Friday 22 May 2015

FOOD: Using up that stale loaf of bread...

The smell of the bakery section in supermarkets is heaven and there's often one loaf that you can really smell - the tiger bread. They spread sesame oil over the top of the loaf to give it its distinctive smell and taste. As much as I love tiger bread too often it goes hard before we've had a chance to eat it all. I hate waste and throwing away the rock hard tiger bread isn't what I like to do, instead I often use it to make a variety of different things. Being a parent now means that time is limited, therefore these ideas are all quick and easy to do. In fact I cooked many of these with my daughter asleep in a baby carrier on me, it's the only way to have two hands free! 

So if you find yourself left with some rock hard tiger bread (or any other fresh bread) then why not try one of these ideas rather than throwing it away?

Bread and Butter Pudding
This is the perfect way to turn dry, hard bread into something delicious.

8 slices of stale bread
50g butter
275ml milk
100ml double cream
3 eggs
65g caster sugar 

1) Preheat the oven at 180'C.
2) Butter both sides of the slices of bread and place into an ovenproof dish.
3) In a measuring jug pour in the milk and double cream. Stir in 50g of the caster sugar and whisk in the eggs. 
4) Pour the milk mixture over the sliced bread, sprinkle with remaining 15g of caster sugar. 
5) Bake for 30-40 minutes and serve warm with custard, cream or ice-cream.

You can easily add other flavours into your bread and butter pudding, such as chocolate chips, candied peel, currants, spread the bread with jam or marmalade etc. 

Savoury Bread and Butter Pudding
 A twist on the usually sweet bread and butter pudding, the savoury version makes a slightly different meal. Follow the recipe above, without adding the sugar, instead you can add whatever you have in the cupboard/fridge - cheese, ham, fried pancetta, herbs, spices, cooked vegetables - anything really!

 One of the easiest things to do with stale bread. All you have to do is cut the bread into cubes, drizzle with oil, add small chunks of butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake in the oven for around 10 minutes or until golden brown. Again, you can add other flavours to the croutons: minced garlic, Parmesan, fresh herbs, dried chilli flakes etc. Once the croutons are completely cool you can put them into a freezer bag and freeze them. The perfect accompaniment to soups and salads. 

 Breadcrumbs can be used used in so many recipes - fishcakes, burgers, stuffing, meatballs, crunchy pasta bake topping, stuffed mushrooms etc. Depending on how stale the bread is you can either grate the bread to create breadcrumbs or blitz it in a blender. These can also be put into a container and frozen, so that you have a supply ready to use.

Panzanella - an Italian tomato and bread salad
 With summer is approaching this is the perfect salad for a bbq or picnic. This recipe is adapted from Jamie Oliver's website.
Tuscan bread and tomato salad 

200g stale bread
600g mixed tomatoes, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 small red onion, finely sliced
280g jarred red peppers, drained and roughly chopped
2tbsp red wine vinegar
6tbsp olive oil
Handful of fresh basil 

 1) Tear the bread into chunks and place on a tray. Leave in a warm place for around 30 minutes, to help dry it out and make it really crunchy.
2) Put the tomatoes and seasoning into a bowl, along with the onions, peppers and dried bread. Combine them, stir in 2tbsp of red wine vinegar and about 6tbsp of olive oil. 
3) Tear in the basil leaves, stir and serve.

Do you have any other ideas to use up stale bread?

Feel free to leave me a comment :)

Helen x

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