Panzanella is an Italian salad with staled cubes of bread. Picture: Instagram.
Panzanella is an Italian salad with staled cubes of bread. Picture: Instagram.

What to do with stale bread - 3 delicious recipes

By Sacha van Niekerk Time of article published Jul 22, 2021

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Bread is a hot commodity at the moment with the looting in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng rendering many shops stripped of their stock.

The grocery stores that have decided to open their doors in the aftermath are rapidly selling out of fresh produce like milk, eggs, meat and bread. Now that these items are in high demand, it is important that they do not go to waste.

Meat and milk can last for a while in the freezer and eggs have a good shelf life too. However, bread tends to go stale pretty fast, unless you freeze it immediately. If you accidentally leave the bag open you’ll be left with something that is stiff, dry and unsuitable for sandwich making.

Your first thought may be to grit your teeth and toss the bag onto the compost heap, but don’t be too quick to waste. So long as your bread is stale but not mouldy, it can be salvaged and upcycled in a range of delicious foods.

Easy bread crumbs

Adapted from @elleinzerowasteland

You never know when having a stash of pre-made bread crumbs in your pantry will come in handy. From fishcakes to pasta with a crunchy herbed crust, schnitzels, and meatballs, their uses are endless and offer delicious results. Since the breast needs to be processed down to a fine crumb, a very dry, stale bread is ideal as it is more brittle and will break apart more easily.

INGREDIENTS

Stale bread, the ends of a bread loaf

or crust offcuts

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 190ºC.

Tear the bread into bite-sized pieces and place them on a baking sheet.

Bake the bread for around 10 minutes or until golden.

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

Store in an airtight container.

Stuffed French toast

By @amomwithaskillet

This upgrade of traditional French toast is almost too decadent to be a breakfast food. The recipe calls for stale bread as this holds up better than fresh when being soaked in the egg and milk mixture without disintegrating. When topped with all the delicious fixings, you’ll wonder why you ever thought of wasting those leftover bread slices.

INGREDIENTS

8 slices stale bread

2 eggs

1 cup milk

Pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla essence

Fresh or frozen berries (recipes uses a combo of blackberries, raspberries and blueberries)

1 tbs jam

1 tsp butter

80g or so of cream cheese or mascarpone

A dollop of Greek yoghurt or sour cream

Honey to taste

Powdered sugar

METHOD

Place the berries into a medium saucepan, add a dollop of whatever jam you have open in the fridge. Bring to a simmer, then turn heat to low, stirring from time to time.

Mix the cheese and yoghurt, add the honey to taste.

Heat a large griddle over medium high-high heat. Add the butter.

Mix the eggs, milk, salt and vanilla, pour into a pie pan. Soak both sides of the bread in the mixture and then cook on a hot griddle until browned, turning once.

Taste the berry mixture. Add a sweetener of choice if needed.

Place a slice of toast on a plate. Spread with the cheese mixture. Top with a large spoonful of berries. Place another slice of toast on top. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top.

Panzanella

By @marolacomcarambola

Panzanella is a dish originating in Tuscany, a region in central Italy. Made with a variety of fresh vegetables, the salad is known mainly for the addition of soaked stale bread. It often includes onion, tomatoes, cucumbers and, sometimes, basil. It is dressed with olive oil and vinegar. Refreshing and delicious, it’s the perfect anytime meal.

INGREDIENTS

Salad

3 cups rustic bread in large cubes

½ cup halved tomatoes

1 pinch salt

A generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

½ a yellow pepper, diced medium

¼ cup diced Mozzarella

Basil leaves to taste

Dressing

5 tbs extra virgin olive oil

2 tbs white wine vinegar

1 tbs mustard

1 pinch oregano

METHOD

Salad

Place the tomatoes in a colander and season with a pinch of salt. Leave the strainer on top of a bowl so that the water drains from it for about 15 minutes. Reserve the liquid for the sauce.

Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Place the bread cubes on a baking sheet and drizzle with the oil. Using your hands, mix them well until all the cubes are lightly covered. Spread the bread across the pan and place in the oven for 10 minutes or until it starts to brown. If you like, in the meantime you can turn the cubes to brown on the other side.

Transfer the bread cubes to a bowl, drizzle with some of the sauce and mix gently with your hands. The bread will soak up the sauce, but it won't get soggy.

Add the remaining ingredients, drizzle with more sauce to taste, and mix again. Sprinkle coarse sea salt to serve.

Dressing

Place all ingredients in a small pot with a lid, add the tomato liquid.

Shake until emulsified.

Pour over the salad.

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