Thursday, June 14, 2012

101* ways with a stale baguette

When we got back from the West Coast (another nail-biting ride, thank you, Air New Zealand) I opened the freezer and realised that we had nothing to eat. Well, that's not strictly true. There was some ice cream, a packet of puff pastry, some pork Scotch fillet and about four half-baguettes. Nothing leapt out and said 'here's tonight's dinner', but the half-baguettes said 'we could be all sorts of things if you just sat down and thought about it for a minute'.

I made a cup of tea and thought a list of ways in which to use up those stale baguette ends could be useful. I didn't make it to 101, but I thought you might have some suggestions to add.

Crostini Made With A Stale Baguette

101* ways with a stale baguette
My clever sister makes wonderful baguettes but it's a skill I have yet to master. Ours come from various bakeries around town. The bigger, fluffier ones tend to dry out a bit when frozen, but the denser, more sourdough-like sort are fine. Either way, they defrost super fast.

1. 'Fried' chicken: Pulverise half a baguette (the fluffy sort) in the processor. Mix with 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, a pinch of salt, lots of black pepper and a little chilli powder and tip into a bowl. Beat an egg white with a splash of water, then dip 500g boneless chicken thighs in the egg mixture before coating with the crumbs. Bake at 180C for 30 minutes, turning half-way through. Instant fried chicken, only better for you.

2. Crostini: Slice day-old baguette into 3-5mm pieces (don't get your ruler out, but keep them thin). Toast in a 180C oven (or, simply wham them in the toaster). Top with tapenade, hummus, cream cheese and salsa etc. Excellent impromptu canapes for apertif hour - you have that at your place, don't you? Note, this is for dense baguettes only - the fluffy ones are too holey.

3. Poor Man's Souffle: Chop a baguette into little pieces and put into a large, greased ovenproof dish (like a lasagne dish).Add roasted peppers, caramelised onions, ham, wilted and drained spinach, feta - whatever you fancy (within reason). Beat 5 eggs with 1 1/2 cups milk (or 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup cream) and pour over the top. Sprinkle with grated cheese (and more crumbs, if you feel like it). Bake at 180C for 35 minutes, until set and golden on top.

4. Posh crumbs: Pulverise baguette in the processor, add garlic, parsley, olive oil. Scatter over everything. See here for more detailed instructions.

5. Eggy bread: French toast isn't proper French toast if it's not made with French bread. Whisk 4 eggs with a cup of milk (or half milk, half cream), a pinch of salt, a spoonful of sugar. Heat a knob of butter in a heavy frying pan. Bathe slices of baguette in the eggy mix, then fry on both sides until golden. Serve with syrup of your choice and the best bacon.

Now it's your turn. Can we make it to 101? Pin It


  1. i love mixing stale, slightly chunky crumbs with sundried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and basil for posh chicken nuggets, or tossed through pasta :)
    Maddi x

  2. I bake chopped up good sausages, wedges of un-peeled potato, rosemary, and cherry tomatoes all up together in a roasting pan, and towards the end chuck in torn up pieces of old baguette, drizzled in olive oil. They soak up all those juices AND go crispy. I think it's a Bill Grainger recipe, originally. Delish.

  3. I love the way you stop at 5 and then pass the hard work on to us...!

    I would use it to make an authentic gazpacho or a french bread and butter pudding!

    That's 2 more for your list!


  4. Hi lucy,
    Coming over from Chocolate Log BLog and now I think m hooked.
    Coming back to your ques, you can also use your baguette as croutons to revamp salads and soups.
    Have a great day!
    P.S.M your new follower.

  5. Strata is a great thing to make with stale bread. Strata can be put together the night before and refrigerated until breakfast or lunch. The simple version gradually evolved into a ten pound version full of mushrooms, tomatoes, sausage, and lots of eggs and cheeses. You get the idea!

    Grease an 8-inch-square baking dish. Arrange cubes of bread over the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Top with desired ingredients, such as ham, broccoli, mushrooms, cheese, etc.

    Whisk 2 cups of half and half and 4 large eggs until well-blended; pour over bread. Refrigerate overnight.

    In the morning, preheat oven to 350°F. Bake 40 to 45 minutes until puffed, edges of bread are golden brown, and knife inserted in center comes out clean.

  6. Ummm just toast it then spread with butter and jam. Does that count?

  7. you could use slices with cheese to top french onion soup - or as any croutons in soup

    Or it could just be a great toy for small girl if she is anything like sylvia and loves to pull the bread out of the middle of a loaf!!!!

  8. All sound delicious. I make baker's pasta, which is garlic and anchovies fried in oil (I used what the anchovies came in) the a good two cups or so of bread crumbs made from stale bread. Let that fry up, add parsley, a squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper and parmesan and serve over fettuccine. It's salty goodness.

  9. Many years ago a girlfriend threw a stale baguette at me. It missed but it must have been really stale because it kind of shattered when it hit the wall. Sorry, that's not a very useful suggestion.


Hello - thanks for stopping by. If this was real life I'd make you a cup of tea and open the biscuit tin, but in lieu of those things, let's have a chat anyway...