What to Make with Stale Bread: Inspiration from France, Italy, and Mexico
We've come to the end of our bread-themed week, and so it only makes sense to talk about what's leftover: stale bread. Whatever you do, don't throw it out! All over the world people have come up with creative -- and surprisingly delicious -- recipes for stale bread.
Of course there's the easy ways to not waste a single crumb -- breadcrumbs and croutons come to mind -- but from breakfast to dessert there's even more delicious full dishes to be had as well. Here are just a few dishes that our chefs recommend.
Some would even say that French toast is better with slightly stale bread. Why? Because it helps the dish retain a bit of crunch, and, if its a bit stale, the bread won't get too limp when soaked in the milk and egg mixture.
For an appetizer, think: toast! After toasting the stale bread, you can top it with a wide array of toppings. In Italy, any vegetables in season are basically fair game, and you can learn more about traditional crostinis during a variety of our cooking vacations, including A Classic Tuscan Table with Chef Claudio. If you're in France, a good dollop of delicious tapenade would work as well!
One stale bread recipe from Tuscany -- and one of Chef Claudio's favorites -- is ribollita, a soup that combines bread and vegetables, including cannellini beans. Most popular during the Winter, ribollita actually translates to "reboiled."
Another incredibly popular dish in Tuscany is panzanella, or a tomato salad. The dish combines the bread with tomatoes, of course, as well as other seasonal vegetables like cucumbers. Dressed with vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper, the recipe is simple, but very traditional.
Many meatball recipes call for breadcrumbs, so why not use some stale bread that you have on hand instead? All Italians have their own family recipes, and many grandmothers swear by leftover bread and soaking it in milk or water, rather than using breadcrumbs.
Let's not forget dessert! A variety of bread pudding recipes call for stale bread, and this caballeros pobres recipe from Chef David of our Yucatan cooking vacation is just one of them.
How else do you waste not, want not with your leftover, stale bread?
By Liz Hall