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8 Ways to Use (Upgrade) Stale Bread

Updated on March 10, 2013
French toast I made with leftover zucchini bread!
French toast I made with leftover zucchini bread!

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Click HERE for a heart healthy french toast recipe! It is upgraded with soy milk, whole wheat bread and tons of flavor!

Prefer Pancakes? No problem! Click HERE for a healthy whole wheat pancake recipe!

Food for thought?

What would you do with an extra $1000?

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It is estimated that American Families throw away approximately 14% of their grocery spending in waste. Depending on the size of your family, it can be over $1,000 a year...that is a family vacation just thrown into the trashcan. Why not eliminate the waste and SAVE THE MONEY....what would you do with $1,000?

I don't think that I can count the number of times that I have purchased an expensive loaf of artisan bread only to let it become stale...unused and unloved. Throwing food away goes against my frugal (cheapskate) nature! I am a coupon junkie and thrifty to my core but to REALLY save grocery money...I have to work on eliminating waste. To me..waste is money and I would never throw a $5 bill in the trash!This issue really came to light when I began making all of my own breads at home. Now, I wasn't just throwing away some random cook's $3 creation, It was something that I spent time making. We didn't throw it away because it wasn't good...quite the contrary, it was great bread - We threw it out because it became stale.

Something had to give. I am way too cheap to watch my grocery money and my homemade goodies go straight into the trash can. I am in charge of a home budget and that certainly isn't a part of it! So, as I always do, I went back to my time as a restaurant manager. I had to think what I would have told my chef to do with stale bread because back then, I would have fired a chef for tossing a whole loaf of bread and yet here I am doing it at home. There are so many uses stale bread so why am I letting it hit the trash can? Not any more!

Here are 8 ways to UPGRADE your stale bread!

  1. French Toast- This is a fantastic option because most traditional french toast recipes will call for stale bread anyway. The sweet and creamy egg mixture will soften up your stale bread and will make a delicious breakfast. This week, I made it with leftover zucchini bread and even pizza biscuits! I understand that the pizza biscuits as french toast sound strange BUT it was a great mix of savory and sweet.
  2. Croutons- Cut your stale bread into squares and toss them in garlic butter and seasonings. Bake them in the oven and use them on soups and salads.
  3. Garlic Bread and Crostini - Cut thin slices of the stale bread, spread with garlic butter, and bake in the oven. Top the slices with fresh bruschetta & cheese or use the bread to dip into hummus or other dips.
  4. Bread Crumbs - This is honestly as easy as it sounds. Bake in the oven them crush the stale bread. You can season them or leave them plain. Toss a bag of these in the freezer and use them when you make anything that calls for bread crumbs!
  5. Casseroles - My favorite casserole is a breakfast casserole recipe that calls for bread to be left out overnight to get stale. Instead of using fresh bread...I make this when I have stale bread handy. This casserole is simply called ____________(insert main ingredient) special. It is comprised with whatever leftovers I have. It is perfect for a Sunday afternoon lunch. You can also make stuffings and bread puddings!
  6. Toppings! Make thin slices and season them in either sweet or savory and top soups and baked goods.
  7. Bird Seed - this only saves you money if you are already buying bird seed but it is a fun way to spend an afternoon with the kids!
  8. Natural Remedies - Believe it or not, Bread and milk mixtures have been used to treat things like boils, skin infections, and splinters! After you do this...THROW THE BREAD AWAY!

-You can even try to revive the bread! Dip the Bread into water and place it in a 375 degree oven for about 10-12 minutes...I hear it works...

There are hundreds of other recipes and ways to use your stale bread. In my opinion, there is never an excuse to throw it away. To see how much your family throws away...try this restaurant trick...Make a "waste log" (See Sample Chart Below) and keep it on the side of your refrigerator. Every time you toss food in the trash, give it a value based on the ingredients. You can REALLY watch this number add up this way. If you are able to upgrade this item....move the loss to the save category! You can now accurately track what you waste and how much you are saving by reusing ingredients!

BEST PRACTICE: Keep an airtight container handy and toss any leftover breads you have into it. This keeps all of your stale bread together and handy. If you aren't ready to use it at week's it in the freezer!

May Family Waste Log (March 2013)

black beans
$1 (made chili)
$3.00 (jar busted)
Bread (2 loaves)
$2.00 (over cooked)
You can see how quickly this adds up! This is just a few items!! Using this will give you a better idea of what you waste and what your ingenuity can save your famil in grocery money!

I hope that these easy tips have helped you to start thinking about ways to save your family money by eliminating waste. If you have other "scrap saving" recipes...Please share!


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    • Mommymay profile image

      Heather May 4 years ago from Ohio

      Thank you for visiting! I actually took 3 bags of the "crusts:" of bread on vacation for the kids to feed to the birds! They don't eat the crust so I cute it off before giving them the sandwich --the crust then becomes panzanella, croutons, bread name it! Glad to see someone else does this with bread! It was free and at least 2 hours of fun at the park!

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 4 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      I am with you--waste is expensive and unnecessary. Personally, because I love to feed my backyard birds, stale bread, extra rolls from restaurant meals, stale cereal, etc. are left on the tray feeder. By the time I reach my door, the birds are happily grabbing pieces and flying off with them ;) Pearl

      Voted Up++

    • Mommymay profile image

      Heather May 4 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks habee! My kids hate crust on sandwiches so I started cutting it off BEFORE I gave them the sandwich...with 5 kids...I can make a whole batch of stuffing off just one lunch time!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 4 years ago from Georgia

      Great ideas! I hate wasting food, so I'll be using your tips. Voted up!

    • Mommymay profile image

      Heather May 4 years ago from Ohio

      Oh Joe...your wife has trained you on the art of flattery well. It is so hard for me to separate my "past life" of managing money to my current work from home career. I write exactly like I talk so sometimes pictures and graphs are a better explanation. I am learning from the hubbers that I read as well. Especially yours on Ebay! Thanks for reading!

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Hi, Heather!

      If HubPages would ever construct a writer's primer, this is the sort of article they could use to illustrate efficient usage of the different kinds of hub cells. You've created a well-balanced hub that's as economically sound as the frugal topic it covers.

      You're turning the subject of saving money into a fine arts curriculum. I learn new things about life in general as well as how to become a better writer as a result of reading your work. Thanks for sharing, Heather!