Everyone has those few pieces of bread slowly going stale in the bread bin. The go-to bake is usually the bread and butter pudding, but we bet we can surprise you with a few more uses for those stray slices.
We all need a loaf in the kitchen. It's the humble cornerstone of any household and we assume it'll be scoffed immediately. Sometimes, however, those last few pieces sit and wait in vain for a sandwich or slice of toast that never comes. If you loathe waste as much as we do, here are ten of our best-loved bread recipes to make the most of the ingredient that's king of the kitchen.
Our favourite ways to use leftover bread...
Bread and butter pudding
We'll start with the classic. Leftover bread really does make the best pudding and it's perfect if you've got a hankering for something sweet and need to feed a crowd. Try our twist, using zesty marmalade and a dash of whisky, for a grown-up comfort food treat.
Veggie bread bake
Feel like something savoury? All it takes is leftover white bread, a nice strong cheddar and a couple of handfuls of vegetables to make a family meal to please all palates. Try this picture perfect leek & tomato eggy bread bake.
Liven up baked fish or macaroni cheese with a crisp breadcrumb topping. It adds texture and depth to a recipe that just needs that little bit of crunch. These lemon & rosemary crusted fish fillets are not to be missed.
Crusty bread salad
Panzanella is a much-loved Italian bread salad that typically pairs ciabatta, ripe, juicy tomatoes, olive oil, olives, capers and peppers. The mix of sharp and mellow flavours along with a variety of textures make it a seasonal salad to rival the best.
Stale bread also makes the best Sunday dinner sauce. Double cream, a bay leaf and a bit of onion elevate a simple bread sauce to something essential for any roast poultry. Our French bread sauce is the best around.
Throw these into soups and salads. Just a sprig of parsley and a drizzle of olive oil can turn your torn up bread into a crisp and golden treat. These crunchy parsley croutons are our favourite final flourish.
The ultimate French toast
Stale bread lends itself well to soaking up flavours and not turning to mush at the first hint of moisture, so why not treat yourself to a breakfast or brunch to remember with our chocolate & banana French toast.
A tantalising toastie
Extra crispy bread + extra melty cheese = winner. Stale bread works just fine for toasties. Butter the sides on the pan/grill and wait for that golden brown colour and oozing centre we all love. These leek & wensleydale toasties are bound to satisfy cheesy cravings!
Breadcrumbs help to bind your burger patties, which gives you a great excuse to treat yourself to a Mexican fiesta of flavours with this Mexican bean burger with lime yogurt & salsa.
A note on storing bread
It's inevitable that sometimes you just won't get a chance to use up your bread. Storing it in the right way means you can avoid waste.
The length of time bread keeps depends on the type and whether or not it has additional ingredients to help preserve it. For example, French bread only stays fresh for a day, while a shop-bought sliced loaf may easily last for three or four days. Freshly baked bread goes stale, which involves drying out and becoming harder as its structure changes. Bread that contains preservatives often goes mouldy first.
Room temperature, fridge or freezer?
The best way to keep bread is to wrap it in plastic or foil, this helps to combat a loss of moisture. Store it at room temperature if you know you're going to get through it.
It may seem counterintuitive but the fridge won't prolong life. In fact, it accelerates the change in structure and can make it become hard sooner.
Conversely, the freezer is the best option if you want to keep bread fresh beyond a day or two. Seal well in a freezer bag on day one. You can slice it first, if you like. Defrost at room temperature, toast slices from frozen or wrap in foil and heat through in the oven - the latter gives a nice result for French bread.
Another way to avoid waste (and you can also do this if it's already a bit stale) is to blitz the bread into breadcrumbs. Pop them in a freezer bag and grab a handful when you need them.
What are your innovative ways of loving your leftover bread? Let us know in the comments section below...