La crise de la baguette


A while back, a food editor in the states asked me to send him daily some ideas for articles that I might want to write-up for them. I thought about it for quite a while, then sent a response for an article with recipes for using up leftover bread, which I tentatively titled: The French Bread Crisis. They kindly responded, thanking me for the idea, but passed on the story. I’m not sure why, but maybe it was because they couldn’t imagine anyone in France having leftover bread lying around.

To avoid this crise, a number of people remarked in the previous post on French supermarkets that they bought Harry’s “American Bread” because the puffy, pre-sliced white loaves lasted quite a bit longer than regular French bread. But I’m still perplexed because what’s the point of living in France if you don’t eat French bread?

Oddly, though, if you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself hardly ever eating fresh bread – even if you buy your bread fresh daily from your local boulangerie. You’re probably scratching your head at that one – just as those editors were likely scratching their heads when my proposal landed in their Inbox – but think about it: If you live alone, you buy a baguette and eat few some with lunch, then some with dinner. Seeing as it’s really not possible to eat a whole loaf in a single night by yourself (although I’ve come close), you’re going to have some leftover.

I opt for baguette de tradition (or campagne), hand-shaped baguettes made with sourdough, which keep an extra day or so longer than a regular baguette ordinaire. It’s hard to find a good baguette ordinaire whereas most bakeries in Paris make good a very decent baguette tradition.

So you buy a fresh baguette in the afternoon for dinner, which you wrap up and eat the next day. Then getting back to my timeline, you have some bread leftover the next day, which you eat for breakfast. But here’s the rub: You’ve got the whole thing carefully planned out and have calculated how much bread you’re going to eat at each meal. Then something happens that throws the whole thing into turmoil.

Let’s say you go out to lunch with friends. Do you cancel just so you can stay home and maintain your baguette schedule? Or most bread bakeries are closed in Paris for two days. So you have to go elsewhere and if you head up to the 10th or something, you probably go to a place like Du Pain et des Idées and pick up a pain aux cereales, which lasts longer than three meals, which again, throws the whole thing off. Or let’s say you have a house guest for ten days and on day #1, he slices into the fresh baguette for breakfast, leaving the stub of yesterday’s baguette in that awkward stage between fresh and too stale to slice. No one wants to eat bread that’s not at it’s best when just around the corner, they’re pulling out fresh loaves from the oven while you’re giving your teeth a workout with a two day-old loaf. No matter how carefully planned your strategy is, something is bound to come up like a dinner party or a lunch with friends that’s going to screw the whole thing up.

I haven’t figured out an effective solution. Some folks freeze their bread, but my freezer is packed full toujours. Plus then you’re stuck eating previously frozen bread all the time, which negates having eight bakeries within a two block radius. You can also buy a half a baguette, but I like the heft of carrying a full-length baguette home because the half-size ones screw up my balance.

(The half-size ones, though, do fit better in a bicycle basket which is better because just one trip down a cobblestone street, and that full-size baguette is gonna be hopping around more than a fifty-something year old man who’s been neglecting to take his Saw Palmetto, and is trying to make it home quickly.)

But I think I finally may have hit upon a way out. Starting today, I’m now engaged in a little live-together experiment for the next ten days. Aside from a quick trip to the pharmacy this morning for a dix jours supply of le Prozac, I’m hoping that I will have finally found a solution during that time since there will be two of us to tackle the overload of bread. If not, my next address in Paris will be at the hôpital psychiatrique. (Or vice versa, is more like it.) Although I wonder if they serve baguettes over there. And if so, I wonder how they handle the leftovers? If you don’t hear from me in the next ten days, I’ll let you know.

Never miss a post!


  • Eileen
    June 18, 2011 4:57pm

    I was hoping you were going to finish the post with an idea for what to do with all of the leftover bread! Something besides bread crumbs or bread pudding.

  • June 18, 2011 5:08pm

    but sliced sourdough baguette makes wonderful crostini, and needs to be a bit stale anyway.

    So you may find yourself leaving the half loaf deliberately, and starting on the new one just so you have reason to make crostini…

  • Vesna
    June 18, 2011 5:12pm

    on the balkans, as good bread eater, we are dunking it in whipped eggs, fry it an eat it with a lot of feta as breakfast.

  • June 18, 2011 5:14pm

    Yes, always a quandary, David!! Spot on with the “shall I cancel lunch?” passing thought!

    One solution is to moisten the old baguette a little, then slice it however it will fit best in the toaster, and serve pain grille for breakfast. Whenever I stay as “family” with French friends, that seems to be the routine. Even days-old baguettes.

  • June 18, 2011 5:21pm

    “Let’s say you go out to lunch with friends. Do you cancel just so you can stay home and maintain your baguette schedule?” This made me giggle out loud. Love it. :) Only idea I came up with is the dependable crostini idea, which you thought of long before I ever read this post, of course. I hope we hear from you again soon.

  • Catherine Negus
    June 18, 2011 5:28pm

    Ah, David, you are as funny as ever. I look forward to part deux on; la crise de la baguette.

  • June 18, 2011 5:32pm

    I find myself always making bread pudding or stuffing when I end up with bits and bobs of bread ends (I throw all the bits in a freezer and usually have enough once a month for a good batch of something good).

    If you’re not into making crostini, bread pudding, or something else – how about getting a pet chicken? A find way to get turn some stale bread ends into eggs that you can eat with the fresh loaf!

  • Terry
    June 18, 2011 5:35pm

    What??? What about “French toast”? Slice the bread longways, soak it in milk & egg mix for 24 hours, fry it on the stove-top, add whatever you like on your French toast.

    Or cut it into cubes, let it dry, and bake it a little while after stirring with a little olive oil, herbs and onion salts, and use as croutons. Or grate it like cheese, for bread crumbs, or cut it up and mix it with ground meat for meatloaf, or or or … bread never goes to waste at my house. :^)

    I laughed at the idea of turning down a luncheon invitation in order to stay on one’s baguette schedule, too. As much as I love baguettes – I had to think a couple of seconds…

  • June 18, 2011 5:37pm

    You could always feed it to the birds :)

  • June 18, 2011 5:37pm

    Definitely a quandary! I hate to see food go to waste. Although fresh breadcrumbs have already been mentioned they are my favorite use for slightly stale bread and I find baguettes do the best job. Crostini, sweet or savory bread pudding are great as well. What about a Middle Eastern fattoush-style salad, or Panzanella (Italian bread salad)? Can’t wait to hear what you come up with.

  • June 18, 2011 5:38pm

    Funny, I just spent this morning cleaning out my freezer of leftover baguette ends! I’m in the same boat as you, so please, let us know how your experiment turns out.

