Pam’s Corner: Bread Basket
Okay, so a trip to the food bank and in some cases a Mobile Food truck can wind you up with a huge amount of bread and the likes. So here come the tips and tricks.
Sweets: I am going to cover this first as I know there are many that don’t use/eat sweets for one reason or another and that is fine but try not to let then go to waste. Give them to a friend if you don’t use them but there is two things that are fairly easy to use with very few additional ingredients. Many times you will get cakes or cupcakes. Maybe you just really want to turn them into something else.
Cake Balls or Cake pops
First start by taking the icing off and set it to the side.
Crumble the cake, cupcakes maybe even muffins into a larger bowl you need room to crumble the cake. I would suggest just using clean hands or maybe gloves. Add a bit of frosting to the crumbled cake and continue to combine it shouldn’t be much to be able to roll it into a ball. You don’t need a scoop a tablespoon will work just fine. Set the balls on a greased plate or pan. I would also say you really don’t need the sticks, could opt for the larger pretzels or no stick at all. I would pop them in the freezer for a bit or longer if you don’t think you will use them quickly. Now back to the frosting that you saved earlier. You could just trash it or see if you can save it, most can be perked up with some powdered sugar, some cocoa powder (not chocolate milk powder or syrup) actual cocoa powder. Quite possibly an additional can of frosting or make some buttercream frosting. Use your imagination. If you use pre-existing frosting, you might consider using them a little more quickly, just dip in frosting, cocoa powder and powder, cinnamon sugar (depending on what you made the cake ball out of) and place on parchment, wax paper or foil. (keep in mind if you do like what you created but don’t eat sweets then maybe that sweet next door neighbor or a sick friend would be a great outlet).
You can use cakes and muffins baked in the oven til crunchy like croutons roll them out like you would graham crackers add some butter then press into a baking pan cook it about 10 minutes then add desired filling.
Bread pudding can be made from most sliced bread, I wouldn’t suggest rye or onion though. Donuts any style croissants sometimes even those little tart bites we might get. Cut into bite sized pieces (knife, scissors or even just torn) and place in any pan you choose. Now again I will not add a recipe because bread pudding is as versatile as you want, check the web you will find many, many different styles though most will call for eggs, milk or cream, butter and a choice of spices. I have even seen chocolate powder in the liquid base. You might also want to consider adding apples, peaches, banana slices, berries, chocolate chips, pecans, walnuts, peanuts, pistachios or even almonds. Again, use your imagination here as well. A little powdered sugar and cream or milk combined with any or none of the above can make a nice topping.
Well that covers the things on sweet treats I can share with you and things I have done.
Now we will cover non-sweet uses of breads
As we know you can end up with almost any amount of breads, you may or may not have a choice of what you get at any given time
What’s that you don’t eat bread?
Well, we have a decent selection of what you can do with 1,2,3,4,5,6 or more loaves of bread
Use 1 Share with a neighbor, friends or family.
Use 2 some of the bread is well not quite usable and yes it happens some things slip through. In my area there are pigs, chickens and the like. In my case the neighbors have chickens, I trade veggie scraps (peel ends and such), bread and sometimes crackers. I get eggs for trade at times, and they get their feed bill cut down a bit.
Use 3 Croutons, Salads, soup toppers, homemade dressing/stuffing (side dish for meals or large side dish for holidays) Cut/cube all the available breads. Season accordingly or not at all your choice (yes I know some in the south only use cornbread for dressing but there is such a thing as bread dressing, I grew up with a german grandmother maybe why I am more aware of this one.) This can also be accomplished by toasting the bread and breaking it up for sliced bread. But don’t attempt a french loaf or like loaves that can be a nightmare (just know I know this from experience) Once cut you can set the oven to a bake temp and turn about every 30 minutes till rather crunchy. Remove, cool and bag Other choice would be overnight in a warm oven. During winter this is my preferred method. I have gas cooking and it is easier to keep the area warm without turning on the heater.
Use 4 Breadcrumbs, basically the same method of preparing the bread, Maybe cut a little bigger so it is more toasted than hardened. For this any bread would make rye, onion (not sweet breads) once you can crush them, if you have a rolling pin go for it. If you are like me, I just use a can or a dowel rod, or even a food processor if you have one. Yes, this IS time consuming to get the kids to help. But it is saving you likely needed money for other things you can’t get through the food bank. As with the croutons when sufficiently pummeled bag or put in airtight container. These can be used as a coating for chicken, pork chops, eggplant or filler for meat loaf, beef or any ground meat you use for patties or loafs.
Use 5 When I get a lot of french bread, I also precut and butter or garlic butter each slice the bag. I try to use some of the bags the loaves come in as they tend to hold the slices together better. Pop them in the freezer for the next spaghetti/pasta night.
Use 6 This one is probably iffy for some people but since I feed 1 teen boy and 2 preteen boys I find this beyond helpful school mornings. Stale french bread can make excellent french toast. Slice in 1 inch slices, dip in egg mixture, a little water or milk cinnamon or your preferred spice, I like nutmeg and vanilla as well. Toss into a buttered pan and fry till done, I bag these two per sandwich bag once cooled and then frozen. You can toss in some berries or fruit, maybe a bit of syrup before freezing. Take them out the night before and pop them in the microwave for breakfast.
Well enough information for you to ponder for this segment. Who knows what I will tackle next.