Bread is one of the foods we throw away most easily, given its joy usually passes along with its freshness. But that's not to say bread can't also get better with age, when stale bread is shown a little love it's just as at home holding up a soup as it is housing a comforting pudding.
After all, as Italian chef and waste food guru Massimo Bottura says 'bread is gold', and there's nothing more exciting to him than the idea of using up a 3-4 day-old loaf of bread and avoiding what he calls the 'tragedy' of throwing away the old.
With that in mind, why not tap into the hidden depths of stale bread and turn it into sweet and savoury recipes instead.
Take a look at some ideas on how to use up stale bread below.
Why Waste Cereals?
As part of our new Why Waste? series, Massimo Bottura challenges his crew to make leftover food delicious. Watch as Francesco Vincenzi, chef at Francheschetta 58 in Modena, shows us how to use bread crusts, as well as sharing tips on how to store bread to extend its life and waste less food.
Chef Vincenzi has a delicious caramelised bread crust recipe for using "all the bread you've had lying around, the last few pieces from the plate, the crusts at the end", which will "soak up the delicious cream and liquor".
Give Stale Bread a Michelin-Starred Makeover
Bottura gives stale bread a Michelin-starred spin, creating a dessert of bread crisps, bread and sugar cream, salted caramel ice cream and caramel croutons. Why not show your leftover bread some Michelin magic as well?
Make Beer out of Stale Bread
With baking and brewing so closely linked, it's no surprise that brewers have started up using leftover bread to make tasty beer in recent years. Take a look.
Make Breadcrumbs from Leftover Bread
An easy quick win is to turn your stale bread into breadcrumbs . Simply dry out stale bread on a baking sheet on the oven's lowest temperature, then blend it into crumbs and return to the oven to dry out some more. Store in an airtight container and wonder why you ever bought them from the shop.
Dip into your breadcrumbs anytime you want to add some crunch to your dish, like a pasta bake topping or adding into other dishes like these stuffed mushrooms.
Make Croutons from Leftover Bread
Leftover bread is ideal to be made into crunchy croutons for topping salads and soups. Simply cube the bread and toss it with a bit of oil, salt and pepper. Spread it on a sheet pan and bake it at 350 degrees F. until golden (about 10-15 minutes) and allow to cool on a cooling rack. We have the tried and tasted recipe for croutons here.
Did you know that by soaking a stale bread crust in a sauce that's too salty and it can do magical things and take down turn your sauce into something more palatable.
Don't be tempted to throw out a disappointingly stale loaf in the morning, turn it into delicious French toast and make an occasion of it - it works surprisingly better than fresh bread.
Stale bread makes an excellent thickener for soups. Cold soups like Spanish ajo blanco, are just one of the many recipes that call for leftover bread. You could also add cubes of stale bread to gazpacho before pureeing, or to hot soups like Italian classics pappa al Pomodoro or Tuscan ribollita.
Throw Stale Bread into Salads
Panzanella is a typical Tuscan dish of bread, tomatoes and onions created for the sole purpose of using up stale bread and home grown vegetables. What could be more rewarding for an old loaf than that?
Cook Stale Bread into Sauces
Stale bread is the foundation of a classic British bread sauce - the perfect comforting side with roast chicken and turkey. Try chef Richard Ekkebus' elevated sourdough version of bread sauce below below:
Blend Stale Bread into Dips
Stale bread is king in dips like taramasalata. Learn how to make it below.
Channel Stale Bread in Bread Dumplings
Bread dumplings like canederli from South Tyrol in north eastern Italy were designed to use up stale bread in this most comforting of mountain foods.
Watch as Paula from Pasta Grannies shares her canederli recipe.
Stale Bread is Great as a Binder
Binding meat for meatloaf, meatballs and burgers or fish for fishcakes is stale bread's forte.
Try this recipe for restaurant style meatballs, the Spuntino way
Stale Bread from Delicious Desserts
Stale bread is also a close ally come dessert time. Think big, hearty puddings like bread and butter, summer pudding, treacle tart and bread pudding with raspberries.
In order to combat food waste, we need to look at where food is wasted at home. Watch the video series Why Waste? with Massimo Bottura and his crew to get practical ideas on how to turn your leftovers into delicious meals.