A loaf of bread has a short shelf-life—after just a few days, it can go from fluffy and airy to rock-hard and inedible. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to make day-old bread delicious again. Toasting, grinding, and soaking are all good for using up yesterday's loaf. Keep old bread from going to waste with these stale bread recipes.
Mixing cubes of stale bread with butter or oil and baking them turns them golden brown and crispy. They can then be used to make panzanella, a versatile bread salad. In summer, make it with fresh tomatoes and basil. The salad is a great match for pesto-rubbed grilled chicken. In autumn, you can make panzanella using ingredients like arugula, pine nuts, and cranberries.
Gazpacho is a traditional Spanish soup made of raw vegetables and thickened with stale bread. In Andaluz, it's made with the ripest tomatoes you can find, puréed with cucumbers, garlic, sherry vinegar, olive oil, and bread. While the red Andalusian gazpacho is the most famous variety of the soup, we love making white gazpacho with macadamia nuts or almonds.
Cooking pieces of stale bread in a mixture of eggs and cream turns them into a custardy pudding. It's often a dessert dish, as in our sweet banana and dark rum bread pudding. Savory bread pudding is great too, though—try our version with sautéed leeks and parmesan or wild mushrooms and Gruyère.
Never throw out old bread again thanks to these stale bread recipes.
Sweet, ripe, summer tomatoes dressed in olive oil, vinegar, and basil are tossed with garlicky, toasted bread cubes to soak up the delicious juices in this classic Italian salad. Get the recipe for Summer Panzanella »
This thick, porridgelike soup is a hearty way to start a meal.
The secret to making a light meat loaf is to handle it as little as possible. Get the recipe for Meat Loaf »
Cornflake-Crusted Brioche French Toast
A delicious way to use leftover rye bread, this sweet pudding enhances the bread’s tangy flavor with the addition of spices and dried fruits.
Typically made with day-old bread or breadsticks during the holidays, this northern Italian specialty comes out like a luscious casserole of melted cheese and bread.
Though there are many versions of gazpacho, the traditional, tomato-based Andalusian variety is the one you want on a hot afternoon or warm evening. Get the recipe for Gazpacho Andaluz »
Chilled Macadamia Gazpacho with Cured Asparagus
Pungent raw garlic shines in this no-cook soup adapted from Claudia Roden’s The Food of Spain (Ecco, 2011). Get the recipe for Almond and Garlic Soup (Ajo Blanco) »
Salmorejo is gazpacho’s richer, deeper cousin. Get the recipe for Spanish Chilled Tomato Soup (Salmorejo) »
Pesto genovese adds herbal brightness to this grilled chicken served over a toasted bread salad, but any flavor pesto will work.
Braised onions, bread, and melted cheese are the main components of this timeless dish, which epitomizes the robust cuisine of Parisian brasseries. Get the recipe for French Onion Soup »
Banana and Dark Rum Bread Pudding
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Crispy pancetta, peppery arugula, and sweet sautéed shallots give a fall spin to panzanella. Get the recipe for Autumn Panzanella Salad »
The chewy sourdough bread cubes in this savory dish soak up custard for a creamy interior and toast to a golden brown for a crunchy topping, perfect for a slow morning. Get the recipe for Leek Bread Pudding »
Flameware—clay pots that can be used on the stove or in the oven—was pioneered in the ’50s but has lost popularity as the special clay is notoriously difficult to work with and materials like enameled cast iron meet most high-heat cooking needs. Travis McFlynn, Bay Area’s ceramicist-to-the-chefs, has developed a line of flameware that is handmade and gorgeous enough to cook and serve in. Chad Robertson, who favors McFlynn’s vessels for this dish at Tartine Bakery in San Francisco, considers the benefits of the painstaking process: “When you have a wood-fired oven, it’s sexy to be blasting a dish and then serve it right out of there.”