Things to do with a baguette

Collecting my fresh baguette form the village boulangerie is the second greatest pleasure in my life - the first is eating it as soon as I get home, spread liberally with butter and local honey!

(By the way, I am taking a little bit of literary licence here - the greatest pleasure in my life is not really a subject for you lovely people on SFN!)

I then find it so disappointing that within 12 hours or so, my baguette has lost its original appeal as it starts to go hard and dry. Within 24 hours I have to use my chainsaw to cut it.

We therefore end up with lots of bits of baguette in the cupboard, hard as stone and fit only for the bin.

I am therefore wondering if anyone has any inspired ideas about:

  1. How to store a baguette so that it stays fresher for longer?

  2. What to do with the dried up remains of a day old (or even older!) baguette? Perhaps a recipe idea?

Hope we can have some fun on a depressing January day with this one :-)

My Austrian husband was really happy when I told him about your Dumpling recipe, so it looks like I'm going to have to try it out :-)

Veronique, the Bavarians are calling these things "Semmelknödel", coming from "Brötchen", (little bread). Kids may like it with a vanilla sauce, cinnamon-sugar-mix, or dry plumbs sauce. But Bavarians and Austrians wanted to teach any average middle-European fear by adding to this "Semmelknödel" a kind of vinegar acidified chopped lung . Maybe it goes also with that similar frightening creation bouchon "Saucisson Lyonnais" and lentils. Well this so called "specialties"...

I have made Kartoffelknödel & Leberknödel but never Brotknödel so I shall try :-) (herzhafte Kinderwinterfutter ;-))

I drive past several on my way to & from work, also I'm French so buying bread several times a day doesn't seem like a weird obsessive thing to do ;-) & in the holidays I am unpaid taxi-driver to hordes of midgets & probably do even more driving than at other times.

superb! and I bet they take forever to wear out!

Not an option unless you live near a Boulangerie - mine is too far away to go twice a day.

It's best to give the hard things the horse ...

But if you want really eat stale bread try this: Bread-Dumplings, they are a specialty in southern Germany, Austria and Czech cuisine. They are served as an accompaniment to dishes such as roast pork along with kraut,lentil dishes or mushrooms in a cream sauce. I leave it to your fantasy.

Traditional Dumplings are a tasty side dish, even English people can take advantages of it serving it with roasted lamb with gravy.

for four people:
1 teaspoon butter
2 eggs
3 tablespoons flour (for shaping the dumplings)
1/2 liter of milk
1 bunch of parsley
1 pinch of salt
1/2 kilograms of white bread or rolls (2 - 3 days old)
1 some onion


cut baguette into very thin slices (1 mm). Heat the milk and pour it over the bread slices. Let this rest for 1/2 to 3/4 hour.

Then knead in the salt (I actually would use this beef cubes), the chopped parsley and the eggs.

Grate the onion and fry lightly in butter (do not allow to brown).

Knead well into the mixture.

Now you have to knead this dumpling mash again very well.

With flour you can now form the dumplings: Squeeze the mash well to form balls.

The dumplings in lightly salted slightly boiling water for 20 - 30 minutes (depending on size).

I'm not responsible if you can not digest it...

That's what I do in the holidays - in term-time it's once a day. That doesn't stop us having lots of rock-hard bread to deal with though!

Nobody's mentioned, do as the French do, and buy it twice a day!


Breadcrumbs, or this:

Before the bread gets to the stage where you need a chainsaw - know it well - tear into pieces, put in a plastic bag with some olive oil and some garlic, shake to ensure good all round flavour and use as croutons with your next bowl of soup, you can either pop them in the oven for a few minutes or in a frying pan OR again break it all up, put into some form of food processor and make breadcrumbs which you can store for ages and use as crunchy toppings for fish (adding your own herbs etc) or for coating chicken pieces - Delicious!!

Otherwise I soak it in water and give it to the chickens and birds - who are eternally grateful for such small mercies....

There is also a recipe, traditional to this area, called 'Soup au Fromage' which uses old bread, I have tried this but it is a bit like a savoury bread and butter pudding, very filling and for me way too mushy! Good Luck with that one.....

Some great ideas everyone, thank you!

Hmm bread &butter pud, croutons, bread crumbs, ok
Once a month (for waistline reasons) I use stale bread in another typical French recipe : Fondu Savoyarde, ie. Cheese fondu that you dip the breadchunks into.
I know that fondu is totally out of fashion in the UK but not in France

Snap! There is an amazing recipe for this in Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's Veg book too, which requires you to mush the tomatoes with your hands. Great for getting kids to help with the cooking. I tell guests it's squashed tomatoes and stale bread, that way I can guarantee there's plenty left over for me to eat the next day when it is even more delicious!

Hard bread also makes excellent teethers for children with their first teeth coming through. Gets rid of the teething pain and tastes stacks better than a piece of plastic.

Bread soup.

apart from making breadcrumbs or garlic bread, any bits that are hard as rocks you save and give to the hens or rabbits to eat. If you don't have hens or rabbits yourself then give them to your neighbour who does. Even a horse will eat a rock hard heel of bread, though not every day. You'll be doing your bit for recycling as in the countryside nothing is wasted. We do that and the bread will keep for a couple of weeks in an open plastic bag until we have a full bag to give away. I hate waste.

Some of these ideas have been mentioned...but....

A. make breadcrumbs, toast breadcrumbs, freeze them for future use.

B. Eggy bread....lovely, I keep my savoury with salt and pepper and serve with bacon and fried tomatoes.

C. Croutons - break into small pieces and mix with garlic then fry and freeze for future use.

D. When you know at lunchtime the bread is getting hard and wont be used that day, slice into half in slices and then toast...ideal to hold toppings to serve with drinks...(Bruschetta)

E. Bread and butter pudding..or indeed Bread Pudding.