Blogs

Write new blog
River Cottage Bread Handbook

Seven ways to use your loaf

by River Cottage Bread Handbook published on
, , , ,

Seven ways to use left-over bread

Half of all the food produced in the world ends up in the bin, a report from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers revealed today (Thursday 10 January).

That's the equivalent of 2 billion tonnes of perfectly edible produce which ends up as waste because it doesn't look quite right, together with supermarket bulk offers and strict sell-by dates.

It's estimated that it hits us in the pocket to the tune of almost £500 a year.

Today's report has predictably generated a lot of debate on our Facebook and Twitter pages, so we thought we re-visit 'Seven ways to use your loaf', a short piece by Bread Handbook author Dan Stevens on using leftover bread.

Let us know what you think, and share your tips below with the River Cottage community.

SEVEN WAYS TO USE YOUR LOAF

I never throw bread in the bin and neither should you – unless, of course, it is mouldy, which it shouldn’t be if you’ve stored it properly.

Consider these possibilities for your ageing loaf:

Cut the whole bottom crust off your loaf and use as a plate for a stew. Afterwards, eat the plate. It may sound silly, but this was an old English staple, known as a ‘trencher’. A good, thick slice of stale bread in the bottom of a bowl of stew is still an excellent idea.

Rip bread up into big chunks keeping the crusts on. Toss them in olive oil and bake until golden for wonderful croûtons to drop into soup. You could add some grated cheese as you toss – for a tastier, more stuck-together affair.

Make a bread sauce to serve with roasted poultry or game. Remove the crusts, tear the bread into chunks and soak in just-boiled milk infused with a small onion, a bay leaf and a few cloves for half an hour. Reheat and season generously with sea salt and freshly ground pepper to serve.

Rip bread into smaller chunks to make Spanish migas. Fry the bread in lard or bacon fat until crispy, throwing in some bacon lardons and sliced onion for extra flavour if you like. Season with salt and pepper, and finish with chopped parsley. Serve topped with a fried egg for the perfect breakfast.

Make breadcrumbs by blitzing chunks of bread, a handful at a time, in a food processor to make coarse crumbs. Freeze any breadcrumbs you won’t use straight away. They freeze brilliantly and you’ll find endless uses for them:

• Use to thicken soups, or sprinkle over dishes to be flashed under the grill for a crisp topping.

• Or to coat fish: season fillets of fish, dip into flour, then into beaten egg, then into breadcrumbs and shallow-fry. (For a thicker, crunchier coat double-dip them in the egg and breadcrumbs.)

• Or to make ‘poor man’s Parmesan’: shallow-fry breadcrumbs in olive oil
with a little salt until crisp, drain on kitchen paper and scatter over pasta. Dry breadcrumbs completely spread out on a tray, in a very low oven or somewhere else warm, then blitz again until super-fine.

• Use to make Scotch eggs: seal just-softer-than-hard-boiled eggs inside good-quality sausage meat (100g per egg), dip first in flour, then into beaten egg, then into fine, dry breadcrumbs to coat. Deep-fry in hot oil at 170°C for about 5 minutes, until the sausage meat is cooked through.

• Or, if you make your own sausages, use these dry breadcrumbs as rusk – they will soak up fat and moisture, keeping the sausages juicy.

• Or use to coat your own homemade fish fingers.

And don’t forget toast – one- or two-day-old bread makes better toast than fresh bread. Or do as Benjamin Franklin once said, ‘Give me yesterday’s Bread, this Day’s Flesh, and last Year’s Cyder.’ Sounds good to me... Or, try the recipes on the following pages. 

5 replies
Replied on

Don't forget the catalan way. Rub a squishy tomato over the bread, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle pepper on it, salt if you like. and EAT yum. much better than butter. you could rub a garlic clove over it first if you like.

Replied on

I use up our bread with an old fashioned Bread Pudding. Great either hot or cold.

Replied on

Or better still, given the weather, share your surplus with the poor birds (and don't forget to ensure that they have unfrozen water available every day).

Replied on

yeah, bread & butter pudding.

Replied on

Bread and Bread and Butter pudding not on your list?