  • June 18, 2011 5:41pm
    David Lebovitz

    Polly: Ever since learning to wrap it in a tea towel to keep it better overnight, to preserve the crust, that changed my life. Well, part of it… but still..

    Katherine & Eileen: Too bad they didn’t want me to write the article. But if someone wants to pass the hat out there, I’ll see what I can do.. : )

  • ParisGrrl
    June 18, 2011 5:41pm

    Tartines and pain perdu….that, and throwing the rest away with an oh-so-French shrug.

  • June 18, 2011 5:50pm

    There is never any baguette left over in my house. The two of us will easily eat one baguette in one sitting, but I guess that’s just us. But if by chance there is some left over the next day, I’ll go and buy a fresh one anyway. Hot baguette wins out every time.

  • June 18, 2011 5:53pm

    you may cut the bread in your life for the next ten days – OH LA LA!! – and go out for lunch with friends everyday so you will feel like it was actually a good idea.

  • June 18, 2011 6:06pm

    You can always buy half a baguette, you know…

  • Grant
    June 18, 2011 6:19pm

    Thank you for thinking about bread today.

  • June 18, 2011 6:23pm

    I love this! Good luck on the live-together experiment! That’s major. I think it will help, too. If he’s anything like mine, everything I want disappears long before I even get the chance to eat. You may find yourself with a new French bread crisis and have to mark off your half of that baguette with a rubber band.

  • soozzie
    June 18, 2011 6:31pm

    But here is my question: the fresh baguettes are so very good, and the even-slightly-stale ones are not so good, how can you bear to eat the latter when the former is so ubiquitously available? As conscientious as we are in using up every last morsel of food somehow, we can’t force ourselves to eat stale baguettes.

    And by the way, if the baguette is really fresh and warm and lovely, and my last meal is a few hours past, I can eat a whole one, easy….

  • June 18, 2011 6:38pm

    Am now on the edge of my seat…

  • Pat
    June 18, 2011 6:43pm

    I’m in the US, so the bread isn’t the same quality, but I usually make croutons with leftover baguettes. They keep pretty well in a plastic bag on the counter and we eat enough salad and soup to use them before they get ugly. I also toast excess baguettes to make hoagie/sub type sandwiches or crostini.

    I make bread crumbs sometimes and keep them in the freezer, but you only need so many of them and they begin to smell like the freezer after a while. Bread pudding and stuffing are good uses sometimes, but that just makes more food that has to be eaten.

  • Jp
    June 18, 2011 6:52pm

    You could always go for some “pain perdu” if you have some leftovers.

    I used to be a small bread eater (none at breakfast, lunch or dinner, just a bite with chocolate for goûter at 4 PM). Since I moved out France for 3 years and went back, I’m back on the baguette big time. I found a nice boulanger nearby (his desserts are not that good but his bread is great), and I buy 5 or 6 baguettes a week. If I still have some from 2 days ago, I just put it into the toaster.

  • June 18, 2011 7:03pm
    David Lebovitz

    Jp: When I first moved here, my French teacher told me he ate a whole baguette for breakfast everyday. I assumed he was talking about a slender ficelle. But no, he assured me it was a regular baguette.

    I used to toast them but have realized they’re better in the morning if they’re fresh and slick with salted butter, so the butter doesn’t melt in, but stays on the top where you can really taste it.

    Pat: If I put anything else in my freezer, it’s going to so on strike!

  • June 18, 2011 7:12pm

    David, have you ever had Bread Pudding – not the bread in custard type, but the typically English cake type, moist and heavy with dried fruits, flavoured with spices? It is, I suppose an acquired taste but one I certainly enjoy, having had it when I was a child.


  • cranberry
    June 18, 2011 7:17pm

    But you can buy a “demi baguette” in most places! (although, I tend to find a demi is not enough). Or get something else, like a “pain de campagne coupé en tranches”, which lasts longer. We always had those at my house and they are so, so much better than Harry’s bread.

  • SU SU
    June 18, 2011 7:22pm

    I completely understand your dilemma, David! And I don’t even live in Paris! My freezer is too full to fit any stale bread into and there’s only so much you can do with stale bread! What’s a single person gonna do?! I hope your experiment works out well! All the best!

  • June 18, 2011 7:40pm

    I like putting baguette slices (or roughly torn pieces–more rustic!) on an oven tray . . . drizzle over some good olive oil . . . add some crushed garlic and some finely chopped herbs (thyme, rosemary, even plain parsley) . . . maybe some grated cheese or a few dried red pepper flakes. Pop in the oven until the bread is nice and crispy and the kitchen smells good.

    Good for soup (often made of leftovers from the night before) or with a salad or any sort of meat that makes a lot of juice (rare steak/beef or a pan-seared duck breast).

  • Sarahb1313
    June 18, 2011 7:45pm

    At the local Pathmark, they actually have a not terrible version of an American baguette. It came in a paper sleeve. And it was pretty good for not having to fly to Paris for bread, believe it or not.

    Then for some strange reason…. which I think I am starting to understand based on this little discussion, they changed to sleeve to PLASTIC!!!! The crust was ruined, the inside became rubbery…. they ruined it!! Who wanted to eat it even if it lasted a bit longer!

    Cleverly though, within about 2 weeks, they returned to the paper sleeve.

    I have gone back to buying fake french bread and having leftovers now and then… and I think I’m ok with that.

  • Fanya
    June 18, 2011 7:51pm

    That’s the problem I used to have! I live alone and like artisan bread (non presliced preservative laden bread, but ones from bakery section) so at least 1/3 of the bread will be rock hard every time I eat them.

    My answer is croutons and bread crumbs. Just let it go rock hard, or maybe slice and toast them in the oven for 3 min, then cut into cubes and toss with some butter or salt or seasoning if it’s not flavorful enough. It’s much healthier than store brought croutons and I can never resist snacking on them. As for bread crumbs, let it get rock hard or toast a bit, then put it in the food processor, and it will keep for at least 3 weeks. I also like putting bread crumbs in grounded lean meat to keep it from being so…solid I guess when I’m cooking them.

  • Robert S.
    June 18, 2011 8:00pm

    This post totally hit home for me! I wrote a similar article for my AUP school paper, thinking that my fellow solo adventurers would sympathize with my baguette storage plight. Nada. Thanks for letting me know I’m not the only one in Paris who stresses over surplus bread.

  • June 18, 2011 8:42pm

    Even if you do come up with ideas for using leftover bread, you will still have too much bread. Maybe you just have to accept this and do your best. Try to think happy thoughts.

  • ron shapley
    June 18, 2011 8:54pm

    Well Dave… now it can be confirmed… You’ve finally flipped !!!!! A fun read though, kind of like “who’s on first”..

