What about stale bread?

On the rare occasion you don’t get through the bread before it goes stale, here are some ideas. Entire books have been written on this subject1 so the following three ideas are just a beginning.

  1. Bread crumbs: Bread crumbs made from old sourdough are tasty, crunchy and yum. Roughly cut the stale bread into small chunks (about 2cm) and leave to dry out fully in an oven as it is cooling. If you leave them in an oven that is on it’s very easy to forget them and end up cooking them — try not to do this. When the bread chunks are completely dry, either crush them using a mortar and pestle (that way you can perfectly judge how coarse you want the breadcrumbs to be) or blitz them briefly in a food processor. Store in an air-tight container in a cool dark place. Serve them on reheated risotto, as part of a paste bake or on top of some mac and cheese (English for pasta bake’).

  2. Croutons: Roughly cut the stale bread into 2cm chunks. Put a frying pan on medium and heat some olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the bread chunks, season generously (salt, pepper, maybe some dried herbs or chilli flakes) and mix thoroughly. Cook gentle while turning until brown. Eat them as they are or add to a fresh salad for some fantastic crunch.

  3. Soup bottom: OK, this is probably not what it’s called, but slice some stale sourdough, put into a soup bowl and then pour your favourite (home made) vegetable soup — like Rachel Roddy’s minestrone — over the top. The bread will soak up some of the liquid and I don’t know how to describe just how good it is.

See also how best to store bread.

  1. OK, it’s not an entire book but the title gives you a hint at just how much one can do with with old bread.↩︎

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