10 Ways to Give New Life to Stale Bread and Reduce Waste

10 Ways to Soften Stale Bread.

We all love bread but by the time many of us make it to the last few slices, we often end up with slices of stale bread.

Instead of throwing it out, use one of these 10 tips to finish your bread loaf down to the last crumb!

10 Things To Do With Stale Bread

American buy approximately 3 billion loaves of bread a year. 25% of that ends up in the trash. That’s 750 million loaves!

How many times have you dug into the breadbox only to find a hard crusty rock where a fresh loaf of bread used to be? It’s time to take back the bread! Here’s how to use up those stale bits, plus tips for keeping it fresh as long as possible.

1) Refresh it

Revive stale bread by placing it in a dampened paper bag and baking in a 300-degree oven for 3 minutes. You can also try this secret tip by Chef Sara Moulton for softening rock hard bread baguettes.

2) Use it in recipes

Day-old bread is the basis of many recipes, like French toast, bruschetta, bread pudding, French onion soup, stuffing, strata, meatloaf, and Panzanella – and it makes excellent grilled cheese sandwiches.

3) Freeze it

If you’re not ready to use in a dish, toss it in a zip-top bag and freeze it for later. Leave room in the bag to add future stale bread.

4) Make breadcrumbs

Dry out bread slices on a baking sheet at your oven’s lowest temperature. Grind dry bread in a food processor then dry the crumbs out again in the oven for another hour. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

5) Make croutons

Cube stale bread, toss it with olive oil and herbs and spices. Spread on baking sheet and toast in the oven on a low temperature until golden brown. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.

6) Thicken soup

Add a slice of stale bread into blended soups to add texture.

7) Dip it

The sturdiness of stale bread pieces makes them perfect for dipping in fondue or other sauces.

8) Keep veggies fresh

A piece of stale bread in the crisper drawer helps absorb moisture and keep vegetables fresh. Replace every day or two.

9) Feed your plants

Breadcrumbs can add moisture and nutrients to potting or garden soil. Dry stale bread in the oven, grind to create fine breadcrumbs, then mix into soil.

10) Treat your dog

Make Fido some snacks by mixing 1/2 cup stale breadcrumbs with 2 cups whole wheat flour, 2/3 cup water, and 6 Tbsp. oil. Roll out, cut out shapes with a cookie cutter, and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes.

Don’t Toss Those Heels!

Use bread heels as burger buns, turn them inside out to make grilled cheese, toss one in your brown sugar container or cookie jar to keep everything soft, or save them in the freezer to make breadcrumbs.

How To Store Bread

Bread will actually go stale more quickly in the refrigerator. Here’s how to make it last:

  • Fresh Baked Bread: Wrap in a cloth napkin or towel, then store in a paper bag on the counter or in a breadbox. If you won’t use it at all in 2-3 days, freeze a portion in an airtight plastic bag for up to 6 months.
  • Pre-Sliced Bread: Store it in the plastic bag it comes in for 5-7 days on the counter or breadbox or for 6 months in the freezer.

In the United States, 40% of our food never makes it to the table. Sustainable America is committed to cutting food waste in half by 2035.

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10 things to do with stale bread infographic.

H/t: Sustainable America

Wow, I didn’t realize that 40% of our food never makes it to the table. Help others reduce waste by sharing how to soften stale bread or reuse it with your friends and family.

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