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what to do with leftover bagettes?

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I hosted a baguette tasting last night and end up with slightly more than half a loaf of seven different baguettes. Since the lifespan of a baguette is measured in hours, I need ideas fast.

Thanks!

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  1. Well, there's the obvious, I suppose: grind 'em up in a food processor and make lots and lots of breadcrumbs to top casseroles and mix into meatloaf, etc. However, here's a lovely breakfast recipe using yesterday's baguettes that I've posted before. You can prepare these early today, refrigerate them all day and bake them for dinner tonight if you like to have breakfast for dinner occasionally (I do) or hold them overnight and have them for breakfast tomorrow. In either case, they're hard to beat.

    Charlie’s Cuckoo’s Nest
    The Governor’s Inn, Ludlow, VT

    Butter an 8-ounce oblong ramekin. Fan thin slices of yesterday’s French bread (overlapping slightly) on bottom of ramekin. Pour over the bread a mixture of two eggs and 1/3 cup of milk. Sprinkle generously with shredded Vermont cheddar cheese and dot with butter. Cover tightly with clear wrap and refrigerate overnight.

    Uncover and bake at 375° for 20 to 25 minutes.

    Serves 1. Adjust the recipe to serve as many as you wish.

    1. French toast ... individual or baked in a large dish.
      Strata ... there's a great recipe for red pepper/cheddar strata on Epicurious.
      Bread pudding

      1. Bread pudding. The crust to crumb ratio really shines in this dish.

        3 Replies
        1. re: toodie jane

          Do you have a bread pudding recipe you particularly recommend? I don't think I've ever made it, and the ones I've had I don't remember having used crusty bread.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            I do ours with a basic custard mix (1/2 c milk to 1 beaten egg.) If to be sweet, I sweeten to taste (variable depending on whether I am adding any dried fruits, raisins, or preserves swirled through). For those, I often use splenda. Today we're having savory, with left over ham and cheeses tossed on in.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              break or cut loaves into pieces about 1/2" or larger and place in a shallow buttered baking dish.

              scald 2 c milk and 2 T sugar or maple syrup in a large heatproof bowl; whish in 2 beaten eggs and 2 T melted butter, a pinch of salt, and pour over bread. Push bread down to moisten all pieces.

              Grate some nutmeg over the top, and place filled baking dish inside a larger one. Pour boiling water 1/2 way up the outside of the smaller dish (making a water bath) and bake at 350 for about an hour.

              You can vary the flavorings using extracts, rum, dried fruit, candied peels, zest, etc. or make savory ones with your favorite ingredients. I puts nuts on top only so they won't get soggy.

              *Adele Davis said that her mother used up stale bread so often this way that she and her sister began calling it "Duty Pudding". Still, so good. I make it for b'fast on the weekends.

          2. Won't use up seven half baguettes unless you're really feeding a crowd...I'd definitely use some of it for french onion soup!

            1. As much as I enjoy desserts and carbs, I have never cared for sweet bread pudding. However, I really love savory versions such as Zuni's panade.

              Here's an online recipe that's based on the Zuni recipe:
              http://orangette.blogspot.com/2005/10...

              There are many other panade recipes out there that work well w/ hard squashes, winter greens, etc. BTW, enjoyed reading about your tasting on the SF board!

              1. Cut them on the diagonal and freeze. Toast later for bruschetta etc.

                1. Great ideas, guys. Since I'm just cooking for one, and since there's a lot of bread, I'll probably try several of them. And report back, of course!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    Since crab is in season, save some to make a crab-flan bread pudding.

                    Wish I wasn't on a low carb kick...

                  2. If you live a part of the country where winter tomatoes aren't hard pink billiard balls, maybe use some of the baguette to make a nice bread salad?

                    But the bread crumbes - definitely use some for that.

                    1. All these ideas sound good, but I'd make croutons with some of it - cut in cubes, let them dry out overnight, then toss with olive oil and garlic and whatever seasonings you like, and toast. You can store them for quite a while out of the air.

                      1. If you have a place where you can store them, exposed to the air, just let them sit, and grind them up for bread crumbs as you need them.

                        1. Ruth,
                          This French toast recipe was made for your problem. It is wonderful (but took longer to bake than it says when I made it).

                          http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

                          Also, what about a panzanella salad? Dean and Deluca has a good one.

