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Feb 8, 2014 02:15 PM

What to do with Lots of bread?

Because of how I shop clearance / loss leaders / freebies, I tend to end up with a lot of bread items free. Mostly white bread like hot dog buns, sandwich buns, slider buns, etc but occasionally I get things like bagels, raisin bread, potato bread or oatmeal bread. Never know what I will get until I am at the store. The bagels we have no trouble using - we toast them & spread with flavored cream cheese.

I need ideas for the rest though - please! The first couple of weeks I did mostly okay using it up, but now the thought of another sandwich is nauseating. We find we can keep bread about a week here, maybe two at most, before it spoils / molds. I get around 4-5 packages weekly. I have considered making bread pudding, but not sure if the cheapie white bread {like the hot dog buns} would hold together for that.

So - give me your best extra / leftover bread ideas?

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    1. re: daislander

      Stratas work work with soft white commercial bread as well as stiffer breads.

      They're endlessly flexible, like a lot of egg-based dishes. And they're no-fuss: essentially eggs beaten well and poured over big cubes of bread and shredded cheese and any other flavors of choice in a shallowish baking dish. You assemble and set in the fridge overnight, put in the oven the next morning, and it puffs up attractively.

      These qualities make it an excellent breakfast/brunch/lunch main dish.

    2. Freeze it. Make bread pudding. Bread soup.

      1. Don't mean to be so obvious but we freeze it. Once a month my husband drives through Brooklyn and picks up a half dozen loaves of Italian Bread. We cut it into serving sizes, pack in sandwiches bags and then into larger freezer bags. When we want one, we either take it out in the morning and it is defrosted by lunch or just microwave 30 seconds and heat in the toaster.

        1. Sounds like most of the breads are of questionable nutritional value so if your family has any problems with obesity or diabetes, it might be best to forego the opportunity for such freebies.

          Otherwise, you can try to combine the lower quality breads with the better ones. I'd be cubing the bread and drying it out in the oven (250F or so), then making lots of bread crumbs. Please note that letting bread stale on the counter will not work. When bread stales, crystal formation entraps moisture in a process called retrogradation. When it is heated, the bread becomes moist again. That's why you can "refresh" stale bread in the oven or microwave. Crumbs made from stale bread will get moldy over time, unless frozen.

          You can use bread crumbs combined with melted butter, or oil, as quiche crust. Like a graham cracker crust, but for savory ingredients. Mix herbs, spices, dehydrated chives into the crumbs for making crusts, and to use the crumbs for breading fish, poultry, and pork.

          Toast bread crumbs in olive oil in a frying pan, along with garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and anchovy. Toss with cooked pasta, top with good grated cheese.

          Make cheese strata with sliced bread, and the baked French toast breakfast casserole. You can vary the strata concept by using pureed soup mixed with egg as the "custard", rather than milk/cream. Spread mustard and mayo on the bread, layer with ham and cheese, and soak in a tomato soup custard before baking. Turkey and creamed spinach with a chicken broth custard. Corned beef, kraut, and Swiss with a cream of tomato soup custard.

          You CAN use cheaper bread for bread pudding. It will hold up if you dry out large cubes in the oven, and don't soak in the custard for very long.

          3 Replies
          1. re: greygarious

            I agree about the questionable nutrition. Especially when the OP is trying to find ways to eat MORE of it than they usually would, just because it's free.

            1. re: sandylc

              I was confused about that as well. You don't have to eat it just because it's free which is what I tell my coworkers that jump at any free food offered anywhere in the office.

              1. re: fldhkybnva

                Sometimes people don't have the option of choosing to forego free food. I am a single mother with a special needs son. Due to my relatively moderate income he is not eligible for any government assistance, I make too much money. ( wry grin) With his medication costing 1500.00 per month I HAVE to eat foods I find free or low cost. I build as healthy a diet as possible from those foods. Shame on you for judging her for thrift. You do not know her budget.

          2. Panzanella. Italian bread salad. That are more than a million recipes on Google. It's a delicious tomato, bread and veggie salad that can easily be a main dish, or just a simple side.

            Then again there's always breadcrumbs with various seasonings then frozen.