How to Use All That Sourdough Bread You've Made
Well, the obvious answer is to eat it. We've tried. Nonetheless, after a few days to a week, we always seem to have various bits and pieces of breads, muffins, cakes, whatever left. Those bits and pieces are usually past their prime but too good to toss into the trash. Yes, we could compost them or give them to the birds (okay, the squirrels and chipmunks, too!). I just can't seem to make myself throw out perfectly good food or donate it to our local feathered and furry friends (they really don't need it, by the way, as we have very, very pudgy squirrels and chipmunks). I have considered, despite the social distancing restrictions, dropping loaves of sourdough on my neighbors stoops, ringing their doorbells, and running, but, alas, they have Ring cameras, so I'd be found out.
So, what do I do with the leftover breads? Well, I use some of the crumbs as toppings for casseroles and to add to meatloaves. I just stash some ends and pieces in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and pull them out when I need them. Roll the pieces between your hands and you have instant bread crumbs for toppings and meatloaves. Some of the leftovers I use to make croutons for salads and for panzanella, an Italian bread salad. I'm not much of a bread pudding for dessert addict, but that's an option. My preference for some of the sweeter leftovers--like muffins, scones, and the last of the coffee cakes--is to make a breakfast bread pudding. What's that? Well, it's similar to the French pain perdu (lost bread) or a baked French toast casserole. Breakfast bread puddings are quite good, I've found. They also are perfect for using up those bits and pieces. Don't they just make more leftovers? Um, yes. You do end up with extra, I've found, but the extras are great to reheat later in the week when you don't feel like cooking breakfast. Or you could give them to the squirrels....Anyway, here are a few options for you to consider for your leftover bread. Also, stay tuned. I have a leftover sourdough dumpling cobbler in the refrigerator that is aging and a prime candidate for a breakfast bread pudding. Depending on how the pudding turns out, I'll post the recipe later in the week.
Chocolate Breakfast Pudding -- Serves 6+
4-5 cups of bread cubes, preferably dark rye but other breads are fine, too
2 1/2 cups of low-fat milk
2 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 cup of dried cranberries
1 large banana, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips (optional)
Spray a large casserole dish (2-3 quarts) with non-stick cooking spray and spread the bread cubes in the dish. In a large bowl, whisk together well the eggs, sugar, salt, cocoa powder, vanilla, and cinnamon. Pour the mixture over the bread cubes and press the cubes down so that they are submerged (or mostly so) in the egg mixture. Sprinkle on the dried cranberries and banana pieces. Cover the casserole and refrigerate it overnight or let it sit on the counter for at least an hour so that the bread can absorb some of the egg mixture. When you're ready to bake the pudding, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, sprinkle the pudding with the nuts and chocolate chips, if you're using them, and then bake the pudding for about an hour. The pudding will puff up while baking but settle down after you pull it from the oven. Let the pudding cool a few minutes before serving it warm.
Sourdough Panzanella Salad -- Serve 4
2-3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of lemon-pepper
1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
12 small tomatoes quartered (Compari or a similar size--or just use big tomatoes and cut them up
into bite-sized pieces)
15-20 fresh basil leaves sliced into smallish pieces
3/4 - 1 cup of fresh mozzarella "pearls" or other fresh mozzarella cut into bite-sized pieces
1-2 cups of toasted sourdough bread cubes/croutons (depending how much you need to use up
and how "bready" you like your salad)
In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt, lemon-pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and mustard until well combined. Add the tomatoes, basil leaves, mozzarella, and bread cubes and mix everything well. Let the salad sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour so that the bread can soak up the dressing and tomato juices. Serve the salad cold or at room temperature.
Lost and Found Breakfast Bread Pudding -- Makes 8 Ramekins
2 cups of chocolate almond milk
1 cup of low-fat milk
4 cups of crumbled muffins, cinnamon rolls, scones, bread, etc.
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, plus additional for dusting
2 bananas, sliced (speckled, past their prime bananas are just fine)
1/3-1/2 cup of chopped or broken walnuts (optional)
Coat 8 ramekins well with non-stick cooking spray.* In a large bowl, combine the milks and whisk in the eggs, vanilla, brown sugar, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon until well combined. Stir in the crumbled breads and let the mixture sit for at least 30 minutes or refrigerate it overnight. When you're ready to bake the bread puddings, preheat the air fryer for a few minutes at 320 degrees. Stir the bread pudding mixture well and then stir in the bananas. Pour or spoon the mixture into the ramekins and dust the top of the batter in each ramekin with cinnamon. Divide the walnuts, if you're using them, among the ramekins, sprinkling the walnuts on the top of the cinnamon-dusted batter. Bake the bread puddings in batches in the air fryer for 10-15 minutes or until crusty on top and a pick inserted in the center of a pudding comes out with no wet batter attached to it. Let the bread puddings cool for 3-5 minutes before serving them.
* Note: If you don't have ramekins, use two 6-inch round pans coated with non-stick cooking spray and divide the batter between the two pans. Or use 4-inch square pans. Bake each pan, separately, for 15-20 minutes.