Whether you’ve got half a loaf or a baguette, there's so many ways to re-invent a stale loaf and create something delicious.
To simply freshen it up again, run the bread under cold water for a few seconds and then place in a hot oven for 3-4 minutes — it’ll come out fresh as new! This is perfect for refreshing leftover bread while shops are closed over the stat days this summer.
To truly re-invent your stale bread, here are a few of our favourite recipes at JUK to do so. Taking notes from the Italians, who are masters at using up their stale loaves of bread, (not a crumb goes to waste), these are my twists on their classics.
Pangritata, translates as 'Poor Man's Parmesan', in Italian. So, use this instead of the actual cheese, don't be tempted to add it before you've tasted your pasta with the Pangritata – it's delicious.
Simply, perhaps inventively, make some breadcrumbs from the stale loaf you have. If it's a hard, crusty baguette you can knock it with a wine bottle and it will crumble. Or, pull a larger soft-ish loaf into pieces and freeze – you can then crumble it or pop it in your food processor. Just use the pulse setting so you can get it to the crumb size you're after. If it's already hard, yet breakable, cut or tear it into medium size bits, and pulse these in a good food processor, too.
With your breadcrumbs ready, heat a skillet or frying pan. Drizzle a touch of olive oil. Add the crumbs and stir over low heat until very crispy and golden. Allow to cool and store to sprinkle over your pasta dishes for an added texture and flavour. Store these in the freezer for the best effect. You could add dried oregano or another herb of choice, into the pan too, if you'd like. Enjoy.
Crostini Three Ways
Crostini have but one key role in life, and that is to be the toast for all the delicious toppings. At JUK we have a few firm favourites, these three being among them.
So make your next party a crostini party!
Preheat your oven to 160°C. Slice a stale baguette or loaf of bread into slices around half a centimetre wide. Toss slices in a few generous glugs of olive oil, and season with a little salt. Spread out on an oven tray and bake for 15–20 minutes, until crispy and lightly golden. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Tomato & basil bruschetta
Rub crostini with half a garlic clove. In a bowl mix together quartered cherry tomatoes, shredded basil leaves and finely diced red onion. Add a splash of red wine vinegar and a dash of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon tomato mixture plus some of the juices onto crostini, and serve straight away.
Smashed pea, avocado & feta crostini
In a small bowl, roughly mash half a cup of cooked peas, half a cup of cooked edamame beans, half an avocado and 50g of crumbled feta. Add the zest and juice of 1 lemon, half a teaspoon of toasted fennel seeds and plenty of salt and pepper to season. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Top with pea tendrils and thin slices of radish for a pop of contrasting colour.
Marinated courgette & cream cheese crostini
Thinly ribbon lengths of courgette, and place in a small bowl with the zest and juice of 1 lemon, plus salt and pepper to season. Slather your crostini with cream cheese, top with coils of courgette and garnish with finely sliced fresh mint.
Tomato & Summer-fruit Panzanella
This is my twist on an Italian bread salad — a great way to use up that stale loaf. Traditionally the bread would be added fresh and left to soak up all of the juices, but I find this far too soggy for my liking. Instead, I prefer to toast the bread into croutons and add them at the last minute to deliver some crunch.
1 stale baguette, ripped into small chunks
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 preserved lemon
500g mixed heirloom tomatoes, roughly chopped into different shapes
hulled & halved
¼ watermelon, peeled and roughly chopped
1 red onion, finely diced
Small handful basil leaves, chopped
Small handful parsley leaves
Salt & pepper
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp sugar
4 Tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper
Makes 4 serves
Takes 20 minutes
Preheat your oven to 180°C.
Toss baguette, olive oil and garlic together on a baking tray, and season with salt and pepper. Spread into an even layer and bake for 12–15 minutes until golden and crispy. Remove and allow to cool slightly.
Remove the flesh from preserved lemon and discard. Finely slice the rind into thin ribbons.
To make the dressing, combine all the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the remaining ingredients to a large bowl and drizzle over the dressing, tossing gently to coat. Add the crispy croutons just before serving, allowing them to soak up some of the tomato juices and dressing.