Thursday, 26 February 2015

... let's consider the issue of stale bread

Hello everyone.

This may seem like an odd topic, but for a moment, let us consider the subject of stale bread.

I am sure that a large part of the population would simply chuck it into the rubbish bin and that would be that.

But it need not be.

For starters, as soon as the bread has begun to go beyond what you think is palatable, your first option is to make bread crumbs. Dead easy. Tear the bread into smallish pieces and toss them into the food processor, if you happen to own one. My mother did not own one and she would leave the bread to get just a wee bit staler, not hard at all yet, and she would grate it on a box grater. It worked just fine.

Now, these wonderful fresh breadcrumbs can be used as they are in their fresh state or if you want to keep them for a while, just let them dry out. Put them on a cookie sheet and just leave them for a few days. Give them a stir every once in a while if you walk by and happen to remember. When they are completely dry, and absolutely not until, store them away in a jar. Moist breadcrumbs closed up in a jar will quickly turn into a science project. Not nice.

My mom also had this little trick of hers which was to very slightly dampen the loaf of bread and wrap it in foil and put into a warm oven for a few minutes. I imagine that the wee bit of water would create some steam inside the foil packet, thereby softening the bread. It works just great.

Now, there is another way to deal with the stale bread. Use it in soup. Yes, that is what I said, in soup.

We had a visit from my dear sister and brother-in-law a few weeks ago and I made a dish from a cookbook Mary had given me as a Christmas gift. The book, "The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking" by Marcella Hazan, is simply wonderful. Mary got it at a thrift store and upon receiving it, I immediately turn to any pages that look like they have seen some wear. THAT, I tell you, is where the really good recipes will be! 'Cause they have been made over and over!!

I found a terrific recipe in there called Tuscan Peasant soup. I actually had to make some slices of bread stale to line a casserole dish with them. Needless to say, the soup was brilliant.

Now, we love bread in this house. We love it in all forms and we especially love baguette. We cannot eat a whole baguette at a meal so there is always some left over. You just know that I am getting back to the whole soup thing, right?

Here are a few slices of nearly rock hard baguette from a couple of days ago.

And into the bottom of my soup bowl they go.

And on top I pour my nice hot leftover soup, potato and vegetable with a small bit of kolbassa tossed in, just in case you were wondering. :)

Yes indeed, I had this leftover soup for my lunch today and it was delicious. Those stale, rock hard little pieces of bread are instantly soft and you can just munch them up with the rest of your soup. There is absolutely no reason at all to throw any bread into the rubbish. 

Thanks so much for visiting with me today. Stop by again soon to see what is happening on the 'ole homestead. Cheers.  :)

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