What to do with the ends?
September 16, 2009 12:05 PM   Subscribe

What do you do with bread ends?

Admitting (with much cringing) that I usually toss out the ends of prepackaged sandwich bread. Because the bread is usually whole wheat or a multigrain type, the ends are often on the hard side. Certainly could be made a sandwich of, but I have to admit I usually just open a new loaf. Sigh.

Any ideas of what to do with the ends? I do occasionally toast them on one side and put peanut butter on it (which stands up well to the hearty thickness of the single slice). Another thought it to make bread crumbs (and what? store them in the freezer I guess?), but would like to know of any nifty ideas out there for being less wasteful.
posted by dreamphone to Home & Garden (43 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
posted by J-Garr at 12:06 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

I eat them because they are the best part of the loaf.
posted by The World Famous at 12:07 PM on September 16, 2009 [7 favorites]

You don't need to freeze bread crumbs. Leave the ends out to dry for a few days and then just crumble them into a jar and keep them at room temperature. Dried bread lasts for a very long time.
posted by ssg at 12:09 PM on September 16, 2009

They are the very best parts of the loaf. Eat them!
posted by unixrat at 12:10 PM on September 16, 2009

Make bread pudding!
posted by whimsicalnymph at 12:11 PM on September 16, 2009

Toss 'em to the birds.
posted by bondcliff at 12:11 PM on September 16, 2009

Make the best goddamn sandwich ever!

Or toast them lightly and eat them with pasta or soup.
posted by chillmost at 12:15 PM on September 16, 2009

I like to eat them. With peanut butter. My wife, though, uses them to apply butter to corn on the cob. (I know, right?) I'd never seen anything like it before marrying her. She spread a thick layer of butter on the "heels" of bread and then wrap them around sections of corn. She spins the corn in the bread slice and, voilĂ ! Buttered corn.
posted by unclejeffy at 12:19 PM on September 16, 2009 [4 favorites]

Toast them, and make toast soldiers for your boiled eggs :)
posted by mahke at 12:23 PM on September 16, 2009

When I use them to make a sandwich, I put the outside part of the bread on the inside part of the sandwich. It's never the best sandwich of the week, but it's less wasteful than throwing them away. (I usually use one bread end and one regular piece of bread so it's not quite so crust-heavy.)
posted by juliplease at 12:23 PM on September 16, 2009

my dog goes absolutely nuts over them. Everytime we open a loaf of bread, she knows.
posted by robokevin at 12:28 PM on September 16, 2009

Are people confusing the delightfully crusty heels of say, a loaf of french bread with the butt-end of a loaf of sliced bread? Because I really don't see how the ends of pre-sliced bread can be considered "the best part".

Oh, and you're already doing all you can, dreamphone. Peanut butter. I like doing it because I can have palusible internal deniability that I am, in fact, eating any bread at all.

"What, this? Barely a piece. Doesn't count. What carbs?"
posted by joelhunt at 12:30 PM on September 16, 2009

I used to make breadcrumbs, but one of my kids is actually really fond of the "elbow" (on a baguette, it looks like an elbow! so that stuck), so now I feed them to her. But! the elbow sandwich is always the last sandwich of the loaf, because I have somehow come to believe that the bread stays fresher if the end piece is left in the bag, protecting the next slice in line, moving ever closer to its twin at the other end.

I have also heard someone refer to the end of the loaf of bread as the "grumpy", by the way, and I wish that would catch on because it's pretty damn evocative if you ask me.
posted by padraigin at 12:34 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Milk Toast:
Put some milk in a skillet. Add the bread ends and they soak up the milk. Sprinkle some sugar and cinnamon on top. When hot use a pancake turner and place on your plate. Eat.
posted by JayRwv at 12:38 PM on September 16, 2009

Let them dry a little bit and use them to soak up chicken drippings, or wipe delicious drippings out of a frying pan after cooking delicious meat.