To leave a response to the post you will need to be a registered user. Sign-up here or Login here
@rivercottage
  • RT @TinaTinaMay: @rivercottage I was made to eat that terrible mash made out of powder as a kid...why, when I could have had proper yummy b…
  • Any more for #21 of #cookeveryday? We're asking for food you were made to eat as a kid, lots of good answers so far! link
  • RT @GelfAlderson: @rivercottage was brought up as a vegetarian, rice flan always stuck with me, it summed up vegetarian cookery at its wors…
  • RT @HappyDaysNo1: @rivercottage I was made to eat liver and bacon casserole. I appreciate it now but wasn't such a fan as a kid. #cookevery…
  • RT @beckybeasley: @rivercottage lentil loaf, me and sis used to sneak it to the dog. #cookeveryday
  • RT @Bentholyptus: @rivercottage #everything. if I didn't eat everything on plate I couldn't leave dinner table. Suprised I'm not 20st #cook…
  • @NickKillingback Hmm, tricky. Let's ask @johnmushroom... #mushrooming
  • RT @allybag1: Gristle!!! Every bit of meat! Had to stay at the table till it was all gone ! Don't eat meat now ! #cookeveryday
  • RT @roryos31: @rivercottage #cookeveryday .My dad a chef loved making us eat all sorts -heart, pigs head , pigs feet etc.Not left leave ta…
  • It's time for #21 of #cookeveryday. What were you made to eat as a kid? Go! link
  • RT @AnnaPitt: @rivercottage fave autumn treat: bonfire, mulled wine, pumpkin soup and the glow of pumpkin lanterns #cookeveryday
  • @jonnytbonewils over to @lambposts...
  • WATCH: Make your own traditional apple and blackberry fruit leather with @thepamthejam link #cookeveryday
  • RT @Alpro_UK: We’re whipping up our hazelnut orange custard @RiverCottage – it's one of our fave autumn treats! #cookeveryday link
  • RT @plymouthcanteen: An exciting opportunity has arisen for a new Head Chef here at the Plymouth Canteen link
  • RT @thetimes: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall on how his mum taught him to bake, only in today's @thetimes (@rivercottage) link
  • RT @comeconella: @rivercottage all things butternut! #cookeveryday
  • @JayAllen33 @RiverCottageHQ good question! Let's ask @lambposts...
  • RT @CoopFayB: @rivercottage blackberry & apple crumble. Perfect from the picking through to the eating. #cookeveryday
  • RT @renc_g: @rivercottage My fave autumn treat? It's spring in Oz, so I'm gonna say rhubarb!! #cookeveryday
  • RT @violetpsyche: @rivercottage My favourite autumn treat: has to be treacle toffee. #cookeveryday
  • Happy Monday all! #20 on #cookeveryday is favourite autumn treats (edible or otherwise) - let's hear them now... link
  • RT @violetpsyche: @rivercottage Veg I grow in my garden: None this year. I grow fruit and want to grow more veg, if slugs will let me! #coo…
  • RT @truss_abbie: @rivercottage #cookeveryday grow veg on my allotment but in the garden is fennel...lots of other herbs and wild garlic in …
  • #19 for #cookeveryday is all about veg. What do you grow in your garden? #growyourown link
  • RT @RiverCottageHQ: . @rivercottage we love ALL cheese, especially that made by @tomthecheese on our course! link #cooker…
  • RT @lisa_spelling: @rivercottage all of them!! But especially Waterloo and stinking bishop and sharpham rustic with a large glass of port! …
  • RT @renc_g: @rivercottage Cheese of choice? Too hard! I love them all! Something French, creamy & smelly... Mmm... #cookeveryday
  • Morning #cookeveryday fans! Time for #18, what's your favourite cheese? link
  • Hugh helped raise money for #StandUpToCancer with @starservice! Can you help too? link
  • RT @rose_rambles: @rivercottage My family's favourite cake to make & eat: vanilla sponge filled with cream & sliced pear #cookeveryday http…
  • RT @whitstabob: @rivercottage it's presently Lemon, lavender and almond because it's the only edible one I've ever made! link
  • #17 for #cookeveryday: what's your favourite cake to make / eat? Go! link
  • Hungry? Find high welfare meat retailers near you link @PigBusiness link
  • RT @RiverCottageHQ: Come together to toast the #festive period with a seasonal aperitif & a roaring log fire in our yurt. Book now! http://…
  • RT @johnmushroom: @rivercottage #cookeveryday. Not yet mastered? Pastry. But how hard can it be? River Cottage Handbook needed, I think.
  • Keep your #cookeveryday answers coming - what cookery course would you like to do? What skill have you yet to master? link
  • Vote with your wallet. Watch @PigBusiness’ 3-minute video and sign the #PigPledge link
  • Today's #cookeveryday is: what's your ideal cookery course? What would you most like to learn? #cookeryschool
  • The new 3 minute #PigPledge video reveals the true cost of cheap pork - watch, share and sign! link
  • RT @BloomsburyCooks: Fantastic day today spent down in the farm @rivercottage - we got to ride on a tractor?! WINNING link
  • Keep your favourite chefs coming in - and remember to tag with #cookeveryday. Lots of love for @jamieoliver @rick_stein @Ottolenghi, Hugh...
  • RT @Lanzy_88: @rivercottage fav chefs wud have to be Hugh and the Hairy Bikers #cookeveryday
  • @hugo_harrison Assume you've seen Hugh's new one, #lightandeasy? It's packed with #wheatfree and #dairyfree recipes: link
  • RT @WinCanteen: Who's coming to meet Hugh tomorrow? He will be here at 10.30am to meet guests and sign his new book @rivercottage
  • RT @renc_g: @rivercottage My fave chef/cook..? I do love Hugh and @jamieoliver too. Keep fighting your good fights boys! #cookeveryday
  • RT @plymouthcanteen: The amazing talent Elise Yuill will be playing on Weds 15 October, come and enjoy beautiful music while you dine. http…
  • RT @ddtcm: @rivercottage #cookeveryday Keith Floyd. Full of enthusiasm and an inspiration. He was a legend.
  • RT @HappyDaysNo1: @rivercottage My favourite chefs are @jamieoliver @Rick_Stein & Hugh. 'Three Good Things'! #cookeveryday
  • RT @ar_weston: @rivercottage #cookeveryday My mom had never put a bad plate in front of me. :-)
Login or Sign-up

Login & Sign-up

Forgotten your password? Retrieve it here
Or connect via Facebook
Connect with Facebook
Join River Cottage
Close
Shopping basket: 0 items £0.00