  • Lana
    June 18, 2011 9:22pm

    I loved this post – delightful, I relate! and it made me laugh. I love a nice bread salad with the older baguette. The vinegars and tomatoes moisten everything perfectly.

  • June 18, 2011 9:34pm

    The Paris kitchen is too small for saving leftovers – I have even less counter space than you do, and no oven. Tossing out the leftovers was hard at first… VERY hard! But we’ve adjusted. Here in the states, I have a freezer full.

    Good luck with the experiment. Hope neither of you winds up in “the Hatch”

  • Charlotte K
    June 18, 2011 9:46pm

    In summer, Panzanella (the best use ever for leftover bread)
    In winter, Panades

  • June 18, 2011 9:58pm

    What a great excuse for a regular dose of panzanella! Love the post!

  • dan
    June 18, 2011 10:03pm

    so what’s the deal with the prozac? is living in france not exactly what’s hyped up to be?

  • Elodie
    June 18, 2011 10:05pm

    Simple solution… demi-baguette! :D

  • michele y
    June 18, 2011 10:45pm

    No sympathy here David…I live in a place where the only baguettes to be had are the kind you can tie into a knot!

    You could switch to ficelles…then you could eat the whole thing at once w/o “avoir honte”!

  • June 18, 2011 10:51pm

    There are so many ways to use leftover bread , I like Vesna’s idea as well :) It does not last more than two days in my home , because I make sandwiches.
    I do not turn people down for their lunch invitations just because I have the baguette sandwich. I offer instead that they go and grab something to-go and meet me at the park to have lunch on the picnic benches around the corner from the office. Of course this only works between April-June and September-October due to the Southern weather.
    I wonder what their criteria is when they are selecting articles!

  • KC
    June 18, 2011 11:21pm

    The solution is obvious to me. Buy a big turkey to stuff with the leftover bread. Then you can worry about what to do with the leftover turkey. Of course you won’t worry too much as the trtophan in the turkey will have you napping right through your lunch date so you will eat a turkey sandwich to make up for it and then sleep through your dinner engagement too and eat more turkey as you are too sleepy to cook anything. Naturally you will sleep in until lunch the next day and all the bakeries will be closed or sold out of bread by that time so you will have no choice but to eat stale bread.

  • June 18, 2011 11:39pm

    I’m looking forward to hearing how this turns out. I hope your mental sanity will keep during this crisis :)
    I actually freak out when I don’t have leftover bread in the house. It is vital to get good meatballs. And crostini for the soup. When it is really getting out of hand I make canederli, bread gnocchi, made with bread, milk, eggs, a bit of flour and any seasoning (this may include mushrooms, cheese, bacon, spinahc, beetroot, fried onions… not all in one go, possibly). Great with any meat stew or on their own, cooked in stock. They even freeze quite well… I know, I know, your freezer won’t allow you to do that..

  • June 18, 2011 11:55pm

    I’m thinking Pappa al Pomodoro for my stale bread. A classic Italian tomato soup with stale bread in it! Yum Yum!

  • DGV
    June 19, 2011 12:00am

    Capirotada! But it may be hard for you to find the exact ingredients in Paris.

  • stroppycow
    June 19, 2011 12:00am

    My mum used to make pain perdu or gateau au pain.
    You might have seen some gateau au pain in bakeries, it is really dense (dubbed étouffe chrétien cake by my granddad) to make it you put chopped stale bread in a pan with enough milk to cover then warm through, blitz it with a blender, add some eggs – 2 or 3 depending on how much bread mush there is, add some raisins and some sugar and bake at 180 until you get a nice brown crust.
    Maybe you could use some to make the bread dumplings they serve sliced with stews in Prague.

  • naomi
    June 19, 2011 1:01am

    Now, when I went to Paris when I was 19, I found the little hotel I stayed in had quite a novel use. Each morning of the four I stayed in that establishment, the voices from the kitchen of the cook and owner seemed louder, and the bread harder. By the last day, we guests sat in the breakfast room without bread, glancing nervously back toward the escalating discussion. Then the two burst through the door, bread flying through air, as the owner ducked and the cook flung. The bread was hard enough for weaponry at that point. I don’t think this is typical, however, nor the recommended use of old bread. I did enjoy it, though I also switched hotels. Paris can be so exciting.

  • June 19, 2011 1:06am

    “Seeing as it’s really not possible to eat a whole loaf in a single night by yourself…”
    That statement made as little sense to me as if you had written it in code.;) Admittedly, I realize that I love bread more than the average person, to the point that if I were to ever come down with a deadly case of Gluten intolerance I would in fact die rather than give up bread. In other words, no leftover problem for me!

  • Emily
    June 19, 2011 1:06am

    I’ve been known to cancel plans with friends due to excitement over my own food at home… and I just realized how truly sad that is.
    Anyway, I live in California, so the bread here certainly isn’t as good, but I usually make croutons with my leftover bread. Or panzanella. Or bread pudding. Or anything, really. There’s nothing I hate more than throwing away carbs, no matter how stale, you know?

  • June 19, 2011 2:42am

    I have this same problem here in Berkeley, with the baguettes I buy from Acme, and at this point I have enough jars of breadcrumbs to last me a lifetime. My current solution is to keep the bread in a large ziplock bag (I have to cut it into chunks first), in the refrigerator. Then it isn’t good fresh, but it’s still soft enough that it slices and toasts up fine, as opposed to being too stale to even cut into.

  • Sarah
    June 19, 2011 3:06am

    Living in France as a student, I wrote une dissertation on baguettes, so I’m quite intrigued by this post. I focused rather on their history, ingredients, and what makes a perfect French baguette exactly what it is. Courage, mon ami!

    Oh and aside from ripping off the end of a baguette as I walk away from the boulangerie, my other favorite way to eat it was in fondue of course! My host mother made one that makes my mouth water just thinking about it. Fortunately I never dropped my bout de pain, therefore avoiding “un gage!”

  • mar
    June 19, 2011 3:23am

    excuse me this question somewhat out of the topic of food but i´ll be traveling to france and want to know… it is necessary to have a prescription for prozac to get it in pharmacies like anywhere else, isn´t it?

  • maggiewann
    June 19, 2011 6:41am

    Ha, ha! Actually, I’m finding this to be a real problem in my own life–living in North Idaho I used to wonder how people had “day old bread” lying around for making bread pudding or whatever. We bought bread and ate it everyday until it was gone–at least a week, and I would have to buy extra bread in order to have day old bread on hand. But! NOW! that I’m baking my own wonderful bread in my own wood-fired oven made by my own wonderful husband–I have leftover day old bread–and my freezer is full of it–and I don’t want to eat the bread in the freezer, and that’s too much bread pudding and bread salad–so I totally get it!