Bread pudding.
posted by Good Brain at 12:45 PM on September 16, 2009

I freeze them and take them out when I go to the park with my granddaughter to feed the ducks. She loves it!
posted by pamspanda at 12:50 PM on September 16, 2009

French toast is a good way to use the heel of a loaf, if you're adverse to simply eating them as nature intended.
posted by lekvar at 12:51 PM on September 16, 2009

Toast the ends, cut into cubes, and pulse in a food processor or blender to get fresh bread crumbs.. then make yourself some fried chicken/fish/whatever...
posted by chalbe at 12:51 PM on September 16, 2009

I toss them usually, unless it's the only bread in the house and I'm dying for a piece of toast or a sandwich.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 12:52 PM on September 16, 2009

My dog gets 2-3 pills daily, so my answer is sort of cheating---because she gets them.

The answer is cheating because she really often gets a third of the loaf anyway.
posted by TomMelee at 12:54 PM on September 16, 2009

What I do is to cube them and then toss them onto my deck for the birds. The local jays and chickadees and sparrows really love 'em.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:54 PM on September 16, 2009

Freeze them, and then once you have about a loaf's worth, make Portuguese Holy Ghost Soup. It doesn't matter how stale, dry, or tough the bread is, it's still going to be good.
posted by buxtonbluecat at 12:57 PM on September 16, 2009

If it's bread with a bit of spine to it I'd go for Pappa al pomodoro. If it's plastic bread (I'm not judging, it's all we generally have in the house) duck-feeding might be your best option.
posted by calico at 1:01 PM on September 16, 2009

My wife eats them. If I get to them first, the birds do.
posted by elder18 at 1:03 PM on September 16, 2009

toasted, then tossed into soup
posted by Calloused_Foot at 1:15 PM on September 16, 2009

Bread pudding is really yummy, and gives you an excuse to make bourbon sauce. You can add pumpkin to bread pudding to make it seem healthier, or apricots, cranberries, blueberries, etc., as an alternative to raisins. Dried and cubed, use grumpies to make dressing/stuffing for poultry, or as a base for a quiche-like thing that my Mom called a strata. Quiche, with bread cubes as a base, instead of pie crust.
posted by theora55 at 1:18 PM on September 16, 2009

I feed them to the chicken. You need a chicken to eat the otherwise good food that you can't.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 1:33 PM on September 16, 2009

I save the front end until the whole loaf is gone, then make a grilled cheese with both ends, with the crusty parts facing the inside. Enough cheese (which, c'mon, is how they're supposed to be made), and the crust is near-unnoticeable.
posted by god hates math at 2:12 PM on September 16, 2009

Cinnamon toast, croutons, bread pudding.
posted by jessamyn at 2:14 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yes, they're great for breadcrumbs. Bread molds only when it's moist, so if you'remaking breadcrumbs with it, just get it out of the bag and let it harden.

But now I've got a backlog of breadcrumbs so I'm throwing them out again.

Family history has it that my great-grandmother used to sigh dramatically and accept the duty of eating these last scraps of the loaf, but when the family tried to change this status quo, she resisted, eventually admitting that the heel pieces, which cup up when you toast them, held more jam.
posted by aimedwander at 2:16 PM on September 16, 2009

Place some sharp cheese on the cut side of them, and stick them in the oven until they get all melty and toasted.

Make croutons.

Make a grilled-cheese sandwich with them, cut side facing out.

Panzanella. (seriously... OMG good)


Add sauce, cheese, and toppings for some cheapskate pizza snacks for the kids.

Thicken soups.
posted by kaseijin at 2:18 PM on September 16, 2009

Oh yes, as kaseijin mentions, use bread ends to thicken soup.

