You work so hard to care for a sourdough starter and bake delicious bread with it. Your family will gladly devour most of it, but what if they don’t? Here are some ideas for what to do with leftover sourdough bread!
Most often, when you place a warm loaf of sourdough bread on the counter, it won’t last long. It’s a lot of work to produce that bread so enjoying it is the precious reward!
But there are times when life gets hectic and plans change. That loaf might end up sitting on the counter for a few extra days without being eaten. Or maybe it didn’t store well and now you have dry bread.
Don’t worry! And don’t throw it out (or give it to the chickens in our case!) There are several ways you can still enjoy your leftover sourdough bread and avoid food waste.
If you know you won’t be able to eat your homemade bread within a few days, try freezing it for later. Read this post for more tips on storing homemade bread.
Although fresh bread is the best, there’s no reason not to continue enjoying your sourdough loaves after few days. Check out some of these different recipes for what to do with leftover sourdough bread.
This is one of my favorite ways to use up leftover sourdough bread and what I do most often. Turning old bread into bread crumbs is easy to do and gives you even more ways ot use your leftover bread.
Have you ever read the ingredient labels on store-bought breadcrumbs? You don’t want to! Obviously, homemade sourdough bread is far healthier than what is selling at the big grocery stores so homemade breadcrumbs are too.
There are countless recipes that use breadcrumbs, making them a staple in the kitchen. Having a jar of your own homemade breadcrumbs made with simple, healthy ingredients will make the meals you use them in even better.
Here are just a few meals that you can use homemade sourdough breadcrumbs in:
- Meat balls
- Breading for seafood or poultry (try this pan-fried halibut)
- Sprinkle on top of mac & cheese (halibut mac & cheese is our favorite!)
- Fried or baked zuccini or other vegetables
- Salmon cakes
- Sprinkle on top of any casserole or pasta dish
- Mix with butter and ground cinnamon to sprinkle on top of a breakfast dish, like french toast
Making breadcrumbs at home is simple!
- Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F.
- Use a cheese grater or food processor to crumble the slices of bread.
- Spread the crumbs evenly on a baking sheet.
- Bake in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring once or twice and watching closely until they’re golden brown.
- Allow to cool before use or store for later use.
You can even mix in your favorite herbs, such as Italian seasoning, for more flavorful breadcrumbs, depending on what you’ll be using them for. I opt to leave them plain and season as needed when I use them.
I keep a quart-size canning jar in our freezer full of breadcrumbs. You can also store them in a freezer bag. Anytime I have some old or stale bread, I quickly grate it up, pop it in the oven, and pour the cooled breadcrumbs into the jar. Whenever I need breadcrumbs for a meal, I just pull the jar out of the freezer and I’m all set!
Homemade croutons are another great way to use up that leftover sourdough bread. And just like store-bought breadcrumbs, croutons from a package rarely contain anything very healthy.
Sourdough French bread is my favorite for these homemade breadcrumbs, but any leftover bread will do.
Top your salad with something you can feel good about, your own homemade sourdough bread! Your favorite salad will be even more delicious with the crunch and flavor of homemade sourdough croutons. Here’s how to make them easily:
- Slice up leftover bread into small cubes, about 1 inch in size.
- Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and Italian seasoning (or your favorite herbs).
- Bake in a 250 degree F oven for about 15 to 20 minutes or until light brown.
- Allow to cool before using as they will harden and be more crunchy this way.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days.
Our other favorite way to use homemade croutons is in soups and stews. They soften in the hot soup and add extra hartiness for a healthy and filling meal.
This is one of my husband’s favorite recipes and it makes a delicious and fairly healthy homemade dessert. Sourdough bread pudding is quick to whip up for a treat any night of the week. Here’s how:
- For every 2 cups of cubed bread combine: 1 cup of milk, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, a drizzle of vanilla extract, and a few dashes of ground cinnamon. This easily doubles or triples, depending on how much leftover bread you have.
- Mix well to coat all of the bread cubes with the wet ingredients and pour into a small baking dish or 3 or 4 ramekins for individual servings.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for about 45 minutes or longer, until the top is deep brown and it’s cooked through.
- Serve warm with a dollop of whipped cream and you’ll love your leftover bread all over again!
French toast has always been a go-to way to use up leftover, stale bread. And it’s no surprise! Everyone loves french toast and it’s a delicious way to have a treat for breakfast.
It’s even better when it’s made with homemade sourdough bread. And the best part is that the egg mixture softens the bread so no one needs to know that it was getting old in the first place!
Our favorite french toast mixture is eggs, milk, several dashes of ground cinnamon, a drizzle of homemade vanilla extract, and just a dash of salt. Whisked together for the bread to be dipped in and cooked on a hot cast iron skillet is always a welcome meal on our table. Warm maple syrup and homemade butter top it off perfectly.
French Toast Casserole and Overnight French Toast are other ways to use leftover bread for breakfast!
Stuffing or Dressing
It doesn’t have to be a holiday to enjoy stuffing or dressing and using leftover sourdough bread is the best way to make it. Skip the stuff at the store and make your own!
You can either use it to stuff a bird (if it’s not Thanksgiving, try a small game bird) or as dressing for a side dish at dinnertime. Here’s a simple way to make stuffing or dressing:
- Melt butter (about 1 stick per 6 cups of bread cubes) in a skillet and toss in some diced onion, minced, garlice, diced celery, or whatever vegetables that you prefer and have on hand. Cook for just a few minutes until the vegetables are soft.
- Season with a little salt and pepper as well as some thyme, sage, or your favorite herbs.
- Toss the cubed pieces of bread with the butter mixture in a large bowl until they’re evenly coated.
- Stuff the bird and bake as directed. Or if making dressing, spread evenly in a casseole dish and bake at 325 degrees for about 30 to 40 minutes.
Dressing and stuffing are different ways to use leftover sourdough bread for a delicious meal or side dish.
This is a popular quick lunch choice in our kitchen. Especially after having homemade pizza, we can use the leftover sauce and toppings for these mini pizzas. Using slices of sourdough bread is a perfect way to substitute pizza crust for a quick and easy snack or meal.
Simply take a slice of sourdough bread (sourdough sandwich bread is the best bread for this but use whatever you have on hand) and cover with sauce. Top with cheese and veggies or your favorite pizza toppings. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for just a few miutes, about 5 to 10, until the cheese is melted.
This is such a yummy and simple lunch as well as a good use for bread that’s a few days old. Your little ones will love making their own little pizzas!
We sometimes give the end pieces of our sourdough bread to the chickens for a little treat. But I would rather use it all to nourish our family. There are so many options for what to do with leftover sourdough bread. Find your favorite and don’t let a bit go to waste!