The Fresh Loaf

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What do you do with "Not Great" Bread?

Trishinomaha's picture

What do you do with "Not Great" Bread?

I baked Floyd's Italian this week-end and my husband and I crossed wires. He made enough firmament to make a double recipe. I only made the single recipe but used the double preferment by mistake. The bread isn't awful but it isn't nearly as good as when prepared properly. I find it almost impossible to throw away bread that is at least "edible" but a girl can make only so many croutons. There are only two of us in the house and the bread isn't good enough to share with friends or neighbors. Do I just "close my eyes take a deep breath" and pitch it?


browndog's picture

Strata is the first thing I think of when I want to move bread. I have not made the meat variations, but I've made cheese stratas often. This recipe is pretty standard as compared with others I have used. It is very easy to customize and use whatever sounds good to you for cheese and layers. And fresh spinach, sauteed til just wilted, works fine. I also prefer a pretty, deep casserole dish to the 9X13 pan.


Serves: 8 | Ready In: > 2 hrs


***Basic Strata Base:***
12 slices bread, cubed
1 pound cheddar cheese, shredded (or half Swiss Cheese)
4 cups milk
8 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons minced onion
cayenne pepper, salt and pepper
3 tablespoons butter

**Chicken Strata**
Reduce basic strata recipe
4 eggs
3 cups milk.
2 cups diced cooked chicken
1/4 cup finely chopped pimiento
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1 (10-oz.) can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
***Spinach or Broccoli Strata***
*Add to basic strata:
2 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach,
1 (10 oz.) pkg. chopped broccoli, cooked; well-drained
8 ounces mushroom, sliced and sauteed

***Sausage Strata***

*Add to basic strata:

1 1/2 pound sausage, cooked and crumbled

8 ounces mushrooms, sauteed with:

1 tablespoon butter


1/2 cup chopped green pepper

Basic Strata Base:

In buttered 9x13-inch pan, spread bread, then cheese. Beat milk, eggs, dry mustard, onion and seasonings. Pour over cheese. Dot with butter, refrigerate overnight Bake one hour at 350 degrees F.

Recipe Location:
Trishinomaha's picture

It's cooling down here and getting to be autumn - this sounds good for an autumn supper. Thanks for posting!


Paddyscake's picture

with blueberry syrup has become a Christmas morning tradition. We use berries frozen from summer

browndog's picture

Paddyscake, that sounds heavenly. Is it light and sweet enough for dessert?

Paddyscake's picture

is heavenly, but I wouldn't serve it for dessert. It really is a breakfast/brunch dish. Bread, eggs, milk, cream cheese and blueberries put together the night before. Pop it in the oven in the morning ..make the syrup...EAT!!

fleur-de-liz's picture

What about cubing the bread and storing in freezer for Thanksgiving stuffing?  Or throw it in the food processor and grind into bread crumbs. 

I know how you feel.  It's hard to throw away stale and/or not so good bread.


rcornwall's picture

What about an old fashioned bread pudding. That all started as a way to use up old stale bread without throwing it away. And its so good too!


dstroy's picture

I was just going to recommend bread pudding too!

That or stuffing?


duck food? door stops?  :D

susanfnp's picture

I once made a kind of pudding-cake out of fine bread crumbs using a recipe for semolina pudding but substituting the crumbs in place of the semolina. It was good, and different. Sorry I don't have the recipe I used, but there are lots of semolina pudding recipes out there.


breadnerd's picture

A good one for this time of year...

Summer Panzanella

2 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced

1/4 cup minced red onion

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

1 teaspoon sea salt, preferably gray salt

Several grinds of black pepper

Panzanella Croutons

2 cups arugula

Wedge of Parmesan cheese

Drain the tomatoes in a sieve to remove excess liquid while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, basil, tarragon, salt, and pepper. Add the croutons and toss well.

Divide among 4 plates. Top each serving with an equal amount of the arugula. With a vegetable peeler, shave the Parmesan over the salad. Serve immediately.

Michael's Notes: I've used basil and tarragon here, but you can use any herbs you like. Parsley and marjoram come to mind as good alternatives.

Optional additions: chopped cucumbers



Panzanella Croutons

1/8 cup unsalted butter

3 cups crust-free cubed day-old bread (1/2-inch cubes)

3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over moderate heat and cook until it foams. Add the bread cubes and toss to coat with the butter. Transfer the bread to a baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle with the cheese and toss again while warm to melt the cheese.

Bake, stirring once or twice, until the croutons are crisp and lightly colored on the outside but still soft within, about 15 minutes. Let cool. Store in an airtight container.


NOTE: When I'm being lazy I just use toasted bread cubes tossed with the parmesan, or toast in the skillet, it seems silly to use an oven for a summer recipe! Also, it's really one of those leftover dishes, you can add any combination of veggies and stuff you have on hand.


zolablue's picture

Trish, how about as a base for a nice, hearty bowl of coq au vin?  I make Tyler Florence's coq au vin recipe a lot and we like to serve it over a nice hunk of country bread.  With all that wine (an entire bottle...yum) and great veggies and rich flavor it would serve as a vehicle to soak up the great sauce and all those flavors.  Maybe?


You could also do a nice beef bourguignon, which I also make a lot and serve the same as the coq au vin with the bread underneath.  Here in the big "O" it is getting rather chilly quite fast, have you noticed! :o)  So these dishes sound pretty good.


PS...Never throw out bread you could toss to the birdies and the other critters.  I toss good bread all the time if we have not been able to get to it.  I never mind.  They all love my bread, too.

Trishinomaha's picture

More good autumn-winter dishes. Seems Omaha just went from summer to fall in about 3 days!


rideold's picture

Use it to top bowls of onion soup.  With the melted cheese on top and the soup below you can get away with less than stellar bread.  Although, I'd agree that bread pudding is probably the best bet.

browndog's picture

Has anyone tried sfinciuni?  I made it once on odd factor alone. It's a Sicilian pizza topped with a pretty good dose of bread crumbs, among other more standard things, and  comes in various incarnations.

SDbaker's picture

I love toast on any kind of bread.  Add some real butter and preserves, or cinnamon sugar with a glass of milk - heaven with a crunch.

 SD Baker

Trishinomaha's picture

I'm going to try some of these recipe ideas and it never occured to me to do bread crumb...duh...

Always find super, helpful folks here at tfl!