                          1. So here's what I did:

                            I cut off the heels and 1-2 inches from the cut end of each baguette and put them in the freezer to make breadcrumbs later.

                            I diced up one sweet baguette and used it to make a sweet bread pudding, using Toodie Jane's guidelines. I added raisins, some orange liquer and some chopped ginger, and put pecans on top. Result: I didn't get the ratio of bread to custard quite right, so it was a little dry. However, since I have some eggnog in the fridge, I've been pouring some of that over the bread pudding and nuking it for a minute, which results in gooey steamy goodness.

                            I diced up couple of the sour baguettes and made a savory bread pudding with some leftover ham, applewood smoked cheddar and sauteed onions, using lingtymom's guidelines. It came out a little bland -- I put some black pepper and some paprika in the custard but it definitely could have used more, plus maybe some more salt (I was afraid to add salt because I didn't know how much salt the ham would add). Still, pretty good.

                            I stewed the onions and sliced some more sour baguette to be used in a panade after work tonight.

                            Note that these dishes were what they were because they were made with what I had on hand. At first I was too lazy to go to the store, and then it became sort of a challenge.

                            I diced the rest into fairly small pieces and put it in the freezer, where it can be used in future bread puddings or made into croutons.

                            As I was working, I realized that the main goal was the get the bread cut into pieces of a size that could be used later before the bread got too hard to cut. Once the loaves were broken down, I can take my time deciding how to use them.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                              >However, since I have some eggnog in the fridge, I've been pouring some of that over the bread pudding and nuking it for a minute, which results in gooey steamy goodness.

                              Brilliant!

                              1. re: BarefootandPregnant

                                Total genius. I love the kind of challenge you describe Ruth. The other night I made a yummy "breakfast pudding" (that's what my DH named it when I told him it was bread pudding or baked french toast, depending on when he felt like eating it). I had some leftover crappy croissants, added some dried cranberries and raisins, eggs and cream, cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg, sweetened with maple syrup - yum! The browned croissant-crust top was delicious. Did this spontanesouly while some other things were simmering on the stove.

                                1. re: julesrules

                                  That's one of the nice things about being an experienced cook, isn't it? After a while, you accumulate a lot of basics techniques and foundation recipes that you can then use to throw dishes together from what you have on hand. Your "breakfast pudding" does sound delicious -- I'll have to remember to reach for the cardamom next time.

                              2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                Ruth- WOuld you mind posting on the Home cooking Board your recipes/ideas for the baguettes? We love homemade bread in my house, and I usually just go with the standard baguette- but would love some variations. TIA

                                1. re: macca

                                  Sorry, macca! I didn't make the bread itself -- it was leftover from a tasting of breads available from local bakeries.

                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                    Thanks- am always on the look out for new recipes!

                                2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                  Panade! Wow!

                                  Okay, I used a recipe for winter squash panade I found on the web (it also called for chanterelles, but since I don't like mushrooms, I just omitted them: http://www.labellecuisine.com/archive... -- btw, this recipe calls for 3 quarts of stock, which I think must be a mistake, as I used less than half that). I stewed the onions and sliced the bread on Sunday, and then I assembled it last night. Absolutely delicious, in the most comfort-foody way.

                                3. Bruchetta all winter long !

                                  1. Lydia made a mushroom crostata a couple of weeks ago with whole wheat bread slices as the base. I'm sure you could use sliced baguettes.

                                    She just sauteed the mushrooms with some thyme and sage and s and p (I'd add some garlic and/or chopped onions) then she spread that mixture over the bread and topped with generous sprinkling of grated parm. Baked.

                                    Looked wonderful. I've been saving an Acme Seeded WHole Wheat half loaf for one tonight.

                                    1. There is a little coffee shop/caterer across the street from my office that makes a bread pudding to DIE FOR, and I think they use French bread. They make them in small individual-sized aluminium cups, and rip the bread in big chunks, leaving lots sticking out the top. At the bottom of the cup is a little but (not a lot of) custard that has a hint of banana in it, and the whole thing is topped off with really good (Callebaut maybe?) melted chocolate that has set up a little almost like a shell. It's so delicious I think I might have to go and check if they have it today.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: ballulah

                                        That's a great idea for leftover bread of any kind.

                                        Which reminds me of what most restaurants do with the *free* bread leftover in the breadbasket ... bread pudding!