  • Rachel
    June 19, 2011 8:28am

    I love that most of your readers are commenting on bread uses & not intrigue on the live-in experiment. To me the demi-baguette is the answer – maybe just every few days. Good luck with it all, looking forward to next instalment

  • Susan Graf
    June 19, 2011 8:45am

    David, Face it. You’re going to have to bite the bullet and throw away that extra piece of baguette. It’ll be painful. It was for me the first time I did it. But summoning the courage to toss that leftover hunk of bread has changed my life.

  • June 19, 2011 8:53am

    I’d hate to have to spend my next trip to Paris visiting you in the hôpital psychiatrique, so I hope the experiment is a great success!

  • June 19, 2011 9:07am

    I moved to Paris 2 months ago and I discovered this dilemma immediately! Obviously the first thought is to just make croutons with the leftovers but when are you going to use them if you can get fresh baguettes daily? I pass about 6 boulangeries on a daily basis and a fresh baguette is simply too good to pass up. My hubby brought one home for dinner the other night that was still warm – we tore into it with some butter before I even started dinner!

  • June 19, 2011 10:00am

    Oh dear! I’m so surprised, and admit slightly horrified to learn that other Americans living in France would choose to purchase American bread because it lasts longer! I wonder if they ever stop to consider exactly why the plastic-fantastic bread in the super market never goes stale? Hmmm. One thing I really like about living in France is that the French seem to have a very much better idea of what real food is. And if you feed your extra baguette to the birds, as I often do, you can be sure you’re not poisoning them!

  • June 19, 2011 11:30am

    Pappa al Pomodoro… Yes!!

  • Margaret
    June 19, 2011 11:48am

    what about crostini? yum…

  • anna
    June 19, 2011 12:17pm

    If you store baguette in an air-tight container or plastic bag, it won’t dry out. The crust won’t stay crunchy either, but you can just warm it in the oven or cut it in half with a bread knife and toast it.

    I hate this “sprinkling water on it” thing…

  • June 19, 2011 12:44pm

    hehe, i always buy demi-baguette :)

  • June 19, 2011 12:56pm

    Demi-baguettes rule! Although I do rather love the pain aux noix that you get from the bakery counter (NOT the wrapped bread counter – thanks, if I want sliced white bread, which I don’t, I can get that here!), and some of the other pains rustiques.

    For left-overs, I second the recommendation of bread pudding, and also bread-and-butter pudding, especially when made using Jamie’s recipe with brioche and marmalade, is sheer heaven once in awhile.

    All the best for the living-together – do let us know how it goes, and whether it will be something permanent. Every happiness, whatever!

  • Mel P.
    June 19, 2011 2:41pm

    I found out a trick to revive old baguette: moisten the whole surface with wet hands – put it in the oven for 10 min, at 120°C

    and another solution: semmelknödel. about one whole baguette equals 10 old rolls:

  • June 19, 2011 3:19pm

    +1 for the “demi tradition”

  • June 19, 2011 4:12pm

    Nice to have a new luncheon excuse: “I have a date with a baguette.” Demi-baguettes seem to solve my problem though. As does eggs al forno on Sundays to use up what’s stale. And now that it’s summer – crostini with vegetables!

  • nancy halpern
    June 19, 2011 4:27pm

    there’s only one answer.
    more cheese.
    that’s the best way i know to make sure you use up every last piece.

    failing that…more time spent in the place des voges feeding pigeons.

  • June 19, 2011 4:30pm

    I think The French Bread Crisis idea is a great one, I would have loved to take it on as a project.
    I also think that people are losing the beautiful and healthy tradition of buying freshly baked quality bread on a daily basis. That makes me sad, how does one change a nation’s bread culture? It is actually quite difficult to find good bakeries and quality bread where I live – I’d be ashamed of selling cheap chewing gum that the appearance of bread.

  • Karen Vikki
    June 19, 2011 4:30pm

    I, too, do the oven trick. Just spray the baguette with water. It can almost be dripping wet and put it in the oven for about 7 or more minutes. You will see it nicely revived with a hard nice crust. it isn’t necessary to wrap it in anything. I’ve done this many times with baguettes here in NYC.

  • Helena Kling
    June 19, 2011 4:34pm

    Mrs. Chiots suggested the possibility of keeping a chicken – maybe she suggested it light heartedly but this was what my grandmother did. Before she had a yard big enough for a chicken she raised pigeons,in boxes on her window sill, to eat the leftover bread and then be eaten in their turn. All this was learned from her mother who spent her whole life in a small village near Lodz in Poland. My grandmother continued the tradition in the east end of London as she firmly believed it to be wicked to throw away left over food. She also re-baked ”soldiers” of bread and cake for her teething grandchildren. She died young from overwork and continuous childbearing.

  • June 19, 2011 4:42pm

    I’m with you. I hate wasting food. Isn’t there a Goodwill store for day-old baguettes or a homeless shelter you could donate to? I suppose the French would rather die of hunger than commit such stale-baguette blasphemy.

  • CBRetriever
    June 19, 2011 4:44pm

    The answer in my case is dogs (big dogs)

    they look hopefu;l every time I pull out the bread from the cupboard

  • Jen
    June 19, 2011 4:49pm

    My son was eating full baguette (as long as his arm!) in one sitting when he was 6! I think it was to retaliate against us for moving back to the states! I never seem to have a problem with leftover baguette! :)

  • June 19, 2011 4:57pm

    so many good ideas here for what to do with a stale baguette!

    my recent, beloved discovery: summer panzanella! delightfully stale french bread with fresh vegetables (tomatoes, arugula, roasted peppers, and capers. grilled corn? artichoke hearts? so many possibilities!), a little garlic and minced anchovies, and tossed a simple, from-scratch vinaigrette? add in a little goat cheese, and you’ll seriously consider turning down that lunch invitation. i can imagine few things more beautiful and delicious!

  • Nancy Scheeler
    June 19, 2011 5:14pm

    Crostini, for sure. And croutons, too.

  • June 19, 2011 5:15pm

    The guy from Normandy who sells eggs and chickens and such at the market takes old bread to feed his chickens with. I’ve never seen anyone bring him any, though. But now that Vesna’s brought up the eggs/bread/feta thing, I’m going to be planning my day around having stale bread…

  • June 19, 2011 5:23pm

    I say Mazel Tov on your grand 10 day experiment! Wishing you much fun and domestic bliss… hopefully your baguette crisis will automatically balance itself with your new living arrangement.

