Pinchin’ Pennies in the Kitchen: 4 Ways to Use Day-old Bread (FN1743, Reviewed September 2020)

Using day-old bread can help you stretch your food dollars. Some bakeries offer day-old bread at discounted prices. You might buy a few loaves because you found a great deal; unfortunately, you might get tired of it before you use all of it. What can you do with it?

Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., Food and Nutrition Specialist

Katie Odland, Dietetic Intern

Availability: Web only

Package of Bread
iStock photo

Using day-old bread can help you stretch your food dollars. Some bakeries offer day-old bread at discounted prices. You might buy a few loaves because you found a great deal; unfortunately, you might get tired of it before you use all of it. What can you do with it?

If you leave bread on your countertop for too long, it can become moldy or stale. If you store bread in your refrigerator, it does not mold as quickly but it becomes stale. Bread becomes stale in the refrigerator more quickly than on your countertop. Moldy bread must be thrown away, but stale bread can be toasted or heated another way and used in recipes. Freezing bread prevents it from becoming stale so quickly.

Bread can be used in a variety of recipes, and it is a good source of carbohydrate, which fuels our body. Bread provides B vitamins, including thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folic acid, and the mineral iron. Whole-grain bread is a good source of fiber, so strive to make half of your grain food choices whole grains.

Don’t pass up a bargain on bread

Try a variety of breads, including heart-healthy whole-grain bread. Consider these options for using bread:

• Freeze the bread. Label the package with the date you froze it. Usually, bread will remain at high quality for about three months in your freezer.

• Make croutons* or bread crumbs. Simply cut the bread into cubes or tear into small pieces, and bake at 350 degrees until it is dry and brittle. To make crumbs, use a rolling pin to crush the bread to the desired size. You can add your favorite salt-free seasonings such as garlic powder. Use the bread crumbs to top various dishes such as macaroni and cheese, casseroles, fish or chicken. Croutons are a crunchy, flavorful addition to soups and salads.

• Use bread as a meat extender. Some recipes call for soft bread crumbs and others call for toasted cubes. Add the bread crumbs to ground beef to make meat loaf or meatballs.

• Try making recipes with day-old bread.
   These are some ideas:

– French toast*

– Breakfast casserole*

– Bread pudding*

– Stuffing/dressing

– Grilled cheese sandwiches

– Egg salad on toast

– Garlic toast

* Featured on Page 2

Key to abbreviations

c. = cup
tsp. = teaspoon
Tbsp. = tablespoon
oz. = ounce
g = gram
mg = milligram

Homemade Croutons
NDSU Photo

Homemade Croutons

6 slices day-old bread, cubed
¼ c. olive oil, canola oil or melted butter
1½ tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix melted butter, garlic powder/salt and parsley flakes until garlic powder is dissolved and mixture is clump-free. Toss butter mixture with cubed bread in a medium bowl until cubes are evenly coated. Spread coated bread cubes on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are dry, crispy and golden brown. Store in air-tight container or zip-lock bag.

Makes 24 servings. Each 2-Tbsp. serving has 40 calories, 2.5 g fat, 1 g protein, 4 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber and 45 mg sodium.

French Toast
NDSU Photo

French Toast

8 slices whole-wheat or white bread (about ½ inch thick), preferably day-old or stale
4 eggs (beaten)
½ c. fat-free or low-fat milk
½ tsp. canola oil (or other oil)
2 Tbsp. maple syrup (optional)
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Dash of salt
Toppings of choice (fruit, syrup, peanut butter, etc.)

Preheat a griddle or nonstick skillet on the stove over medium heat. Whisk together eggs, milk and maple syrup, if desired. Add vanilla, cinnamon and salt and stir until thoroughly combined. Dip both sides of the sliced bread into the egg mixture and place on griddle or skillet. Fry the bread on one side for about two minutes, or until it browns, then flip it to fry the other side. Serve with desired toppings.

Makes eight servings. Each serving has 140 calories, 3.5 g fat, 8 g protein, 19 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber and 210 mg sodium.

Bread Pudding
NDSU Photo

Bread Pudding

6 slices whole-wheat or white day-old bread
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
½ c. dried cranberries or raisins
4 eggs, beaten
2 c. milk
¾ c. white sugar
1¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Break bread into small pieces into a greased, 8-inch square baking pan. Drizzle melted butter or margarine over bread. Sprinkle with dried fruit. In a medium mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat until well mixed. Pour over bread and lightly push the bread down with a fork until it is covered and soaking up the egg mixture. Bake in the preheated oven for one to 1½ hours, or until the top springs back when lightly tapped. Make sure it is baked thoroughly, with no liquid remaining and a toothpick or knife comes out clean when inserted in the center of the pan.

Makes nine servings. Each serving has 220 calories, 5 g fat, 7 g protein, 35 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber and 150 mg sodium.

Breakfast Casserole
NDSU Photo

As-You-Like-It Breakfast Casserole

8 eggs
2 c. grated cheddar cheese
2 c. milk
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
6 slices day-old bread, cut into cubes

Additions (choose two or three):

1 c. corn (cooked or frozen)
½ c. chopped broccoli
¾ c. sliced mushrooms
¼ c. sliced green onions or chopped onion
1 c. cubed ham

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Mix in the milk, cheese, salt and pepper. Add the bread and carefully stir until all pieces of bread are moistened (don’t overmix). Add additions. Bake in casserole dish for one to 1½ hours, until the top is browned and the center springs back when touched, with no liquid present. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 12 servings. When made with broccoli, mushrooms and onions, each serving has 180 calories, 10 g fat, 12 g protein, 10 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber and 270 mg sodium.

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