5 Ways to Use Leftover Bread

There's a reason they call it the daily bread -- it's never the same after 24 hours. Fortunately, thrifty cooks are always coming up with ways to make use of whatever's left over. Here are our favorites from the Food52 community. Stale never tasted so delicious.

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French Onion Soup by wcfoodies

This is almost, but not quite, the traditional French onion soup that comes to mind. It starts with a full 3 pounds of onions and some smashed garlic, which you caramelize slowly and thoroughly in butter and olive oil. Take your time with the onions, and use the three-cheese combo instead of a deli slice. - Amanda & Merrill

3 pounds onions, sliced and segmented
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
4-6 cloves of garlic, crushed and peeled
1 generous pinch salt
a few good grinds black peppercorns
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
4-6 cups beef, veal, and/or vegetable broth, preferably home made
2 cups red wine OR 2 cups beer, preferably a brown ale or stout
1 baguette
4-6 deli slices of cheese, OR 1/2 cup each of gruyere, parmesan, gouda & pecorino, grated

1. Melt butter and oil together in a stock pot. Add the crushed garlic and cook until it begins to caramelize.

2. Pour in the onions. Season with salt and pepper. Stir around until the onions are coated in the butter/oil mixture.

3. Add the fresh thyme and bay leaf and let it cook until the onions are caramelized, about 20 minutes.

4. Pour in the stock and the wine or beer and simmer, uncovered, for at least an hour and up to 3, tasting occasionally to adjust the flavors.

5. Meanwhile, slice and toast your bread. Stale bread is great for this. Just toast the bread, and rub each side of the toasts with a clove of garlic. Two slices per person.

6. Preheat your broiler and remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs from the soup. Arrange oven proof serving bowls or coffee mugs on a baking tray with a thin lip.

7. Drop a toast slice in the bottom of each bowl. Ladle the soup over the top and cover with a second slice of toast. Cover the top toast with cheese and be generous! You want the cheese to seal in the soup and drape over the edges.

8. Broil for a few minutes until the cheese is brown and bubbly. Garnish with a little fresh thyme and serve!

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Savory Bread Pudding


Just think of this as strata gone wild. This is a rich, custardy bread pudding containing everything but the kitchen sink that somehow doesn't feel overwrought. A couple of details really make this dish stand out. First, you toast the bread cubes before combining them with the rest of the ingredients, which ensures a crunchy top layer. Second, you add raw, chopped shallot, which mellows slightly in the oven but still retains a nice, subtle kick. Prosciutto, goat cheese and parmesan make any additional salt gratuitous, while sliced mushrooms and copious amounts of fresh thyme give the bread pudding some depth. - Amanda & Merrill

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Chocolate Bread Pudding

Bourbon Chocolate Bread Pudding

The dessert takes about 5 minutes to put together (not counting 45 minutes of soaking, during which time you can assemble the rest of your meal). And it calls for ingredients that you probably have lying around the house. We see this as the perfect impromptu dinner party dessert. - Amanda & Merrill

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Bell-less, Whistle-less, Darn Good French Toast

French Toast

There's nothing to making this French toast. But there is one thing that makes it exceptional: cream. This recipe cuts to the chase, forgoing spices and extracts, and focussing instead on eggs, cream and challah. You whip together the eggs and cream, which form a custardy mixture, then dip the eggy bread into this custard -- make sure to gently squeeze the bread with your fingertips to draw the eggs and cream to the center -- and fry them in butter. Outside is a crisp crepe-like shell. Inside, pudding. What are you waiting for? - Amanda & Merrill

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Rhonda's Spaghetti with Fried Eggs and Pangritata for One

Rhonda's Spaghetti

In his book, Naples at Table, Arthur Schwartz introduced me to the simple delights of pasta cooked with fried eggs. Living alone overseas while my husband was deployed with the USAF, I became a bit obsessed with this dish - to the point where my sister, Amanda, thought she might have to run an intervention! Ten years later, I have added to and changed this recipe to fit my own tastes. I just love this dish - the yolks coat the pasta and the whites provide little puffs of yumminess throughout this peppery, garlicky dish. The pangritata tops it all off by adding bits of crunch and bright bursts of lemon and rosemary. I usually make a big batch of the pangritata and store it in my fridge - it is great on so many things - I use it to top fish, other pasta dishes, warm mushroom salads, etc. - Rhonda35

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