  • Kathy Foley
    June 19, 2011 5:33pm

    Much as I have always loved the baguette, I bit into one in May that had been purchased the day before and broke a perfectly good tooth. $5K later, I am getting an implant and cannot cope with the idea of biting into a baguette – even a fresh one!
    I’m sure time will cure this phobia.

  • Steph
    June 19, 2011 5:33pm

    The Tartine Bread cookbook has a chapter with tasty uses for leftover bread, more focused on a slice from a big country loaf, but my favorite, hands down, is Judy Rodger’s panade (Zuni Cafe Cookbook). It’s enough to make you leave the bread on the counter for dinner and call a friend for lunch.

  • June 19, 2011 5:41pm

    OMG…that sounded just like something I would angst over and I LMAO!

  • Christine
    June 19, 2011 5:56pm

    Now that there are at least three great places to get French baguettes in Portland (St Honore, La Provence and Ken’s) the problem is here as well! Olive oil, rubbed garlic and sea salt turn stale bread into a happy addition to l’apero.

  • marion
    June 19, 2011 6:02pm

    Ok you can do this. However you must think like a Tuscan rather than a Parisian.

    First off, day old bread can be refreshed fairly successfully by running it under cold water from your sink and placing it in a 300-350 degree oven for a few minutes. You may need to do this with your very old bread just to be able to slice it.

    Next, you can make very nice bruschetta if you slice your bread carefully, brush on both sides with olive oil and bake until toasty. Serve with cheese or crostini toppings.

    Third, time to think like a Tuscan and make panzanella salad, which calls for 1/2 loaf hard, stale bread or ribollita soup. In the winter you will need that hard stale bread to float in your French onion soup with cheese. Yum-o.

    Finally, you can break it up and throw it in the food processor to make bread crumbs for multiple uses.

    By the way, you should go to Spannocchia which is near Sienna. It is a great place to learn to “think like a Tuscan.”

  • Hillary
    June 19, 2011 6:14pm

    Oh, Romain… Good luck with the grand experiment! I’m enjoying your tweets about it all.

  • Charlene
    June 19, 2011 6:22pm

    Congratulations on the shared-living experiment! Hope it will go well–you can officially declare it a success if no one gets injured or arrested. : )
    Like Hannah and Anna, I slice the baguette and store it in an air-tight container, which keeps it soft enough for multi-day use. If one forgets and it is too far gone, thoroughly soak it and feed it to the birdies!

  • Marie M.C.
    June 19, 2011 6:33pm

    My suggestions — all of which I’m sure you and others have tried. Toast. I toast my bread on a cookie tray in the oven so no trying to fit it in the toaster. Pain Perdu (sp?). Bread pudding. I usually make my bread pud with stale croissants but French bread works, too. Crostini, natch. Bread crumbs. Put chunks in blender, blitz. Always love reading your blog — and trying your recipes.

  • sarah
    June 19, 2011 6:36pm

    So true! As always, David! We subscribe to the crouton method for aging baguettes. Perhaps this methodology may be applied to “les crises” of living together too?

  • john s
    June 19, 2011 6:40pm

    When first moving to Paris, two things were cleared up very quickly by my lover E. Don’t buy so much cheese that it can’t keep in a cool spot in a cupboard, never in the frigo, maybe two, three days at most, depending on which type & a fresh baguette in the morning and one in the afternoon. I’ll never forget the look on his face at a first dinner when he asked “when did you buy the bread?” Of course it was one from the morning when I had shopped for the rest of the meal. We had 4 bakeries in the neighborhood, two baked their baguettes twice a day…luckily one stayed open in July.
    To say Emmanuel was a tad spoiled is an understatement, but he was a sweetheart in all other dept.’s so no big deal. He also could spot *fake* Louis XV & XVI at a hindered paces…eye & tongue deluxe. Even in those days (80’s) you would see a lady, in a hurry (they’re always in a hurry, when the maid isn’t doing the shopping) buy her baguette at the super, wrapped in plastic, so soft it was already limp and go double when you held it up, pass two of the bakeries on her way home, but not take the time to go in and stand in line to get a fresh one. Matter of priorities…

  • June 19, 2011 6:47pm

    Love the cross-section baguette photo at the top, being currently enthralled with pastry cutaways.
    If you bought the grainy baguettes at my favorite no-name boulangerie on rue Vavin you’d have no left-over bread to cope with. The problem is to get it home in one piece.
    This example of the loaves of bread – if only grade school math was presented this way – altogether hilarious.

  • Susan
    June 19, 2011 6:55pm

    This is the dilema that everyone faces when buying a long loaf of bread…especially french bread. Well, it goes through my mind anyway, before I make the purchase. I’ve used it to make crumbs that are buttered, tossed with cinnamon, sugar and crushed nuts to use as a crumble on my yogurt and oatmeal or on fruit and ice cream or puddings and coffee cakes. They can be finely crumbled and added to cookie dough. Made savory with oil and herbs and used on so many different baked casseroles or over sauteed vegetables. At worst…you can bait the pigeons that haunt your roof by throwing the crumbs on someone elses roof! Ha!

  • Cyndy
    June 19, 2011 6:56pm

    I don’t think this is une crise de la baguette. I think it’s a crise de company!

  • Sherry
    June 19, 2011 6:58pm

    You do know that Prozac takes a few weeks to take effect, right? Better to have gotten a prescription for Valium or Xanax..immediate relief, in case you need it! Less anxiety about both the live-in experiment and baguette stress.

  • June 19, 2011 7:05pm

    Bruschetta, panzanella, pappa al pomodoro, bread crumbs, croutons for Cesar salad, English summer pudding…..

    I know these are the usual suspects and I’ve made them all, but I’m anxious to see what you come up with!

    See you next post!

  • June 19, 2011 7:43pm

    Quelle horreur! Oh my goodness, can I tell you how happy I would be with this situation? I live in a southern Mississippi college town and it is impossible to find good bread here. The bakeries all make cakes, doughnuts, bars, cookies, but bread? Non. I would be so happy with eating half a loaf of that wonderful French bread every day. Here are some ideas for what to do with the other half:

    * Croutons or breadcrumbs.
    * French onion soup, of course
    * Drop some into soup (think Italian)
    * Feed it to the birds
    * Strap to head as a useful governmental overthrow protest device

    Whatever you do with your French bread, enjoy it! Enjoy it for yourself, and for those of us who long for that wonderful stuff every day. Viva le pain!

  • Terry C
    June 19, 2011 7:54pm

    This post was a scream! Loved it. I will soon be sharing this crisis, as my youngest is moving out in a few weeks. Your reason for buying a whole loaf instead of a half really made me smile. Thanks!

