Dressing Up Day-Old Bread

by in Healthy Recipes, March 17, 2010

Pesto Crostini
There’s nothing better than freshly baked bread, but when it’s preservative-free, fresh bread dries out quickly. The dilemma: You may not use the whole loaf in one day and whatever is left is too good to toss. Get more mileage out of that extra bread with these ideas.

Freeze Now, Enjoy for Weeks
Fresh bread freezes beautifully in an airtight freezer bag for up to three months. To defrost, place pre-cut slices or the loaf right in the toaster or oven to warm. I like to keep sliced whole wheat baguette on hand. For times when I need a last-minute appetizer, I keep a sliced, frozen whole-wheat baguette on hand to make crostini. Drizzle bread rounds with olive oil, salt and pepper and toast in a 350-degree oven until crisp. Serve with dip, hummus, olive tapanade or fresh tomato salsa.

For Sopping Up Goodness
Stale bread will soak up all the flavors you add to it. Infuse dried-out bread with fresh veggies, herbs and a light vinaigrette and you’ve got a great Panzanella salad. Typically, this classic Italian dish features lots of tomatoes and basil. When it’s not tomato season, I use things like black olives, canned artichoke hearts and arugula instead. A bread salad may seem a bit heavy — keep the portions modest and you have a very sensible and healthy meal.

Bread also helps thicken soup. Combine some extra bread with beans, broth and tons of veggies and you get another classic Italian dish, Ribollita.

Create a Salad Topper
Forget about the salty boxed stuff — make fresher and healthier croutons from your extra bread and add to soups and salads. It’s simple: Toss cubed bread with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toast in a skillet or 350-degree oven, turning frequently to toast on all sides. Spice things up by adding dried oregano, chili powder, red pepper flakes or a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese to taste. Homemade croutons keep in an airtight container for up to three days.

Casseroles and Crispy Coatings
One of the easiest things you can do with leftover bread is make breadcrumbs. Use them to coat baked chicken, fish or veggies, make crab cakes or add a crispy topping to casseroles. Place chunks of bread into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until crumbs are to your liking. For flakier crumbs, use bread that is still slightly chewy or frozen bread that’s brought to room temperature. For lighter and crispy breadcrumbs, toast the bread first. Store breadcrumbs in an airtight container for up to a week.

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Comments (23)

  1. teri says:

    I always keep bread in the freezer for dressing to go with turkey, chicken or pork. Much better than the seasoned cube things in a box.

  2. barbie says:

    In my opinion Dressing Up Day-Old Bread is aa interesting way to practice your cooking abilities. It's an easy recipe that could help any amateur girl become an expert chef. Thank you for this post!

  3. loto says:

    My girl loves your post, if you have more posts like this one, just beep me.

  4. dress up says:

    Bread that is eatable after a few days is a very healthy one and deserves to be dressed well.

  5. barbie says:

    Day old bread is not the only thing good for making 'BREAD PUDDING" is good to make Bread pizza is very testy

  6. dora games says:

    Thanks for all your efforts that you have put in this. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful article.

  7. Yes, definitely bread pudding! It can be a little high-calorie sometimes but I love it. Gonna add that to our list of ideas for our ongoing lightened up series.

  8. Susan says:

    I substitute skim evaporated milk when I make bread pudding and it cuts out a lot of fat and calories. I also let soak overnight.

  9. MizWasy says:

    It's not exactly Bread Pudding – but it is a similar type recipe and works great as a dessert, too!

    Very Berry French Toast Bake

    12-14 slices of day old bread
    1 cup blueberries rinsed
    1 cup raspberries (or blackberries) rinsed
    1 cup strawberries rinsed, capped and sliced
    2 cups milk
    10 eggs
    1 cup brown sugar
    1/4 stick margarine or butter
    Maple syrup and additional butter/margarine

  10. MisWasy says:

    The second part of the recipe . . . .
    Remove crusts (I don't – but it's up to you) and cube bread.
    Preheat oven to 350°F.
    Spray or grease a 13 x 9 x 2 baking pan/dish.
    Layer 1/2 bread, all fruit and remaining bread into prepared pan.
    In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs until well blended and light in color.
    Add milk, stirring well. Pour egg mixture evenly over bread & fruit.
    Cover baking dish with plastic wrap and press on mixture several times to absorb eggs/milk; remove wrap. (OR you can pop into your refrigerator at least 8 hours or overnight like the original recipe).

  11. MizWasy says:

    and the last part . . . .

    Sprinkle brown sugar over top of mixture and dot with butter pieces.
    Cut heavy duty foil large enough to cover your baking pan/dish.
    Tent foil over dish and bake covered at 350°F for 30 minutes.
    Uncover and continue baking 25-30 minutes longer or until golden brown and center is set.
    Yield: 6-8 servings (if serving for dessert or you want smaller portions – it could yield up to 12 servings).

    Additional Notes:
    Serve drizzled with maple syrup and additional butter if desired. Pair it up with maple sausage links, coffee and orange juice for a great breakfast/brunch. It would also make a terrific dessert, topped with a small dollop of whipped cream.


  12. MizWasy says:

    OH – I did forget something – 2 tablespoons of Vanilla Extract with the eggs and milk.


  13. jerri says:

    This bread pudding sounds awesome. Can't wait to buy some bread just to make it. We don't usually have bread in the house, so will purchase some tomorrow. Thank you so much

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