OLD BREAD IS NOT FOR THE BIRDS
In most households the middle bits of a newly baked bread are enjoyed with luscious amounts of butter, while the end slices go unused. We want to get the message across that those unloved end bits need not go to waste. In true Love Leftovers fashion, we want to make every crumb count.
Words: Mlizma King
Images: Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen
Here are a few ways you can give unused bread a new lease on life:
- A whole loaf of stale bread + a couple of staple ingredients = delicious fool-proof bread & butter pudding!
- French toast works best when you use bread that has had a chance to firm up - it absorbs the egg better and yields a deliciously fluffy result.
- Whether you’re making homemade patties or squash & tomato gratin, breadcrumbs are silly to buy and incredibly easy to make. Simply dry out slices of bread in an oven at 120°C until it is completely dehydrated, then blitz it up in a food processor to your desired consistency.
And then, there’s Pangritata, commonly known as “poor man’s parmesan”. Here’s how you can make it at home:
- 60ml olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, sliced
- 1 good handful of freshly chopped herbs (think thyme, oregano or sage)
- 200g fresh breadcrumbs – which you now know how to make
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat & add the bread crumbs
- Once the crumbs have a golden tinge, add the herbs & garlic, cook for another few minutes, until the crumbs turn a warmer brown.
- Remove the garlic clove and serve with your favourite pasta dish or in a salad for some added texture. Or finish roasted veggies with a sprinkling for a flavourful crunch – a personal favourite.
Now, let’s talk buying bread versus making your own bread. Many commercially prepared breads are loaded with far too many preservatives, emulsifiers, salt and who knows what else. What’s worse, is that the ingredients are processed to the point where there is a minimal amount of nutrients left. When buying bread, always look for a fibre-rich, artisanal-style bread. Naturally, we’ll always recommend making your own – flatbreads are super easy to prepare, or you can try something a little different and whip up a batch of delicious Mosbolletjies.
As for unusual toppings and accompaniments to enjoy with your bread before it has a chance to become stale, we could go on for days. Here are a few of our favourites that tend to make whole loaves *poof* disappear:
- Peppadew Butter. Simply mix chopped peppadews through soft salted butter and allow it to set again in the fridge.
- Good, old-fashioned jam. There’s a reason it’s been a worldwide favourite for centuries.
- Is there anything more delightful than a warm hearty soup on a chilly day with some crusty bread? Try this Chickpea, Leek & Fennel Soup.
There you have it – a variety of ways to reinvent unused bread and a few ideas to keep it from going stale in the first place. White, rye, gluten-free or sourdough, whatever your choice, just remember to love your leftovers and make every crumb count.