  • June 19, 2011 8:56pm

    some uses for stale bread, Peruvian-style:
    stick it in the fridge or freezer to keep things odor-free.
    after a while, the bread gets rock hard, and you can grate it into instant breadcrumbs the next time you need some.
    also, there is a delectable, wonderful, incredible peruvian chicken stew called Ají de Gallina, which involves soaking stale bread in chicken broth and pureeing it as part of the thick, spicy, creamy stew. DELICIOUS. — (be sure to add freshly grated nutmeg and some cumin for authentic flavor)

    Love the description of the baguette schedule! I have similar internal battles with leftovers more often than i care to admit.

  • mothersweden
    June 19, 2011 8:56pm

    Good luck with your experiment! Word of advice from my own experience: Don’t let your prescription lapse…

  • john s
    June 19, 2011 9:17pm

    Per the Peruvian bread soup….the Spanish have a soup which is basically an enriched bread puree with chicken broth, cream & duxelle of mushroom, with loads of garlic, sometimes cheese, depending on the part of the country…wonderful.

  • crimsnsyrn
    June 19, 2011 9:28pm

    Your saw palmetto comment made me laugh out loud! Congrats on your living-together experiment, hoping it works out swimmingly!!

    My husband and I always have three different loaves of bread going: sprouted whole grain for my digestion (God, how I would love to be able to eat a gut-clogging regular baguette again, but I’m filled with fear!) the Trader Joe’s Demi-Miche which is whole wheat (they claim) and I adore, but my husband must eat it every, single day, and sprouted whole grain sandwich bread for husband’s lunch – so there’s a lot in the freezer, as sad as it is.

  • June 19, 2011 9:31pm

    Yeah, I can’t finish a whole baguette. In the morning I take the uneaten loaf with me on my way to work, as I pass the Leysse river I feed it to the ducks.

  • June 19, 2011 9:58pm

    A wise french boulanger once told me that a baguette has a life of 6 hours. I think that’s about the same life span of a butterfly.

    I can’t imagine eating the same baguette in the evening that I purchased in the morning. That’s why you see boulangeries with morning line-ups and evening line-ups. When in Paris, I’m always rushing to get a warm baguette for my evening meal.

    Left-overs? Think dead butterflys. La poubelle is the only left-over baguette solution.

  • Recipes Club
    June 19, 2011 9:59pm

    So what do you do with your leftover bread?! it’d be such a shame for it to all go to waste!
    ~Nancy Lewis~

  • Abby
    June 19, 2011 10:10pm

    The Swiss have a bread soup recipe, where you pour hot milk and nutmeg and not sure what else over hard bread cubes…

  • June 19, 2011 10:57pm

    I have two solutions when we holiday in France.
    Firstly, I really like toast so cut slices (sometimes lengthways) to toast over the gas flame in our caravan (my parents used to take a toaster with them, but we manage without!).
    The second solution is to have a bag of bits for ‘les canards’ – although if you are keeping for this purpose we have found that French ducks are very sensibly not keen on rock hard bread!
    You can then be absolutely guilt free over wasting the ends.
    ‘Meanderings through my Cookbook’

  • June 19, 2011 11:33pm

    I have to say, the best solution I have found is freezing the baguette. It really is just about perfect when you defrost it. You do, however, need space in your freezer to do this!

  • June 19, 2011 11:34pm

    the difficult life of David fighting the tragedy of French Baguettes going stale :)

    as usual very well written but how about some tips for your readers on HOW to use that stale bread? I have gone and made ‘Fotzelschnitten’, or fried bread in your land… with freshly made compott of also left-over rhubarb and strawberries or a mélange of raspberries from my garden and anything bought on the market that goes with them… or apple purrée to the slightly sugared and cinnamonned slices…

  • ranchodeluxe
    June 19, 2011 11:52pm

    I live 25 miles from fresh baguettes. I take them home, slice them up, put little squares of parchment paper and put them between each slice. Freeze 4 slices in ziplock. It freezes and thaws better and I always have some good bread ready for bruschetta. Today grilled pear, blue cheese w ricotta. By the way, the editor was wrong as this was a good post! Ciao for now!

  • June 20, 2011 12:00am

    “maintain your baguette schedule” *lol* I almost fell off my chair!

    I think the only solution is to get used to buy only half a baguette.
    It’s guilt free ever after!

    Or you leave the other half to the birds. I have read, though, that living with city pigeons fed baguettes is not a victim-free situation.

    Btw, I often keep myself from starving by cutting a leftover baguette into cubes, toss them with good olive oil, a little sea salt and hot pepper flakes and lots of fresh basil, then cube some ripe tomatoes, mix bread and tomatoes well, to make a nice amalgam, add a few dashes of balsamic vinegar and, voila’, dinner’s ready! A bit of mozzarella or feta in the house makes for a real feast. ;-)

  • June 20, 2011 12:13am

    My solution has always been la demi-baguette.

    “Une demi-baguette pas trop cuite, s’il vous plaît Madame!”

    Easy, no waste and cost effective/efficient when alone or when you’re the only one eating bread.


  • Cyndy
    June 20, 2011 12:37am

    I guess your blog settings top out at 100 comments, as there are only five showing of the 105 comments. Kind of like when the car odometer only went up to 99,999, then would roll over to zero. You really connected with this topic!

  • June 20, 2011 12:38am

    I don’t know what your problem is, David. In my student days in France, I had NO problem finishing off an entire baguette in one sitting for a weekend breakfast. Maybe it was the Normandy butter, or the jar of Confiture Bonne Maman aux Oranges Ameres liberally spread over it, but that baby went down with no problem. Besides, what about Le Stuffing Americain, or Le Bread Pudding? Must be something a used baguette is good for. Thanx for another great post.

  • June 20, 2011 1:16am

    My grandmother used the stale bread to make pain perdu. In fact the name pain perdu means bread that has gone stale – lost – perdu.

    My father would sometimes use it in bread soup – something a bit like onion soup with too may chunks of soggy stale bread. I can’t say I recommend this one.

    And many an old lady in France takes her stale bread to the park and feeds the birds…

  • June 20, 2011 3:18am

    Really think you need to get out more David……..!

  • June 20, 2011 3:54am

    David, you don’t know me. But it feels like I know you. Thank you for your hilarious insights! You make me laugh. I read The Sweet Life in Paris before visiting the city for the first time. I love your perspective and humor. Keep on writing!

  • Vidya
    June 20, 2011 4:06am

    Toast made from Harry’s or similar breads is like cardboard. It doesn’t even taste like bread! Pain perdu seems a pretty standard way of using up stale bread, though I’ve never been a huge fan of it. I know people who also throw it into their onion soup. Because it’s so stale the bread becomes pleasingly soft and chewy when it hits the soup, and adds a lot of texture. Or you could just toast it in the morning before spreading with jam. Funnily enough I always buy Italian or French bread, even though it gets stale so much faster than sliced bread. I eat so much of it that only the last few slices get stale, then I just grill them with olive oil and rub them with garlic and eat as an accompaniment to whatever else I’m eating. Impossible to gauge that it was once inedible.

