There is nothing quite like the smell of freshly baked bread, even non bread eaters find the smell of a bakery hard to resist; also there nothing quite as sad as the amount of bread that gets wasted, left to rot or thrown away when bread can be turned into so many things. We all know this but from time to time have to be reminded all the ways to use up bread, here are just a few of my family favorites.
Today while visiting the Midreshet* ( senior school for young women to undertake religious study) , next door to me, I spied a box on the floor filled with challah rolls *
(a sweetened white Jewish bread) that someone had donated, the rolls were hard but not spoiled,
"What are you going to do with these?" I inquired,
" Leave them in the box till they go bad and them chuck them out " was the reply.
I checked them over, and scooped them into a bag and told them "I'll deal with them"
Deal with them, for me meant turning the bread into useful commodities and mouth watering food stuffs and returning it to the young women to eat.
British Bread Pudding serve hot or cold ( better hot ) on its own with an orange sauce or with custard )
A traditional British recipe that uses stale or left over bread,this is not low calorie, low sugar or low anything, it is however quite amazingly yummy specifically when served warm.
3 cups white or whole meal bread or a mixture of both
2 cups mixed dried fruit
4 eggs beaten
1/2 cup almond soya or rice flour
1 tea spoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon allspice
Zest of one orange
1 table spoon honey, maple syrup, or golden syrup slightly warm
1/4 cup nondairy spread
2 tbsp. Demerara sugar
1 teaspoon good vanilla essence.
Take the bread and tear it apart put in a large bowl and cover with cold water and leave soaking for around 15 -20 minutes, drain it well in a colander and squeeze out any excess water.
Preheat an oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4
Place the bread in a bowl, add the honey, milk, eggs, spices, orange zest, vanilla, dried fruit .mix well so everything is combined
Line a baking dish with baking parchment spray it lightly with "pam" or other oil spray.
Add the mixture to the pan.
Dot the top with the non- dairy spread, sprinkle with the sugar and place in the center of the oven for 1½ hour until firm and golden, covering with foil if it starts to brown too much. Turn out of the tin and strip off the paper. Cut into squares and serve warm.
You can make savory or sweet french toast. ( I prefer savory !) here are both recipes.
Savory French toast serve 3-4
6- 8 slices of old bread, great for Challah, brioche, or thick whole meal or spelt bread
1 table spoon organic sunflower oil.
2 teaspoons marmite, Vegemite or other such yeast spread
4-5 large eggs
¼ cup almond soya or coconut milk.
Sliced tomatoes (optional)
Beat the eggs, and non-dairy milk add the pepper.
Spread the marmite on one side of the bread, them place the egg mixture let them adsorb the eggs for at least 5 minutes.
Meanwhile put a large pan on the heat, and the heat oil, place the bread in the oil,fry on a medium heat ( too high will turn the French toast to rubber !) about 3-4 minutes on one side then using a spatula flip the toast over and cook the other side.
Serve warm with sliced tomatoes.
For a sweet version
Use the same quantities, leave out the marmite.
Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and ½ teaspoon cinnamon to the egg mixture, cook as above. Serve with maple syrup, fresh fruit, and apple compote.
Quintessentially British, and served with Roast Turkey or Roast Chicken , this recipe takes me back to Sunday lunch at the Hotel Metropole, on Brighton sea front, in the mid 1950’s, when ladies still wore hats to dine out and children,( like myself) were required to be dressed up and be seen but not heard. I would silently squirrel away the bread sauce from the fellow diners and delight in this simple but delectable delicately seasoned sauce.
This is my dairy free version
1 at least day-old loaf unsliced white bread
1 liter almond soya, rice or oat milk
1 medium large onion, peeled
2 fresh bay leaves
1 tsp white peppercorns
¼ tsp ground mace
2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp coconut cream, or nondairy natural yogurt. (optional)
1 fresh nutmeg, for grating
Cut the crusts of the loaf of bread and cut the bread into small cubes you should end up with 7-8 ounces of cubed bread.
Take the onion and stick cloves in the onion all over evenly.
Pour the milk into a saucepan. Then add the onion, with the cloves, bay leaves, peppercorns sprinkle the ground mace into the pan along with the salt and bring to the mixture almost to its boiling point.
Remove the pan from the heat. Cover the pan with a lid and let the ingredients infuse for at least half an hour I normally at this stage let it cool and leave it in the fridge overnight.
After the mixture has infused, place the pan back on a very low heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove the onions, peppercorns, cloves, bay leaves
Add the cubed bread to the milk, and let it adsorb, cooking it over a very low heat for 15 minutes, stirring from time to time. The mixture should be thick and warm.
At this stage add the coconut cream, if using to add a creamy texture.
Grate nutmeg into the sauce, transfer into a sauce boat and serve with your roast chicken!
Seasoned Bread Crumbs.
Cut the bread into chunks, throw into a food processor and make into bread crumbs. season with paprika, salt, garlic crystal, place into a zip lock bag shake well and freeze take out to coat fish or snitzles. Mark the bag seasoned.
Plain Bread Crumbs, do the same as above but do not season them freeze in a zip lock bag, use in meatballs, meat loaf or to top quiches macaroni cheese or gratin dishes.
If the bread is hard take it slice it three quarter the way down, sprinkle with a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil , good quality sea salt, and fresh garlic. you can put into a medium hot oven for 10-15 minutes and serve with salad, or at this stage wrap it tightly in baking paper and silver foil and freeze and take out as needed, allow to semi defrost then heat as above for 15-20 minutes.
Home made soup or salad croutons. (Known as Futons by my close friends children who always ask me to make them!)
Home made croutons are so much better than shop bought ones, and so easy to make.
1 loaf of any bread
3 teaspoons garlic powder
3 teaspoons paprika
1 teas spoon freshly ground sea salt
1 table spoon dried parsley
1 tea spoon dried zatar
2-3 table spoons extra virgin olive oil
Preheat your oven to Gas mark 6, 400 F,
200 C, moderately hot.
Cut your bread into squares place into a plastic bag, add all the garlic powder, paprika, parsley, salt, zatar. close sand shake well together so everything is coated.
line a baking tray with parchment paper
place the croutons on the baking tray spread them out evenly sprinkle liberally with the oil and bake for 15 -20 minutes till golden brown. let cool .
Place in an air tight container and they will keep in the fridge up to 8 days.
Add to soups, salads be warned your family might take to snacking on them.
Bread has been a daily food almost since time began, there are so many varieties from so many countries cultures and almost as many ways to use up every single crumb!