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Community wiki question. I'd like to compile an index of uses for stale bread. Here's a couple off the top of my head. Feel free to just go ahead and edit this list:

  • Panzanella salad (with tomatoes, olive oil, onions)
  • Thicken soup
  • Bread galette (soften with eggs, cook into a sort of omelette)
  • Croutons
  • Bread crumbs
  • French onion soup
  • Gazpacho
  • French toast
  • Bread pudding
  • Summer Pudding
  • Bread and butter pudding
  • Bruschetta
  • Fondue
  • Stuffing
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Due to lack of ideas in the past, I've learned to avoid letting my bread go stale by freezing it within a day of baking. –  justkt Aug 16 '10 at 16:47

12 Answers 12

Feeding the birds :-)

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+1 for good humor. :) –  Pretzel Aug 16 '10 at 20:26
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Actually, why not? If you have younger kids, and can afford to feed them non-stale bread, a trip to feed the ducks at a nearby pond is a worthy outing :) –  zanlok Jan 25 '11 at 20:36

Stuffing. Pretty much any stale bread product can be made into stuffing: I once made an old batch of cinnamon rolls into stuffing for pork chops. I made enough chops for 2 days of leftovers, and my guests wolfed the entire batch in one meal. No leftovers for me, AND I get asked about it to this very day.

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  • French Toast is called Pain Perdu in French, which means reclaimed bread.
  • Crushing old bread is the best way to make breadcrumbs for stuffing, batter, whatever.
  • In my Navy days, we used to use old bread to soak up some of the oil from deep-fried food. Put a layer of old slices on the bottom of a dish and then drop the aubergines, schnitzels or whatever it was into the dish and let the bread suck all the excess oil out of it.
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Mix a raw egg with some herbs, salt & pepper. Dip Your old bread in it for a few seconds and drop on a frying pan. Popular use of not-so-fresh bread in Poland. But don't use too old ones.

For really old bread (the one that can already make knock-knock jokes): Put it in the freezer in the morning and come back in the evening or on the following day (or any time up to 3 months later :D). Take it out and put some cheese on it. Put in an oven till they defrost and then get crunchy and all :) DON'T use microwave. It sucx.

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Sorry if my answer sounds a bit weird, but I've never written a recipe in english :P –  naugtur Aug 16 '10 at 7:28
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I'm intrigued by the egg & herbs -- it sounds like a sort of savory french toast. Any recommendations on herbs, or could you tell us the name for it (in Polish is fine), so we can look up additional info on it? –  Joe Aug 16 '10 at 14:04
    
It's too common/simple to have a name. I call it bread dipped in eggs :P As for herbs I recommend those common for italian kitchen - basil and oregano. You can add grated cheese to the egg mixture if You have a good frying pan - it gets REALLY sticky. And You want the egg to stay on the toast, not the pan. –  naugtur Aug 17 '10 at 8:45
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@Joe until I came to America, French Toast was always savory to me. I was startled and dismayed the first time I had 'French Toast' in the states and my friend poured maple syrup all over it as she served it. –  Mechko Aug 17 '10 at 8:50

I'm guessing most people these days use fresh toasted bread for it, but bruschetta is a centuries-old way of using bread that's going stale.

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Historically it was also used for fondue. I usually use mine for breadcrumbs and french toast already mentioned.

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My mom used to make strata with stale bread. It's basically a savory bread pudding. I'm sure it's terrible for you since it's mostly bread, eggs, milk and cheese, but it sure is tasty.

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I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned meatballs!

Unfortunately I can't provide a recipe, but I know that my mother and grandmother both use stale Italian bread in their meatballs. The bread is soaked in water, and ends up mixed into the meat. It's not the primary component, of course; the result is certainly not balls of bread with meat in them! but I assume the bread has some impact on the texture of the meatballs.

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wonder if a meatloaf variant would work as well? –  zanlok Jan 25 '11 at 20:36

We use stale bread at school to wipe the last of the residue off the flat top grill when cleaning it.

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Good point -- cleaning; I'll put some through my spice grinder to help absorb the oils when I'm cleaning it. –  Joe Jan 26 '11 at 18:13

Scalloped tomatoes - a great way to use up tomatoes and old bread!

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I often keep some stale bread around for meatloaf or meatballs. You'll want to soak the bread before you add it, I generally use milk. Fill a bowl with milk and put the bread in there for a while, the more stale the bread the longer it will need to soak. Once the bread has gotten quite soft you can drain it (squeeze it a little to get rid of some moisture) and add it to the rest of your meatball/loaf ingredients.

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