All of us who bake bread as a hobby encounter this issue on a regular basis. We all knows how delicious freshly baked bread is. But we also know how boring it can be after a few days.
You better just realize it. Sustainability is clearly limited compared to much industrial baked bread.
Now, I don’t think that has to be anything negative. It’s worth thinking about why those loaves you buy in the store can stay fresh for so much longer. Maybe we don’t want to now the answer.
But still, all these dry pieces of various types of bread in the pantry is a bit depressing for me.
Just throw them away, you may say. But I have a problem with that.
OK, if it starts to grow green or white fluffy things on it, I suppose there are now other solution. But to throw away food that is still useful seems unethical.
There are so many people in the poorer parts of the world that are struggling to get enough food for the day. Meanwhile, we in the richer parts of the world are throwing away tons of still useful food. We have to realize that it’s somewhat arrogant.
But to sit and chew on a piece of stale bread of principle reasons is probably not the solution. It will only end with you giving up, and stop baking bread.
No, here you have to be creative. Because of course, there are solutions.
Here comes a few of them.
I claim that Bruschetta is a small miracle. That something so simple can be so good, has to be a godsend.
Cut a few slices of your leftover sourdough bread. It should be ciabatta, and if you have that it’s fine. Otherwise don’t care too much about that. All white bread of good quality will do.
Fry them in a little olive oil until they are golden brown on both sides, and let dem drain on paper towels. Core and chop some tomatoes and mix them with finely chopped basil, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Top the slices with the tomato mixture. Ready.
Think of it as summer on toast.
How many times have you bought the croutons to your Ceasar salad in the grocery stoor, just because it’s convenient? Stop doing that! Search your breadbox for leftover white bread and do a batch of your own instead. It’s so ridiculously simple. They will probably be tastier and cheaper guaranteed.
Cut away the crust from the bread slices and cut them into small cubes.
Or, you can just go berzerk and tear them into small pieces. There is no law saying that croutons have to be square.
Fry them in butter or olive oil, or both, until they are golden brown. Sprinkle with salt and let drain on paper towels.
Now they are ready to be used in your favorite salad or soup. Of course, you can add flavor to your croutons with various herbs, garlic or why not some chili flakes. Add the flavor at the end and let it fry for a minute so it doesn’t get burned. Store the croutons in a covered container if you’re not planning to eat them immediately.
Panzanella reminds a bit of Bruchetta, but here the bread pieces are mixed with tomatoes to a salad.
Rip the bread into pieces and roast it in the oven for 20-30 minutes.
Turn up the temperature to 300°F/150°C .
Mix the pieces with chopped tomatoes, cucumber, and bell pepper in a large bowl. Slice some red onion and mix it as well.
Mix a vinaigrette of two parts olive oil and one part red wine vinegar. Add salt and pepper and some finely chopped basil. Pour it over the salad and mix thoroughly. Eat and enjoy.
There are now limit how this salad can be varied. I will come back with some pimped up versions in the near future.
4. ONION SOUP
A slice of stale bread that’s holding up the cheese in an onion soup.
It doesn’t have to be more complicated than that.
5. MOZZARELLA IN CAROZZA
Not so healthy maybe, but indescribably delicious. Take two slices of bread. Add plenty of Mozzarella on one of the slices. Add some salt and black pepper and place the other slice on top of everything.
Whisk 2 eggs with 1.5 cup of milk. Heat up olive oil to 356°F/190°C in a frying pan. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test with a small piece of bread. It should be golden brown in about 40 seconds. Don’t skimp on oil. It should cover the bottom of the frying pan with almost an inch.
Dip the double sandwiches in the egg mixture and fry them in the oil for 4-5 minutes. Turn them around halfway through.
Take up and let drain on paper. Eat while still hot, but beware. This stuff is addictive.
Don’t throw away the oil by the way. You can still use it for frying.
Collect all the pieces of leftover bread you can find. Lay them out on a tray to dry. Run them in a mixer or food processor. That’s even easier than going down to the grocery and buy them. Besides, you know what it contains.
When I cleaned my pantry, I found an old packet of the purchased stuff. When I looked at the ingredients, I found Palm oil, which must be considered to be quite vicious.
The list can obviously be longer, and I will return to this subject periodically because this is important to me. I hope it’s important for you as well because the waste of food has reached epic quantities in the western world. A figure from the UN says that we throw away a third of all food produced in Europe and the US. That means about 1.3 billion tons of food valued at about 750 billion dollars. Often because of aesthetic reasons, not because it’s bad. Let us all do something about that problem. Saving some pieces of stale bread may not save the world. But a changed mind may do. If we all start to value our food more, I think we are on the right path.
What are you doing to avoid food waste? Please give us your favorite tricks in a comment below.