  • Heather
    June 20, 2011 4:20am

    Oh your post made me laugh and cry at the same time. I desperately miss those left over bits of bread I would accrue in France. My favorite use was French toast or bread smeared with nutella for breakfast the next morning. If there was too much left over, it was stored in the freezer and then made into savory bread pudding. I now live in Hawaii. The sweet bread here does make a great French toast but I would do anything to have that collection of day old French bread again.

  • Carole Baker
    June 20, 2011 4:57am

    My solution is to use a food processor. Firstly to chop up fresh parsley, oregano or a mixture of herbs with a clove or not of garlic. Then add the chopped up bread with some salt and pepper. Pulse to breadcrumbs and then add a tablespoon of olive oil. Place in a ziplok bag or other airtight container and freeze until needed.

    I use these crumbs, straight from the freezer, to coat a croquette mixture of thick bechamel sauce with left over cheeses such as gruyere, cheddar and parmesan which I then gently fry in ghee or olive oil, delicious with a salad of bitter leaves. They are partiicularly good to coat salmon cakes and to sprinkle on top of a fish pie or a melange of half cooked vegetables, which have been bathed with oil and baked in the oven till crisp. These crumbs are virtuoulsy frugal and delicious.

  • June 20, 2011 6:31am
    David Lebovitz

    Heather: Some good friends of mine live in Hawaii and whenever they come to France, the first thing they want is crispy bread. They just can’t get enough of it (and meat). I guess the humidity there makes is hard for bread to maintain a good crust. Perhaps I should trade them for some kalua pork? ; )

    Cyndy: I have the comments set so after 100, it goes to another page so that the site loads faster for readers. My server doesn’t like me anymore so am looking for a faster solution – and I’ve asked my stylish web designer to come up with something a little spiffier to designate where the other pages of comments are.

    Frenchie&Yankee: I’m firmly against pas trop cuite (not too cooked) baguettes, since so many people order them that way, it’s become hard to find a crisp baguette ordinaire in Paris.

    (Although my take on that is that people want non-crisp baguettes because they’re tired of all the vacuuming up after dinner!)

    Steph: Yes, I love that book. I’ve made Brown Bread Ice Cream inspired by their recipe – although it doesn’t really work for baguettes…

  • Suzanne B
    June 20, 2011 6:59am

    I’d like to have this problem……..haha. I doubt that I would, if I lived in Paris. I’d be wearing that bread and butter on my hips for sure! My biggest downfall, is french bread ( as french as I can find here that is in San Diego) smeared with butter.

    However, when I have been invited out, and no room for bread after dinner elsewhere, I will make it into garlic bread and toss in the freezer. This also makes for a delicious pairing with leftover steak for a sandwich – but in my house these days – there is never much left over, certainly not steak or bread or even garlic bread.

    Fun subject!

  • June 20, 2011 7:47am


    I just made my first ice cream ever – your amazing peach! It was incredibly delicious!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    And thanks for sharing this story!
    All the best!

  • Kristen
    June 20, 2011 8:32am

    My solutions for leftover bread include croutons for salad, bread soup and bread pudding and its savory cousin, stradas.

  • June 20, 2011 8:54am

    Ah, the great leftover bread dilemma. A half baguette used to be a good solution, but now that I have kids, we really need about 3/4 of a baguette. Sometimes I freeze the bits, but I inevitably forget about them and they pile up. If only there was a leftover bread pick-up in Paris like for the “encombrants”…

  • June 20, 2011 9:09am

    We leave our baguette ends out to go hard, then give them to our schnauzer as a treat. It’s the only foodstuff she doesn’t manage to wolf down in a matter of milliseconds! Not sure if that says more about the bread or the dog…

  • eran
    June 20, 2011 10:05am

    Think of the bakers that have to (sometimes) throw away bread! or worst – viennoiserie! sadly, not anything can be “recycled” (croutons, bread for fondu, pain perdu).
    BTW, Appolonia Poilane has a new book about bread based recipes.

  • June 20, 2011 10:30am
    David Lebovitz

    eran: French bakeries feature “Bostock”, leftover brioche, sliced, and smeared with almond paste and baked. (I put a recipe in my book Ready for Dessert, since it’s one of my favorite things.)

    Bakeries also feature almond-filled croissants, which are leftover croissants filled with almond paste, dipped in syrup and re-baked. They’re incredibly good…but also a little dangerously so! : )

  • June 20, 2011 11:13am

    “what’s the point of living in France if you don’t eat French bread?” French kissing of course! ;) (or french fries- tough to choose between the 2 especially if bread is off the table)

  • Marlene
    June 20, 2011 11:40am

    I second Mel P.’s Semmelknödel idea. You don’t even need to freeze the bread, just make sure you slice it before it becomes rock hard. If your slices have become very dry just up the amount of milk until they are well hydrated.
    I personally don’t like the soggy outer layer of Semmelknödel cooked in water, that’s why I add an additional egg and bake the whole thing in a browny pan at 180°C.

  • Dianne
    June 20, 2011 11:41am

    I actually give our stale leftovers to my MIL’s donkeys. I mean, there’s day-old, and there’s Colorado stale, which you could beat your husband with. My bread often gets to the Colorado stale point, which turns into bread crumbs or goes to the animals. But, I would highly recommend Catalan pa amb tomaquet (pan con tomate) for day-old bread (or even 2 day old bread, depending).

    By the way, thank you so much for your blog. It helps me make sense of so many things that don’t here in France, food-related and not!

  • June 20, 2011 1:39pm

    David, I thought about this more last night.
    What you need is a “sac à pain en tissu” also known as a “huche à pain en tissu”. Basically, a cloth bread bag/bin. It keeps the bread fresh.
    Google it on Google France, you will find places to buy one.


  • June 20, 2011 3:09pm

    Good crusty “French Bread” is non-existent in Florida, it seems like people are happy eating the stuff that comes pre-sliced in a plastic bag. You know, the stuff that is so bland that mold doesn’t even like to grow on it. Once in a while when we find the time and resolve to we drive about 1.5 north to Ocala, where a small shop makes organic baguette. It is really good and through it may seem ridiculous for someone who can buy baguette in every corner, it is worth the trip! Anyhow, the point of my story is what they do with their left over bread. They turn it into bread pudding!!! All sorts of variations of it. From chocolate to blueberry and it comes with a delicious vanilla sauce. I hope they don’t ever come up with any other ideas for their left over bread. ;)

  • Gayle
    June 20, 2011 4:29pm

    My solution is the same as Carole Baker’s. I just whiz up any left over bits of bread, whether it’s brioche rolls, French bread or even good old hot dog rolls (I know, perish the thought! But you all know you need hot dog rolls when you get a craving for a hot dog. And there are always two more rolls in the pkg than there are hot dogs.) and keep a baggie in the freezer.

