Using up your bread scraps: reducing food waste

22 March 2018
Using as much of a food as possible can extend to so much more than 'nose to tail' eating. For me it fits with my values around respecting the resources that have gone into making the things we eat and reducing food waste.

Since making my own bread we often have scraps around. Sometimes it's the end of a loaf that's gone hard before being used up or the uneaten crusts that the kiddos leave behind and even the crumbs on the board after slicing up a loaf. None of the ideas below are ground breaking but they are so simple to do, not to mention frugal too. They are also great strategies to implement if you are keen on reducing your kitchen food waste.

And probably most importantly they simply taste good.

Croutons

What's not to love about crispy tasty bite sized bits of bread? I make croutons from any chunks of leftover bread, including the aforementioned discarded crusts and petrified bread ends. I simply chop into bite sized pieces and pop into a container until I'm ready to bake them up, which is usually when I have the oven going for something else. Once you are ready to make them simply spread on a baking tray, drizzle with a little oil and sprinkle with seasoning of choice. Then pop them in a moderate or low oven to toast away – do watch them as they brown pretty quickly. Toss them on your salads or soups or do as my four year old loves to do and simply snack on them straight from the container.

Crunchy bread goodness

Adding to meals

If you want to skip all that crouton making palaver here are a couple of easy ways to use up chopped up leftover bread:

  • Sprinkle on top of any cheese topped dish destined for the oven
  • Strata – think savoury bread and butter pudding or fritatta with chunks of bread in it. It's a popular breakfast dish in the US but I think it's good any time of the day
  • Bread and butter pudding - an oldie but a goodie, I like to add some stewed or preserved fruit for a bit of a flavour lift.

Breadcrumbs

I can't tell you the last time I actually bought breadcrumbs. These days I simply scrape up the crumbs left behind on the bread board or in the bottom of the bread bag and store in an airtight container in the cupboard or freezer. I also add any crumbs from crackers or crispbreads to the mix too. These are an easy substitute for the bought variety and do add up surprisingly quickly. Home collected bread crumbs are usually a little bigger and less uniform than the commercial variety but I just call them rustic and go with it. If you can be bothered or are using a recipe that calls for a fine crumb they can be whizzed up in the food processor to make them a little finer.

Home 'harvested' breadcrumbs

Tasty tip - home collected breadcrumbs make great pangratatto for sprinkling on your pasta or veg for an added texture boost.

So there you have it. A couple of simple strategies to turn crusty bits of bread into tasty kitchen goodies.

Are you working on reducing your kitchen food waste?
Got any other ideas for using up those crusty bread bits?
Does anyone else out there collect their breadcrumbs or am I on my own on this one?

7 comments

  1. Some good tips there, Laura. I have never made croutons but there is no reason why I shouldn't. Just have never thought of it.

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    1. I hope you give it a go. Great for the top of winter soups, especially adding a little texture to smooth puree soups (in my opinion anyway!).

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  2. I save all the ends of our bread and blitz them into breadcrumbs. I then blend mushrooms with the breadcrumbs and incorporate into meatballs. My mum used to save the odds and ends of bread and then make bread and butter pudding. I don't make it here because I'd be the only one who'd eat it, but I remember it fondly. Meg:)

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    Replies
    1. That's a good idea to blend the mushrooms for the meatballs, I imagine they'd add a bit of extra umami flavour boost. Thanks Meg.

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  3. I love your layout and pictures. Just stunning!

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  4. Thanks. I've really enjoyed having a read over at your blog too. It was a nice discover today and coincided with kids napping long enough for me to dig in a bit.
    Have a good weekend.
    Cheers,
    Laura

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  5. Not a one single breadcrumb is wasted here.

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