Friday, March 18, 2011

What To Do With Botched Bread

I have some experience with using bread flops. Whether it didn't rise,  the salt was forgotten,   pulled out of the oven too soon and sunk, or just sat on the counter too long and turned stale- I seem to have numerous loaves that for some reason are not edible for the purpose they were first created.

I try to see each flop as one more chance to learn something about bread baking. If ever I felt I was qualified to write about bread baking - it is when I consider the vast number of chances I had to learn "what not to do".

But no matter how bad the flop, don't throw it out and waste the ingredients. There is usually a way to salvage a loaf. Unless it is burnt to ashes or turned green with mold - then it is chicken food in my opinion!

Here is five ideas for those flopped, stale or dry breads or even the crusts of a good loaf if your family doesn't prefer the heel. I usually keep a bag (or two or three) of old bread in the freezer, adding to it until I get a big pile. Then I clean out the freezer of all the old bread and make something (or two or three somethings) with the stash.
  • Bread crumbs. Doesn't get any simpler than this. Place some dry bread in the blender and turn into crumbs. I keep a container of bread crumbs in the freezer to use in meatloaf, to bread chicken or as a topping for casseroles.
  •  French Toast. French toast is an excellent way to use stale bread, especially egg rich breads like challah. Slightly stale bread actually works better for french toast because it doesn't disintegrate when dipped in egg and milk.
  • Croutons. Another great use for crusts and stale bread. Readers shared some of their favorite croutons recipes here. I'll make a big batch of and keep in the freezer for salads.
  • Filling. My husband loves turkey and filling and we don't reserve it for only Thanksgiving, in fact we are having it tonight! I keep cooked chicken or turkey in the freezer to make this a quick meal. Filling (or stuffing or dressing depending on your area) can be made with any kind of bread. Mine is often a mixture of cornbread, biscuits, rolls - you may even find a waffle. With all my sourdough experiments (and failures) in the past year, my sweet husband now says that sourdough bread makes the best filling! My mom's wonderful filling recipe is here.
  • Bread Pudding. Nothing like bread pudding to make me feel like a visit to Grandma's house. Funny, I don't even remember eating bread pudding at Grandma's but it just seems like something she would make. It is another good way of using up old bread but I found out that it is best NOT to use sourdough in bread pudding. 
I love that old bread doesn't need to be wasted. Do you have any other ideas that I missed?


  1. And, if all else fails--chicken food! (At least that's what happens to old bread around here.)

  2. I think you've covered the options. I'm smiling to see your name of "filling" for our stuffing/dressing =)
    I was thinking of my "dead" bread episodes when I saw "botched bread" ~ If I forget the yeast or somehow kill it... my oldest son especially loves that version of homemade "crackers." Sort of a heavy biscuit I guess.
    We don't have chickens, so the inedible bread goes to the cattle =)

  3. this is such an appropriate post for me this week! I made three batches of doughnuts for a church ladies night. The first one (for some reason) turned out hard as rock and i had to bin the lot. the second batch was made with my sourdough starter - perfect! and the third batch... well, I'd forgotten to put the instant yeast in so flop!
    I used the dough anyway and rolled it out covered it in grated cheese, rolled it all up again and sliced it up. Then rolled them thin before grilling. Yummo!

  4. I usually cut the heel off of our loaves and put them in a bag in the freezer until I need to make more croutons. My family absolutely prefers them to the store bought ones. I also will occasionally make bread crumbs. I usually have extra in the freezer, so I love the idea of using it to make 'filling'. :0) It's not something that I make often, but I would a lot more if I knew that I had the cubed bread ready to go. Thanks for the idea!

  5. Lots of great ideas. Thanks. I made bread the other day and forgot the yeast. It had been rising almost an hour when I went to make loaves and it looked like it did when I first put it to rise. So I went over what all I had done and realized I had not added the yeast. So I sprinkled the yeast on top and turned on the DLX and mixed it some more. Put it back in the warm oven and it rose! So all was not lost. That's too much money and time to throw out.

  6. Great idea. I messed up two loaves yesterday. Made croutons out of it. Yum yum. Thanks for the ideas.

  7. Try Strata! It's savory bread pudding.


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