Using Leftover Breads

toast: Accidentally undercooked bread can happen to anybody (it has to me plenty of times), and the answer is to turn it into zwieback or melba toast: zwieback if it is coarse-grained, melba if fine. You can toast rye, French, or almost any other nonsweet bread. Toast it buttered or plain, under your broiler or on a grill, on a cookie sheet, or in a cake pan. The firmer the grain or the staler the bread, the more butter you need for good results. Put the slices about 9 inches away from the broiler. Watch carefully to prevent burning. The butter softens bread that is getting a little stale and revives its flavor.

CROUTONS (OR "CROUSTADES") Cut stale bread in 'A-inch slices and remove crusts. Spread lightly with butter on one side if you like; then cut across to make cubes. Bake at 325°F for 15 to 20 minutes, until a golden brown, stirring occasionally. Serve with soup or sprinkJe in salads.

<i> RUTH'S VEGAN CROUTONS "Leave out the butter. A sprinkJe of garlic powder is nice, or better yet, a thin layer of pureed garlic cloves spread before toasting."

<i> HERBED CROUTONS Sprinkle with dried marjoram and onion or garlic salt If no fat is in the recipe, and croutons are dried to crispness and tightly sealed, they can keep for months. Sun-dry 6-8 hours (stir occasionally). To dry in an oven or dryer, maintain at 145 °F 4-6 hours.

MILK TOAST This recipe fell out of favor during the period of domination of white bread, which was too salty and generally poor for this fine old-time dish. Make it instead with homemade bread. Most simply, toast some thinly sliced bread, butter it on each side, lay in a bowl, and pour hot (but not boiled) milk over it For extra richness, use cream or part cream. It's traditional for invalids. I loved this for breakfast in early pregnancy, when my stomach was queasy. Very nourishing but light on the tummy.

<i> FRENCH TOAST Combine I c. milk 2 slightly beaten eggs, a pinch of allspice or nutmeg, and a pinch of cinnamon. Dip each slice of bread long enough to coat each side but not to soak to the falling-apart state. Heat and shine your griddle, and brown the toast on each side in it Serve immediately with syrup or jam and a little butter. Making and Using Bread Crumbs: Some breads are easier to crumb while still moist. Others are best dried in your oven a while first. Close-grained and unleavened breads should, if possible, be crushed with a rolling pin or in a blender before they get rock-hard. Otherwise, if too hard, you'll have to grate to make crumbs, unless you manage to saw off small enough hunks to fit into your grinder or blender. Otherwise, keep crusts and leftover bread odds and ends like heels in a paper bag in a dry, warm place. Don't store stale bread wrapped in plastic or in a plastic container, because it will mold far more quickly in there.

To crush dried bread, put it in a paper bag and roll it into crumbs with a rolling pin. Or rub through a sieve or colander, or grate on a grater. Or put in a clean bag, tie it at the top, and rub the bag with your hands a few minutes. Or briefly "blend." Or put leftover rolls and torn-off chunks of stale bread into a pillowcase. Tie it firmly shut and put it through a dryer cycle! If there is any dampness remaining in the bread after making the crumbs, finish thoroughly drying them in your oven, food dryer, or sun in order to prevent mold. Then put the crumbs in a jar, put the lid on tightly, and keep dry until needed. Store rye, whole wheat, and cornmeal bread crumbs separately. Thickening Gravies Bread crumbs toasted and rolled, ground, or grated to fineness can be used to thicken meat gravies.

Crumb Toppings. Put a thin layer of crumbs over your casseroles, or coat meats to be fried by dipping in beaten egg and then in crumbs.

BREWIS This is an old-time breakfast dish made with a cup of very fine dried rye or brown bread crumbs. Heat 2 c. rich milk to boiling. Then beat crumbs into it quickly. Serve at once with cream.

<i> CRUMB PANCAKES Grate until you have as many crumbs as you want. (This recipe was obviously created by me, because it's one-half guess and the other half golly.) Add 2 eggs if the bread was a relatively eggless one. Add milk until you have a pancake-type batter. Add a dribble of honey or some other sweetener such as molasses or brown sugar. Let rest a bit to give the larger crumb hunks and brown sugar time to soften. Mix. Pour out a pancake-type dollop and cook on a griddle. Serve with your butter and syrup, or in the way you usually serve pancakes.

<l> RECYCLED BREAD PUDDING Combine 2 c. crushed dry bread crumbs, 2 c. whole wheat flour, 3 t baking powder, and I t. salt (if using salt-free homemade bread crumbs; otherwise, omit salt). To 2 c. milk, add I T. molasses and I beaten egg. Stir liquid into dry ingredients and bake in a greased bread pan at 350°F about 50 minutes. stuffing recipes: Stuffings are generally, but not necessarily, bread-based. I like them made with homemade bread. And they're another good way to use leftover bread. You can make stuffing for a roast bird and bake it inside the bird, or you can bake it in a bread pan and serve it as a separate dish. You can stuff any piece of meat, like a roast or a

rack of ribs, by cutting a large pocket in the meat, stuffing it, and sewing or fastening it shut with skewers. Stuffing ingredients are mixed in a bowl or pan with your hands until the seasonings are equally distributed through-out the mixture.

