Stale is not dead : long live stale bread ! Pain perdu and other tricks

Are you a good citizen? Do you donate old clothes ? Do you buy second hand and like vintage ? This post is for you !

If you believe in a sustainable way of life same goes for your leftovers. Take bread for instance. We all like it best when it’s fresh. Still, don’t get rid of yesterday’s baguette just yet : there are so many ways to give stale bread a second youth. All it takes is a little anticipation and half a shelf in your kitchen cupboards.

Here are a few suggestions …

The quick wins

1. Croutons

I can’t believe I see croutons in supermarkets aisles. This is the easiest thing on earth. Why not dice any bread piece you know will be leftover. Do it before it’s completely dry to avoid loosing a finger in the process. Store them in a dry place in your kitchen. Any time you crave a good soup, you can spice it up with some croutons.

Fry them on low heat in a pan with olive oil and a diced garlic clove. Sprinkle over your hot soup, it will add a great crisp to it !

You can also use them to add some crisp to a salad.

2. Crackers

Slice thinly the old baguette ( before it’s too stale to be sliced. ) Store in a dry place. Once fully dry, serve with any spread of your liking.

3. Breadcrumbs

They’re the best addition to any kind of gratin dish. On this salt cod puree I posted about for instance, on stuffed tomatoes, on hachis parmentier… You name it. Throw a couple of those thin crackers we just talked about in your food processor and blend until you get really thin breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over your dish before baking in the oven. You’ll get the perfect crispy topping.

Class A makeovers

1. Bread pudding :

  • 500ml whole milk
  • 160g sugar
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 500g stale bread diced
  • 125g raisins

The night before soak the raisins in rhum.

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees. In a pan bring the milk and 100g of sugar to the boil.

Remove from the heat and mix the eggs into the hot milk. Stir in the bread and raisins. Leave to soak until the breas is soft.

Make a light caramel with the remaining sugar and 1 tablespoon milk : into a clean pan, place first under low heat for the sugar to dissolve. Then bring to the boil without stirring, keeping a close eye, until it turns light brown.

Coat the mould with the caramel, and pour in the pudding mix. Bake for one hour. Allow to cool and turn out to serve.

2. Pain perdu :

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 L whole milk
  • 1/2 vanilla pod
  • 2cl orange flower water or rhum 😋
  • 50g butter
  • 100g sugar
  • 250g stale bread

Use bread slices about 1cm thick. If your using baguette, cut it at an angle so that you don’t get only crisp on 1 side.

Mix the eggs in a bowl, pour in the milk and orange flower water ( or rhum… ). Slice the vanilla pod in the middle and scratch the seeds, add them to the mix. Beat so that all the ingredients blend well.

Put the breas slices in the mix and let it soak: the staler the longer it will need.

Warm a frying pan with butter, and color each side of the bread.

Clean the butter from the pan, pour the sugar in it and let it turn into a blond caramel. Roll the bread in it and serve right away with the jam of your choice. I personaly skip the jam as it is usually sweet enough to my taste.

Two tips : if you have two pans it makes it easier. Use one for the butter & the other for the caramel. Also, don’t rush: it’s really good when you’ve taken the time for each step of the recipe. I know this is more of a breakfast treat, so you might be hungry… But it’s worth being patient if you want to savor a real good pain perdu.

More ideas ? Share your thoughts !