 

The first thing to do is look at your loaf and judge how much you will eat before it starts to go stale, and then simply slice and freeze the rest. Did you know you can pop frozen slices of bread right into the toaster and then pile on lots of different toppings? Or you can put frozen slice of bread in the air fryer with grated cheese (and onion for a bit of bite) to make cheese on toast.

But if you forget to do this and are left with stale bread this can still be used in lots of different recipes.

1. Versatile Breadcrumbs

Whizz dry bread in a food processor to make breadcrumbs for recipes like stuffing, bread sauce, fish cakes, meatloaf or nut roast – or even just chuck a handful in a bolognese or a mince recipe, just to bulk it out and make it go further. If you add garlic, herbs and a drizzle of oil you can scatter breadcrumb mix over shepherds pie, macaroni cheese or pasta bake for a crispy crunchy topping (thanks to Lisa Clift). Frances from Hungerford uses them to make a crunchy topping on tuna bake and in Delia Smith’s Queen of Puddings and Apple Charlotte. We also add crunchy breadcrumbs to salads.

2. Croutons

If you like crunchy croutons on your soup or salad or in an omelette then stale sliced bread is your friend. You can fry, bake or toast the bread to make croutons. See recipe here. You can quickly toast a slice of bread and cut it into small squares. You don’t need to fry it in oil if you don’t want to…

3. Italian Vegetable & Stale Bread Soup Recipes

Pappa al Pomodoro (bread and tomato soup) is a delicious ancient Italian recipe is brilliant for using up stale bread. 

Ribollita is another famous Tuscan recipe that requires stale, crusty bread.

4. Liisa’s Poor Knights – (Köyhät ritarit) a traditional Finnish recipe

Take any stale bread/baguette, cut it into slices (about the thickness of normal toast – although if you use stale toast you don’t need to cut it) and fry it with butter, then eat it with whipped cream and strawberry jam. 

It is incredibly yummy and once you get into it you almost start wishing for stale bread more often!

5. Sweet Bread & Butter Pudding

See our recipe here for Bread & Butter Pudding with dried fruit: hungerfordfoodcommunity.org/bread-butter-pudding

6. Cheese & Chilli Bread & Butter Pudding

See our recipe here: hungerfordfoodcommunity.org/cheesenchilli-bread-butter-pudding

7. How to make your own bread

If these recipes have inspired you to make your own bread, these are three main techniques:

1. Yeast
Here is an easy yeast bread recipe and easy rolls recipe to start you off.

2. Bicarbonate of Soda
It is easy to make soda bread with any kind of flour and baking soda (bicarbonate of soda). This filling Oat & Yoghurt loaf uses bicarbonate of soda and is great toasted for breakfast.

3. Sourdough
If you can get hold of some sourdough starter (or make your own starter), here is a Sourdough Rye Bread recipe from Philip Brown in Hungerford. Or search ‘sourdough bread for beginners’ on YouTube.

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