Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Sep 29, 2010 09:11 AM

Substituting fresh bread for stale? (panade)

I have a bunch of swiss chard from my CSA. I haven't been wowed by any swiss chard recipes yet, but wanted to try the zuni cafe panade recipe. I do like savory bread puddings and anything with gruyere, so perhaps this one will be a hit. The recipe calls for cubed stale bread. I do not, however, have any day old bread. Can I buy some fresh bread and cube it and either air dry it for a few hours or toast? Will this ruin the texture of the panade?

Thanks so much in advance!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I've been in that predicament too. You really can't use fresh bread as-is because the dried bread is what soaks up the liquids. So what I did was tear it apart and dry toast it in the oven for maybe 5 or 10 minutes. You want it to dry out but not really brown like toast. It worked for me. Oh, and do it on a large baking sheet - single layer.

    I'm not sure if the Zuni recipe is the same but here's one I made and posted about last fall : . It was absolutely delicious.

    Good luck with yours.

    3 Replies
    1. re: LNG212

      It's a really similar recipe, less the creminis (which I am now considering including!) and chard instead of the kale. Thanks for sharing that one!

      1. re: Olive123

        Do post back with how it turns out. You've got me curious to go look up the Zuni recipe too.

        1. re: LNG212

          I am relying on an adaptation that I found online - sounds tasty!

    2. I have put fresh bread in a low oven to dry it out quickly and it typically works just fine. Also, artisan breads (i.e. things made without preservatives) will go stale much faster than bread with preservatives, so if you buy something nice, cube it, leave it out for a few hours and then maybe put it in a low over briefly it should end up fairly "stale" pretty quickly.

      1. Reporting back. Very tasty dish, which I modified slightly and will modify further the next time around. Seems pretty versatile. I still don't love chard, so next time I might use spinach or another green and some roasted or sauteed mushrooms.

        I caramelized a shallot along with the onions and used a fresh baked (not by me!) baguette that I cubed and let air dry for a few hours and then toasted. I cut the gruyere by almost 1/2 because I was using a strongly flavored cave aged variety and I didn't want it to overpower too much. I would say that 1 cup or more grated is fine, depending on how you are feeling and what kind of gruyere (or other cheese). I love some gruyere, but other cheeses would also work. I used a bit of broth when wilting the chard, which I cut/tore into 2-3" pieces. The ribbons would have been fine, too, but would have been a little more work and made it easier for my toddler to pull them out of the finished dish and play with them. I cooked the onions down until they were really well caramlized (maybe an hour?) and they were sweet and delicous. I could have eaten them plain. I heated the broth (used swanson vegetable) in the same pot that I had caramelized the onions, and shook the cubes of bread in a giant ziploc bag with the olive oil, the moisture that had not evaporated from the greens and a splash of broth but did not add any salt.

        The dish really was delicious. I will try it with truly stale bread next time to see how the texture changes. I am also thinking that it might be nice to use a deep baking pan to get some more of that lovely crustier top layer, but deep enough to have the gooey, brothy bits, too. I will probably at least double the onions next time. They were so delicious, and additional onions will only make this seem more like the best part of french onion soup. I will try wilting the greens with a bit of garlic and chili flakes, too.

        This was an easy and tasty dish. Pretty sure I am going to have to make it again this weekend, and I am already day dreaming about a variation for Thanksgiving.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Olive123

          Olive, this thread made me crave panade. So I picked up some sourdough bread and let it go stale. I looked for tuscan kale at the greenmarket but the farmer had Red Russian Kale instead this week. So that's what I got. No mushrooms this time. It really came out so tasty again. DH thought it was lighter with the red russian kale (which isn't as meaty as the tuscan). The wine and garlic definitely add something to it.

          So thanks for the inspiration. :) Here's a photo:

          1. re: LNG212

            We have probably eaten an unhealthy amount of panade over the last couple of weeks. Nonetheless, making it again tonight. We got a stash of sweet potatoes and mustard greens from our CSA, and I have some white wine so will try with that. I am also going to try a rectangular pan this time for more crusty goodness - looks like it worked out quite well for you, LNG212! What a delicious find these panade discussions have been.

        2. This sounds delicious! FYI most supermarkets sell their stale bread at a discount... I buy it as an ingredient for things like the recipe this post is about. Also bread salad, pudding, strata, et cetera.
          To dry it out "bake" at 200 for at least an hour.