Mmmmmmm, soup.
posted by lekvar at 2:25 PM on September 16, 2009

Slightly old bread ends are the best for soup eating! I used to hunt for the hardest bits of bread in my host family's bread box (in France) to soak in my potage (vegetable soup) for a while, since they soaked up the soup but didn't get soggy.
posted by fantine at 2:40 PM on September 16, 2009

I usually throw them out even though mr. crankylex likes them. I'm really not that mean, it's just that he leaves them in the bag forever and soon i have five or six bread bags in my fridge with just ends and I can't deal with it, so out they go. Sometimes, if I'm feeling especially guilty, I tear them up and feed birds in my back yards. Bonus: the resulting feeding frenzy provides entertainment for my cats.
posted by crankylex at 2:48 PM on September 16, 2009

Stuffing. Or dressing, Which ever way you may call it in your neck of the woods.
posted by macadamiaranch at 2:48 PM on September 16, 2009

I make breadcrumbs with old bread and store them in the freezer. My favorite dishes that involve breadcrumbs are these: Parmesan Chicken, and Chicken Kiev.
posted by illenion at 3:30 PM on September 16, 2009

Shit on a shingle.
posted by orme at 3:51 PM on September 16, 2009

I ball them up tightly in my hands and eat them that way.
posted by frobozz at 4:57 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

The bread ends are good enough to eat if you spread them with a nice, thick layer of something like egg salad or tuna salad. That way, the dryness of the bread crust is less noticeable.
posted by datarose at 4:59 PM on September 16, 2009

I read through this entire thread and didn't see any mention of cutting them into strips and deep frying them in vegetable oil, like doughnuts, then sprinkling them with sugar/cinnamon sugar/cocoa etc. Calories galore, yes, but my son loves this. I actually buy the ends from bakeries (some places sell them for like 100 yen for a huge bag full) to make this at his request.
posted by misozaki at 5:29 PM on September 16, 2009

Keep them in a ziplock in the freezer until you have enough that when processed into fine breadcrumbs in a processor you get a heaping cup (8-10 heels). Sautee these crumbs in a large skillet with butter until toasted and a bit crispy. Remove crumbs, add a bit more butter and a little olive oil and add the thin slices of two onions, put water on to boil for pasta. While water is coming to a boil, sautee onions to a deep, soft caramelization. Once onions are caramelized, add a drained tin of anchovies in oil, smooshing the fish into the onion mixture until dissolved into onions. Add salt and spaghetti to boiling water, cook aldente, drain. Toss spaghetti with the onion and fish mixture, *generously* sprinkle with the buttery bread crumbs. Salty, sweet, crunchy, buttery GOODNESS.
posted by rumposinc at 5:50 PM on September 16, 2009 [5 favorites]

We used to keep the bread ends (and usually it was a mixture of white, brown, multigrain, rye, what have you) in a bag in the freezer. That bag then became turkey stuffing on thanksgiving and Christmas. And do you want to make awesome turkey stuffing? Let me let you in on an little secret that will have people asking you for the recipe:

3 cups bread heels
1 cup rolled oats or mashed potatoes
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 large onion
salt, pepper, sage and savory to taste

The night before you stuff the bird, take the bread out of the freezer and spread it on a cookie sheet to defrost and dry out. Keep back one bread heel. The following morning, chop the onion, and fry in the butter with any offal that comes out of the bird (liver, heart, whatever, except the neck). Put this mixture, and the bread, into a food processor and swizz. (We used to use a hand-cranked meat grinder, using half a raw onion as the plunger, but that was a texture preference). Mix with rolled oats or leftover mashed potatoes. Add more melted butter if the mixture is too dry for your tastes. Season to taste. Once you have the whole lot mixed together, stuff the main cavity of the bird, and the hollow in the neck. The bird should be so stuffed, you need that reserved heel of bread to cap the main cavity, because the skin just won't stretch to cover it. Roast that bad boy until done, and serve! It's standard stuffing, but the gizzards add that extra depth of flavour, and it's undetectable to even the most squeamish in the family.
posted by LN at 7:55 AM on September 17, 2009 [4 favorites]

I eat 'em, toasted -- they're the best part.

Because I really don't see how the ends of pre-sliced bread can be considered "the best part"

Well, that's your opinion -- can we agree to disagree?
posted by Rash at 12:14 PM on September 18, 2009

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