A few years ago, the NRDC published a report on the state of food waste in the U.S., concluding that we waste 25 percent of all the food grown in the U.S. each year at best, and 40 percent of all the food grown finds its way to the landfill instead of our stomachs at worst. These overwhelming statistics are why I really can’t stand it when I leave bread on the counter to dry out.But, we are all human, and with that comes error. Luckily, there are ways to salvage that too-dry loaf with a few simple tricks that will make it edible again in no time (and save you from the guilt of wasting food).
Add two inches of water to a pot with a steaming basket. Turn the stove to medium-high to begin generating steam. Place the slices of stale bread in the steamer basket and cover with a lid. Steam your bread for about 5 to 10 minutes or until soft. From there, you are ready to enjoy.
Wrap two slices of your dried out bread in a damp paper towel. Place the bread on a microwave safe plate, and heat for about 10 to 15 seconds. Your bread should be soft enough to eat.
Turn your loaf of bread into a soft, garlic bread. Using a serrated bread knife, slice the bread into half-inch slices about three-quarters of the way through the loaf, so the loaf remains in one piece. Spread the garlic butter or plain butter on each slice. Wrap the whole bread in tin foil. Bake in an oven at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes. Your bread should be warm, soft, and buttery.
If your bread is too far gone, check out this recipe for croutons. You can use this method for making croutons for your dinner or lunch salad with everything from sourdough to cornbread.
Angela Carlos is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Find her on Twitter and tweet @angelaccarlos.