Waste not want not

Waste not want not Wednesday
This is a new feature I want to do. Obviously I gave up the recipe thing. I’m all tapped out on the food recipes and I keep making the same things over and over. If I come up with good ideas I’ll surely post them. But for now this is what I want to do here. This idea was sprouted by the Bad Hippie and one of my blogless cousins. With belts tightening all over and heating costs up in some areas, and well, the cost of everything is up. We all seem to have had a habit of over extending themselves at times.

When you live well on little income it’s a sign of Waste not want not. Some people do it amazingly well like The Farm Witch. I’m astounded at how they are able to do so well (and stay sane) living completely off the grid. Anyway, here I am with my ideas of waste not want not and hoping you’ll share your ideas too.

Today’s topic is something easy and small to get us started.
It’s a staple that most all of us use. Bread is cheaper pound for pound if you bake it yourself. Don’t have time to knead? Bread machine. The initial outlay for a bread machine may seems huge but in the long run, it will be a good investment. And that’s all part of the idea, the long term. I’ve had my bread machine for something like 13 years. I don’t think it bakes well anymore, but I just set it to do all the kneading and then when it dings, I take it out, let it rise one more time and I bake it in the oven. Easy peasy, the work is really done by the machine. Making your own anything will take some rearranging of your time. That’s not to say too that I always bake my own bread, the family just prefers store bought sometimes and that’s ok. Just make the best with what you have and waste nothing if you can help it.

Bread from a store or bread you bake yourself, there are times that it just goes bad or starts to. That’s when it’s important to catch it, when it starts to go bad or stale.

  • Put it in the fridge and use for toast.
  • Make crutons.
  • Make bread crumbs.
  • Put it in the freezer and save it up for making stuffing with.
  • Let it dry out and use it as bird food.
  • Make ornaments with it – we do this every year. We take large cookie cutters and cut out shapes while the bread is still relatively fresh (and poke a hole for string), then we dry it out, all the odd pieces are chopped up and we dry that too for bird food. We then cover one side in peanut butter or suet and then dip it into bird seed. These are strung up on red ribbon and hung outside for the birds and as ornamentation for the holidays. It’s perfect if you have a pine tree outside or if you use it on your holiday tree once it’s out stayed it’s welcome indoors.

    What are you tips on saving that aging bread?

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17 Responses to Waste not want not

  1. Rachel says:

    French toast. Local grocery has some fab bread called monks bread. They make a cinnamon raisin and a maple bread that makes wonderful toast or french toast. I never buy it fresh because it is over $3 a loaf (like a home size loaf not the extra large store size). When it hits the reduced rack I buy as many as I can and freeze it. Then use it for overnight french toast – you don’t even need syrup.

  2. Kat says:

    Bread pudding is good too, especially if you have a lot of stale bread!

  3. Mouse says:

    French Toast, grilled cheese samwiches, and garlic bread. All three can be made with slightly stale bread that has been refrigerated or frozen without changing the taste.
    I also make sure that when I buy a fresh loaf of bread that I put enough for a few samwiches in a freezer bag so I always have ’emergency bread’ for my son’s school lunches.

  4. Cindy/Snid says:

    I’ll second the bread pudding idea!

    Also, back to the baking bread thing: If you don’t have or don’t want to lay out the $ for a bread machine there is also the No Knead Bread recipe. Seriously, this stuff is GOOD!


  5. marissa says:

    We love bread pudding, and it can be made relatively health-ily (I am allowing myself the luxury of making up my own words today- economic crisis, and all…).
    But I always, always grind old bread for breadcrumbs and store them in the freezer. I haven’t bought breadcrumbs for years.
    Also, my kids don’t turn their noses up at the heels. (We actually have to take turns with the heels of homemade crusty bread- we all love that.) Both kids are amazed when their friends come over for lunch and complain if they’ve gotten a heel; I’ve watched my kids shake their heads in wonder and trade sandwiches with them. They know we don’t waste much around our house!
    I love this idea for a post Amy, I am always looking for new ideas on hot to ‘do it better’!

  6. I am so glad you are posting these things! I thought that I was the last person in the states that had learned to make bread, or preserve jams!

    Thanks, and keep up the good work!

  7. Bad Hippie says:

    Amy…got any tips on CUTTING bread, though?

    I swear, if I could get sandwhich-sized pieces that aren’t hacked to death, I’d be making two loaves a week and never buying it again.

    Everyone loves the bread…but complains it’s too “crumbly” and “big” for school or work lunches.

  8. farm-witch says:

    Bread pudding cures what ails you – especially with a bourbon sauce and jumbo raisins baked in!

  9. Jennifer says:

    Two thoughts – if you want to bake bread – check out Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. It’s amazing. Second – I store my bread in the refrigerator so it lasts longer.

  10. SuperM says:

    I totally second Jennifer’s comment about Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. My kids like squooshy bread, so we keep one batch of a variation on Soft White bread in the fridge and one batch of the standard recipe. The only problem we’ve got now is that there never is any stale bread — we’re going through a (small) loaf every day and a half!

  11. Monika says:

    I once made soup with old rye bread, but I can’t find the recipe anymore. It was delicious.

  12. gayle says:

    I’ve been baking our bread for many years – haven’t bought a loaf since I can remember. For the last 10 years, I’ve used a bread machine for mixing the dough and I bake in the oven.
    The bread pan I use is a long narrow one. It makes a more “sandwich-loaf” shaped bread. Worth looking for in a kitchen store.
    As for cutting bread, buy a good serrated bread knife. It will make slicing easier, and will last a lifetime.
    I was going to suggest bread pudding, but several already beat me to that suggestion…
    When we have enough bread crumbs on hand, and bread in the freezer for stuffing, we give the leftover stale bread to our chickens – they think it’s the ultimate treat!

  13. Katie says:

    I have been meaning to try making bread, especially since I was pointed to the no-knead recipe a few weeks ago (thanks Cindy for posting the link here). I store my bread in the refrigerator too…we don’t necessarily go through it that fast and it keeps waaaaaay longer that way.

  14. Jennifer says:

    I never thought of ornaments! Great idea. I sometimes go feed ducks at a local pond with stale bread.

  15. marcia-x says:

    I love this idea, Amy!

    Avoid waste by baking small. I live alone, so buying commercial bread results in lots of waste or freezing it, which I don’t like. I bought a mini-loaf bread machine. It makes 4-6 deli-sized slices of bread. I have a really tiny kitchen, but the bread machine stays.

  16. willwork4wool says:

    Bread pudding has been mentioned, but one of my favorites is panzanella – an Italian stale bread salad. Think salad that is mostly croutons. ;-)

    There are endless variations from the traditional tomato/basil to seasonal ones like Autumn mushroom.

    Several recipes are available on foodnetwork.com and wikipedia entry is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panzanella

    And to Badhippie – a really good serrated bread knife helps a lot, and they make a nifty gadget with slatted sides that you can put a loaf in, then use the slats to guide the knife for even slices. Some bread machines come with these, but I would bet that someone a little handy could make one.

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