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Leftover bread

(article, Culinate staff)

Whether you bake your own or just tote loaves home from the grocery store, most of us always, always have bread in the house. Even if you freeze it to preserve its freshness, sometimes you just find yourself staring at a stale loaf. Kelly Myers has some thoughtful suggestions for using stale bread; here are eight other ways to repurpose the staff of life.

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#(n1). Breadcrumbs. The simplest and most satisfying use for old bread, bar none. Chop that baguette into smallish chunks, drop them into a food processor (or blender), and whir. Presto! Instant breadcrumbs. Store in the freezer for future use.

#(n2). Croutons. Much better than the store-bought kind, and way speedy to make. What to do with your croutons? Fortunately, our crouton recipe comes with a salad attached.

#(n3). [%image promo-image float=right width=300 credit="Photo: iStockphoto/WilshireImages" caption="Fresh bread is a beautiful thing, but what can you do with the stale version?"] French toast. Perfect for bread that you can slice into thick rounds. Recipes vary, but basically this is a flexible dish: Whisk together a couple of eggs, a cup or so milk, vanilla, and nutmeg, and pour over bread slices arranged in a baking dish or bowl. Soak for a few minutes (or longer, depending on how stale and dense the bread is), then fry in butter or oil on a griddle or frypan. Serve with maple syrup, peanut butter, fresh fruit, or whatever floats your French-toast boat.

#(n4). Bruschetta. The ever-popular Italian appetizer turns old bread into crispy, oily platforms for tomato salad, tapenade, hummus, and other Mediterranean spreads.

#(n5). Panzanella (Tuscan bread salad). Like French toast, this is an easy-to-assemble and very forgiving dish. Slice your leftover bread into 1-inch square cubes and dress with vinaigrette, tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs — it's basically your favorite salad ingredients mixed with bread.

#(n6). Gazpacho. This Spanish summertime classic is made smooth and thick with the addition of bread. Try also cucumber gazpacho. 

#(n7). Romesco=newpage=true, a Mediterranean sauce excellent over practically any savory meat or carbohydrate, including more bread.

#(n8). Bread pudding. French toast, more or less, baked in a dish and served for dessert. A kid favorite and, served with a boozy cream sauce, a grownup choice as well.

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