Picture: Pixabay.
Picture: Pixabay.

Got stale bread? 3 ways to salvage it when waste is not an option

By Sacha van Niekerk Time of article published Sep 3, 2020

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Feeling guilty about tossing out all the bread scraps left over from lunch? And what about that loaf of ciabatta and bag of buns for the braai that didn’t happen?

No longer pillowy soft, your bread is now stiff and dry and unsuitable for sandwich making. Your first thought may be to grit your teeth and toss it into the compost heap, but don’t be so quick to throw it away. So long as your bread is only stale (and not mouldy) it can be salvaged and used to make a range of delicious foods, rather than going to waste.

Recipes for using up stale bread:

Home-made Croutons

Adapted from @kookingwithkathrine

Picture: Instagram

Soups, salads and more elaborate dishes like stuffed tomato and cheesy polenta can always use the additional crunch of croutons. Baked with olive oil, garlic and a range of herbs and spices, croutons have the potential to take your meals to new heights. Baked and coated in herbs and oils, the bread doesn’t need to be fresh. In fact, stale bread works wonders because it doesn’t become soggy when tossed with the olive oil and herbs.


  • Chopped herbs (thyme, oreganum)
  • 3-4 cloves of minced garlic (amount will depend on the size of your loaf)
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 loaf of bread (preferably stale)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 190ºC.

Cut up the loaf of bread into bite-sized cubes and place in a bowl.

Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of olive oil on to the cubed bread, throw in a pinch of salt and pepper along with the minced garlic and add the chopped herbs.

Give the bread a couple of tosses to ensure the cubes are evenly coated.

Place on a sheet tray and bake for about 10 minutes until the bread is golden.

Serve in salads, soups or crush over pasta dishes.

Easy breadcrumbs

Adapted from @elleinzerowasteland

Picture: Instagram.

You never know when having a stash of prepared breadcrumbs in your pantry will come in handy. From fishcakes to pastas with a crunchy herbed crust, schnitzels, and meatballs, breadcrumbs have endless uses and produce delicious results. Since the bread needs to be processed to make fine crumbs, very dry, stale bread is ideal as it is brittle and will break apart more easily.


  • Stale bread or
  • the ends of a bread loaf or
  • crust off-cuts


Preheat the oven to 190ºC.

Tear bread into rough, bite-sized pieces and place on a baking sheet.

Bake the bread for about 10 minutes or until golden.

Use a food processor to blitz the bread pieces into fine crumbs.

Store in an airtight container.


Adapted from @ roxana.ehsani_nutrition

Picture: Instagram

The perfect antipasto, bruschetta is a flavourful dish consisting of juicy tomatoes and herbs that combine to create a mouthwatering start to your meal. Stale bread works perfectly in this recipe as fresh bread becomes soggy under the layer of toppings.


  • 1 baguette
  • 2 cups of cherry tomatoes (or 3 large tomatoes)
  • ½ cup basil
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


Chop the tomato and basil and combine in a bowl with the other ingredients – except the baguette.

Slice baguette, place on baking sheet and spray with a drizzling of olive oil.

Toast the bread in the oven at 175ºC for 10-15 minutes.

Top the crisp bread with tomato mixture and eat immediately with an extra drizzle of olive oil.

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