01 September 2014

What to do with Stale Bread

Before you feed that stale bread to the birds (it's not really good for them anyway) or put those crusts in the bin (what a waste of good food and your money!) there are a lot of other uses for it.

The most obvious one is bread crumbs. You can make either fresh or dried bread crumbs, both are very easy and very handy to have in the pantry.

To make fresh bread crumbs, all you have to do is grate the bread or run it briefly through a food processor. Fresh bread crumbs can be used in meatloaf and meatballs or to make bread puddings just like this one.

Chocolate Bread Pudding

2 cups milk
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
4 slices stale bread (about 2 cups crumbled dry bread)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Meat the milk and butter until the butter has melted completely. Stir in sugar and cocoa. Crumble the bread into the milk and sugar mixture and allow to soak until bread is soggy. Beat with a hand mixer until well blended and smooth. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Pour mixture into greased casserole dish. Place the casserole dish in a pan of water so the water comes half way up the sides of the dish. Bake for 1 hour. Serve warm.

In the old days, people would use fresh bread crumbs to replace part of the flour in pancakes and other simple recipes. Fresh breadcrumbs turn a schnitzel into something really special. They make great seasoning for chicken or a piece of rolled beef or lamb too.

There are two ways you can make dried breadcrumbs. The first method is to run the crumbs through a food processor, then place them on a baking sheet. Pre-heat the oven to the lowest possible temperature (around 100 degrees Celsius for most ovens). Put the baking sheet in the oven and dry the crumbs until they are lightly browned. How long will depend on your oven and the amount of crumbs you have on the baking sheet. Stir them every 10 minutes so they dry evenly. Let them cool completely and store them in an air tight container.

The second method (and my favourite, it is cost free) is to lay the bread in a single layer on cake racks. Cover with a tea towel and leave overnight to dry. Then grate or whizz in a food processor to make the crumbs. Store them in an air tight container in the pantry.
Dried breadcrumbs made either way will keep for months in the pantry without a problem.

You can also add some Italian herbs (oregano, parsley, basil, etc.) for seasoned crumbs.

Dried bread crumbs are perfect for casserole toppings or as the coating for baked fish or chicken.

There’s a lot more life to that stale bread than mere crumbs, though. Some more

• Add a gourmet touch to your lunch salad with croutons. Cut the bread into
small cubes, and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle on some herbs to your taste, then
toast them in the oven on low heat until crisp and crunchy.

• Try re-introducing moisture into bread that’s not too far gone. Wrap the
bread in a paper bag and dampen the bag all over with water. Heat in a 325F oven
until the bread softens. Make sure the bag doesn’t dry out and start to burn!

• Toast, French toast and grilled cheese sandwiches all benefit greatly from slightly stale bread.


  1. Hi there - my husband likes the grainy type breads like Helgas. Would those be good for turning into crumbs, or does white bread work best ?

  2. Any bread can be used for bread crumbs. I use whatever we have been eating: white, wholemeal, multigrain, rye etc. As long as the bread is dry you can crumble it to as fine a crumb as you like, which "hides" the grains.


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