<i> CARLA'S TURKEY STUFFING—Start by shredding several loaves of the most nourishing, tasty whole wheat bread you have. If it has good and interesting stuff in it like sunflower seeds, etc., that's great It doesn't have to be stale, just delicious. Cut about 3 onions into reasonably small pieces and add. Add about 8 eggs. Maybe add some chopped celery Add a bunch of powdered sage, oregano, and/or poultry seasoning. Mix thoroughly It will proabably need more moisture to mix easily, so add just enough milk to turn it into a mass that's soft enough to work easily with your hands. Stuff the bird both fore and aft, and skewer shut. Pat any surplus stuffing down into a pan and bake.

<i> PRECISE-AMOUNT STUFFING RECIPE # / Combine 2 c. dried bread crumbs with lA c. finely chopped onion and 2 T. melted butter. Season to taste with salt pepper, sage, poultry seasoning, etc.

<i> PRECISE-AMOUNT STUFFING RECIPE #2 Combine 2 c. dried bread crumbs with 'A c. chopped celery, A4 c. chopped onion, 2 T. melted butter, and seasonings.

<i> PRECISE-AMOUNT STUFFING RECIPE #3 For this turkey-sized batch of dressing, cook 3 c. chopped onion and 2 c. diced celery in I c. melted butter until tender. Toss together I gal. bread chunks with I t. salt I t sage, I t marjoram, I t thyme, I T. parsley, and A t. pepper. Combine butter mixture with bread mixture and moisten with 2 c. milk or water.

<i> ORANGE-PRUNE CRUMB STUFFING Saute 2 c. bread crumbs in A4 c. melted margarine or butter. Add A4 c. chopped, peeled orange, A41. grated orange rind, A2 c. chopped celery, I c. chopped cooked (pitted) prunes, and A t salt

<i> BROWN RICE STUFFING Stuffings with strong and unusual tastes go well with wild or unusual-tasting meats. This rice stuffing will make a dull bird interesting or complement an exotic one. Cook I Ai c. brown (or wild) rice until tender. Saute I c. chopped onion and A2 c. fresh, sliced mushrooms in 2 T. melted butter. Add sauteed mixture to rice. Also add to rice A41 each of sage, thyme, and savory. Mix stuffing thoroughly. Stuff bird with it and roast or bake it separately and serve.

Puddings Made with Leftover Bread. Times have changed. When I first wrote this chapter 20 years ago, the only breads available in stores were white, French, and a faintly brown-tinted bread otherwise indistinguishable from the white. That white was just like the absolutely cheapest white now available. I told a man back then that my book was going to have recipes for homemade bread in it, and he looked shocked. "You shouldn't tell people how to do that," he sputtered. "They . . . they . . . might try it!"

Back then, making things homemade had gotten somehow classed with using outhouses as the behavior of really backward people. As a society, we were being urged to be modern, and that was defined as being specialized. You were only supposed to do one thing and let somebody else do all the rest for you. The old-timers were at the other extreme. The farther back you go, the more different skills they had mastered and practiced that contributed to their survival.

Then came a generation that had grown up knowing that nuclear bombs were targeted on their cities, grown up with the threat of an imminent end to civilization hanging over them ever since they could remember. They were understandably disillusioned with modern times. As soon as they got old enough, bunches of them left the targeted cities and started practicing how to live without civilization so they'd be good at it when the time came. Along the way, they rescued the art of home bread making from Wonder bread, Miracle bread, or whatever.

That particular crisis seems to be past, and I'm so glad. But now we need to remember how to live with fewer petroleum products, no CFCs, and so on. The greenhouse effect . . . The ozone hole . . . Pollution damage everywhere . . . Poverty . . .

Well, here's how to make delicious, nutritious, old-time crumb puddings out of leftover bread.

<i> BREAD PUDDING Soak IA c. chunked, dried bread in 2 c. milk (if your bread is fresh, toast it in the oven before making this). Add I T. sugar, I T. melted butter, 2 lightly beaten eggs, and I t. vanilla. Put into a buttered ovenproof dish. Set dish in a pan of hot water. Bake at 325° F about 30 minutes. Test by inserting knife. If the knife comes out clean, your pudding is done. Serve hot or cold with rich cream, berries, or a pudding sauce.

<i> WHOLE WHEAT CRUMB PUDDING Moisten 2 c. fine whole wheat crumbs with A2 c. thin cream. Add a cup or more of finely chopped fresh figs, 3 T. sugar, and I c. milk. Pour the mixture into a mold and steam about 2A2 hours. Serve hot with rich cream or orange or lemon sauce.

<i> RYE (OR WHOLE WHEAT) CRUMB PUDDING Prepare 2 c. crumbs. They should be very dry; if necessary, give them a special oven heating. Cool and mix with A c. currant wild plum, or other tart jam. Pour into a mold and chill until set Serve with whipped cream.

<i> CRUMBS AND APPLESAUCE Line a buttered baking dish with dried crumbs A inch thick. Add a layer of applesauce, dot with butter, add a layer of crumbs, and so on. Use I c. thick applesauce for each I c. crumbs and about I T. of butter for each. When the dish is full, crumbs should be the top layer. Pat down until firm. Bake at 325 °F for 45 minutes. Serve with whipped cream.

<i> CRUMBS AND SLICED APPLES Follow above recipe, but use I c. sliced apples per I c. bread crumbs. Sprinkle each layer of apples with I t cinnamon, dot with I T. butter, and sprinkle with A3 c. brown sugar. When finished, add A2 c. water per 2 c. bread crumbs. Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes. Serve hot with whipped cream. You can use any kind of fruit in this recipe to make Crumbs and Fruit!

Special Breads: Gluten, Crackers, Pastas, Steamed or Boiled Breads, and Fruitcakes

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