Got Stale Bread? Make Toast

2 slices of toastThere’s nothing quite like freshly baked bread – but unfortunately it doesn’t stay fresh very long and I sometimes end up with bread that is a bit stale. No problem – a hundred-year-old cookbook recommends using stale bread to make toast.

description of making toast out of stale bread
Source; The Cook Book of Left-Overs (1920) compiled by the More Nurses in Training Movement

Whew, this sounds complicated. Maybe I’ll just use my electric toaster. Hopefully it won’t remove the “superfluous moisture” too quickly.

42 thoughts on “Got Stale Bread? Make Toast

  1. Lol.. your last comment is just what I said to myself when finished reading. You would have to think ahead to slice the bread to set over night for toast in the morning . It is true that toast tastes really good when your sick though. Mom would always burn it slightly when we youngins had the stomach bug, she said a little charcoal was good for us.😀

    1. My mother also gave us toast when we were recuperating from the stomach bug (and I did the same for my children), though I don’t think that she burned it a little – though, who knows, maybe a little charcoal is good for us. 🙂

  2. My word. This sounds like one of those instructions manuals that can turn two or three simple steps into pages of impenetrable prose! On the other hand, there may have been a time when toasting bread wasn’t common, and instructions were helpful. It is true that oven toast, properly done, can outshine that made with an electric toaster.

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only person who finds overly detailed instructions difficult to follow. By the way, I love the phrase “impenetrable prose”. You have a way with words.

  3. I bake all our bread—almost always sourdough, which keeps very well. But toast is a saviour. Bread and butter pudding is another great use for stale bread.

    1. French toast is another great way to use stale bread. I’m impressed that you bake most of your bread. Sourdough bread sounds wonderful.

  4. My mother loved what she called “oven toast,” which no doubt was a throwback to an earlier time. But basically, she just threw it in the oven after she’d made a roast or whatever. Toast is one of my favorite comfort foods. I usually dry out the ends of the bread and throw them in the blender for crumbs. It’s all good.

    1. Toast is a wonderful comfort food. Your comment reminds me of how my mother generally tore the ends of bread into small pieces and dried them. She then saved them until she was making something that needed them (bread pudding, stuffing, etc.)

        1. I sometimes wonder who the audience is for the food writers to provide extremely detailed instructions. Maybe it is people who aren’t very familiar with the basics of cooking.

  5. As much as it no doubt required much more work, I’m quite sure toast made this way was tastier and more aromatic than anything we get from the modern toaster oven. Not that I have any intention of going back to that method… 🙂

  6. Good grief! I bet they wished they had toasters back then. We always made toast over the coal fire when we were kids, it was always lovely.xxx

    1. Your comment makes me wish that I could try toast made over a coal fire. It makes me think of advertisements I’ve seen for a pizza restaurant chain which advertises that they cook the pizza over a coal fire.

  7. I can actually remember the grandparents of a friend of mine had an ancient machine that you had to open, then grill each piece one side at a time. It was up to you to make sure nothing got burnt. Talk about a faff!

    1. Toast-making technology sure has changed over the last century – though electric toasters definitely aren’t a recent invention. 🙂

  8. I remember the same toaster mentioned by Margaret21. My grandparents used the same kind and it took a lot of attention to make sure that the toast didn’t burn.

  9. First thing I ever learned in Home Ec was how to make cinnamon toast! Seems silly now when we have smart toasters and pre-sliced bread. Doing toast over an open flame or under the broiler is an art!!

  10. I need more coffee just to digest this tutorial! My toaster oven broke several years ago and I still haven’t replaced it, I just stick the bread in the oven on low when I want it thawed or warmed. Granted, not a coal oven 🙂 I’d be more inspired to make bread pudding with stale bread. At least that’s something to look forward to—dessert!

  11. Exactly, why didn’t they just plug in their toasters? I’ve known this for years. Just because the bread isn’t perfectly sandwich soft anymore doesn’t mean it won’t make good toast. Fun post as always.

  12. Toast or some kind of pudding. They do seem to have over-complicated doing toast though! 😀

    I have gluten-free bread and a loaf is just too much for me, so I tend to freeze it and thaw our a couple of slices as and when I need it. But then I guess that isn’t something you could do back then!

    1. Your comment brings back warm memories of feeding fish on school field trips to a state fishery. Feeding fish is another good use for stale bread.

      1. My grandkids love it. Before I retired last year I use to take my developmentally disabled clients there and they loved it too. I just had to keep them from eating the bread…lol

  13. Interesting article as always. When we had our 1730 house in New Hampshire, I had an antique iron toaster that you held over the fire. Never used it because I thought it would be too hard not to burn it.

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