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Uses For Stale Bread

13 Ways to Breathe New Life Into Stale Bread

Photo: Sarah Lipoff

When you get to the last slice of bread and it's not as fresh as you'd like it to be, instead of tossing it, there are ways to transform that crumbling mess into something useful. After all, why throw away the old when you can upcycle it into something new?

You might be surprised at the various things you can do with stale bread, ensuring you get every penny out of your favorite loaf. Here are several cool uses for stale bread:

  • Artisan bread crumbs: Cube stale bread, and season it for delicious bread crumbs that can be used for topping soups, stews, or fresh salads.
Photo: Anna Monette Roberts
  • Happy plants: Dry stale bread in the oven, and then grind in the blender, creating fine bread crumbs. Simply mix with your potting soil or rake into your garden. The crumbs will add nutrients and moisture to your happy plants. While you're at it, throw in some crushed egg shells for a nutrient-happy plant.
Photo: Sarah Lipoff
  • Special bird treats: Instead of tossing dry chunks of bread to the birds, grind stale bread in the blender and leave out in small dishes for your friendly birds. Or mix together equal parts bread crumbs, birdseed, peanut butter, and lard, and roll into rounds. Place in bird feeders for a really special bird treat.
Photo: Sarah Lipoff

Read on for more smart ways to use stale bread.

  • Bread pudding: Maybe the best use for stale bread, bread pudding is savory yet sweet and easy to make. Flavor with your favorite tastes, such as chocolate, vanilla, or pumpkin, for a really special treat at any time of day.
Photo: Leta Shy
  • Refresh it: That's right — even the stalest, driest bread can be refreshed and enjoyed. Simply preheat your oven to 300˚F and pop the bread into a paper bag with a dampened paper towel. Close the bag and bake for five minutes until it's just like new.
Photo: Sarah Lipoff
  • Homemade dog treats: Blend stale bread into crumbs, and then mix 1/2 cup with 2 cups whole wheat flour, 2/3 cup water, and 6 tablespoons oil. Mix and roll, cutting with a cookie cutter, and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Place into a 350˚F oven for 35 to 40 minutes.
Photo: Sarah Lipoff
  • Fresh greens: Place stale bread at the bottom of your crisper drawer to help absorb moisture and keep greens fresh. The stale bread pulls in any moisture from your refrigerator, keeping your greens seriously crisp. Remove the bread after a day or two. Here are more ways to keep your produce fresh.
Photo: Sarah Lipoff
  • Freeze it: Pop stale bread in the freezer for use later. It stays nice (and stale) in the freezer for up to three months, making it perfect for use in a recipe later. Place ends of loaves and small bits and pieces in zip-top bags and then freeze, allowing space for adding future stale slices.
Photo: Sarah Lipoff
  • Degrease soups and stews: Soak up the layer of fat on your soup by placing a stale bread on top. Let it float for a few seconds and soak up that unwanted grease, and then remove. This works for gravies and sauces, too.
Photo: Sarah Lipoff
  • Clean your coffee grinder: Tear or cube stale bread into chunks, and throw them in the coffee grinder. Pulse for a few seconds, open it, and you'll see coffee bits sticking to the bread, which you can then dump out. Give your coffee grinder a quick wipe with a paper towel, and it's just like new.
Photo: Sarah Lipoff
  • Keep cookies crisp: Top freshly baked cookies with a square of stale bread to keep them perfectly chewy. The bread absorbs moisture while creating the perfect environment in your cookie jar for deliciously tender treats.
Photo: Sarah Lipoff
  • Erase pesky scuffs: Eliminate dirty marks from white painted walls by rubbing them with the white part of a piece of stale bread. Make sure to cut off crusts to avoid scratching. This also works wonderfully on wallpapered walls. The white bread is like a natural magic eraser! Can't get it off? Try our DIY all-purpose cleaner.
Photo: Sarah Lipoff
  • Save your tears: Stay tear-free while chopping onions by simply sliding a stale piece of bread up to the hilt of your knife, which will absorb those gaseous chemicals that induce crying. You can also hold a half-slice of stale bread in your teeth while cutting to soak up onion gasses while chopping, preventing irritation of the eyes.
Photo: Sarah Lipoff
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