    In the cooler weather, I use them in meatballs and meatloaf. Lately I’ve been using them as the base for grilled, stuffed zucchini. Toss in some onion, garlic, parsley, Parmesan cheese and olive oil and stuff zucchini. Throw them on the grill and voila. A great, easy side for warmer weather.

  • Melissa
    June 20, 2011 5:00pm

    Am I dreaming when I have memories of the demie baguette on more than one solo trip to Paris ?

  • June 20, 2011 6:18pm

    You are absolutely right, why would you purchase bread from any place but a boulangerie? I only buy a demi-tradition and try not to finish it, but lately that has not been possible. If I have any leftover, I’ve been freezing it. I must tell you that I met a french tennis teacher from calif. when I was at a tenns tournament in Fl. I asked him if he missed baguettes and french bread,.i.t was a few minutes before he replied, but you could see the tears welling up in his eyes and his answer was yes! Thanks Milt

  • June 20, 2011 6:29pm

    This is why we have a dog. :) And she’s a bread snob, too–totally prefers baguettes to anything else. It’s the only thing that makes her drool.

  • Patricia Calef
    June 20, 2011 7:06pm

    “A baguette schedule”. Oh lord, I laughed so hard at that, one of my fellow coworkers came over to ask what was so funny.

  • June 20, 2011 9:51pm

    When I lived in France, we would put the leftover baguette pieces or halves into an airtight plastic. That way, if you have to resort to eating day-old baguette the next morning, it is free of mold and still very moist! If you just store it in a bread drawer or in paper, it dries quite quickly.

  • June 20, 2011 10:10pm

    People buy loaves of white store bread in Paris?! I thought you were only kidding in your last post (or so I had hoped). It’s been almost 8 months since my last trip to Paris and I’m still dreaming about the baguettes. If I ever moved to France that would be one of my top 5 reasons. I just don’t understand why the bread in North America tastes so different. People have mentioned that it might be the butter (which is also another reason why I would move), but I can’t seem to figure it out. Until I do (which I probably never will) I will continue to fantasize about them and shake my head at those that buy grocery store bread… doesn’t matter that it lasts longer.

  • June 20, 2011 10:14pm

    Hi… If you don’t know what to do with your stale baguette (on dit “pain dur” plutot que “pain rassis” chez nous), you can use it as “croutons” in salad or onion soup. You can also use it for the delicious “pain perdu” (“lost bread” literraly but French toast as you said) : dip your stale bread in mix of egg, milk and crème liquide then fry in butter and add sugar (cassonade, sugar cane)… delicious!

  • June 20, 2011 10:31pm

    @David Lebovitz : If you travel to Aix en Provence, visit “LE FARINOMAN FOU”, an exceptional baker with more than 30 artisan breads with drastic selection of flours

  • June 20, 2011 10:39pm

    You are so cute. Bonne chance with the living together experiment!

  • Stu B
    June 21, 2011 2:33am

    Rebolita….boil up a nice white bean soup with kale and whatever vegetables you find at your market, season it well, and when it’s done….chill it then on the next day, reheat it, hence the re-boiled name, tossing in the old dry bread which will thicken it as it reboils, and you have used up your bread and made a gourmet/peasant soup. Lv everything you write.

  • June 21, 2011 9:50am

    “screw up my balance”…:-) good one. Request permission to use it!!

  • Claire
    June 21, 2011 11:17am

    My European sized freezer is particularly lamented when it comes to leftover bread caused by eating out. I’ve attempted being a good Grazer girl by making Semmelknuedeln only to end up with balls of hideous stodge. Now I’m going to follow Merisi’s route.
    Congratulations and Best Wishes on your new domestic arrangement.

  • Celestin
    June 21, 2011 12:34pm

    When I buy bread for my roomies and I, I buy about one baguette per person… That’s about what we need for one day (breakfast+lunch+dinner).
    All you need is probably just to get used to the French “regime” :)

  • June 21, 2011 5:49pm

    This isn’t just a French crisis! There is so much good bread here in the Bay, and unlike the sliced stuff, it doesn’t stay fresh very long. We’re constantly trying to find ideas for what to do with the slightly stale baguette halves sitting on our counter. I’ll look forward to hearing more about your experiment!

  • Uta
    June 21, 2011 5:55pm

    Hi David,
    I love to read your blog but have never commented before. This time I have to: I have no problem with yesterdays bread because I looooove cheese dumplings. So I can just let dry the leftovers without feeling guilty. That are two ways to be happy in one: only fresh bread and delicious cheese dumplings on top. Hmmmm!

  • June 21, 2011 6:09pm

    There is no shame in freezing bread,especially if you live alone aannnd its good bread!

  • Sarah
    June 21, 2011 9:51pm

    If I’m eating alone, I slice the fresh baguette and immediately freeze what I won’t eat on that day and the day after. Then I use the frozen bread for grilling or bruscetta, and buy more fresh if I want it fresh. I also don’t eat very much bread, though, and buy a baguette at most once a week from the farmer’s market.

  • June 22, 2011 12:20am

    the stale bread crisis pairs nicely with the I-love-sausage-but-how-can-I-possible-justify-eating-it-everyday crisis. They come together in a lovely meal I like to call stuffing! A little carrot and celery to accompany the sausage and voila – a happy ending for stale bread and lonely sausage!

  • Ana
    June 22, 2011 4:43pm

    We have a really good solution for bread leftovers. We make açorda, by soaking bread in water to cover. Then we sqwezze it and fry it with a little olive oil and some garlic cloves. We eat this açorda with pork or we mix shrimps or shell fish in it and put lots of coriander leaves on top. You can also mix an egg in it but must not let it boil.
    By he way, I’m writing from Portugal.

  • Stacey
    June 23, 2011 5:51am

    French Toast, of course.

  • June 23, 2011 1:01pm

    First, I am going to presume that “eating few some” is a trick on French on the English brain. That happens to me, anyway.

    If you want to know what to do with stale bread, ask the Italians. Type into a search engine the term “ricetta pane raffermo” and you will find hundreds, thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of things we do with it. It sometimes seems we have little use for fresh bread.

    For right now invent a French version of panzanella. And no cooking or grilling of ingredients allowed!