How to Never Waste a Baguette

As you will come to know, bread is really important to me. Sometimes, I work (hard) to think of a different starch to accompany whatever else I’m cooking, but bread gets worked into my day usually two or three times. I spent most of my childhood and adulthood near one of the best bakeries I’ve ever come across: Wheatfields, in Lawrence, KS. So for a long time, I have been convincing myself that really good bread from a local bakery is worth the money from time to time. I think it is because

  • it puts money back into the local economy directly, and often indirectly, because bakeries often source their wheat from a regional farm.
  • just GOING to a bakery is such a joyful experience, at least to me. The pastries and bread are so beautiful, it smells like yeast and flour, the customers are in a good mood because they’re about to eat something good, and the people working there have friendly, familiar faces. Bread Bakery, in Durango, has an open kitchen, so you can watch them kneading dough, and loading it into the ovens–an added thrill! Or maybe I’m just weird.
  • it is AWESOME. It tastes delicious, and crustier bread is better in some instances because it is sturdier. It doesn’t have preservatives or high fructose corn syrup, and often it doesn’t have any dairy in it.

So, I know that it is not the best thing to spend money on, but I still try to make it work.

My Tactic for Making Good Bread a Practical Option for M’self

{Baguettes and Ciabatta}

In Durango, you can buy day-old baguettes and ciabatta loaves at one of the local grocery stores. You could also try going to the bakery late in the day and see if they are selling them for a discounted price. Cut them into sandwich or toast size pieces, and put in the freezer. If you put them in right away, you can thaw them out and use them just as you would a new baguette. If they get slightly hard, put them in the freezer at that point, then thaw them out and use them for bread pudding or french toooooast! If the baguette turns to rock before you freeze it (be sure to check the whole thing, sometimes just the end is dried out, and the rest is still tender) keep it in your cupboard, then pound it into 1/2 inch cubes, coat with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and bake for a few minutes for homemade, awesome croutons.

{Other Loaves of Bread}

If I don’t have a plan to use a big hunk of the loaf right away, I ask the bakery to slice it, then store it in a plastic bag in the freezer, and take slices out and use them for sandwiches, toast, etc, as I do with baguettes. In fact all of those tactics I use for baguettes, I also use for other types of bread. But loaves usually last longer in the cupboard before drying out, so finding a way to use it or save it isn’t quite as urgent. If I don’t get it in the freezer, and it does dry out, I just save it for croutons.

And that’s about it. I’ve been freezing a lot of things since I started working as a VISTA–scones, cookies, herbs…and I have become pretty nerdy about it. But I do not like waste, especially food waste, so putting excess stuff in the freezer and knowing it will be there in a week when I don’t have anything else makes me feel like I always have a care package headed my way. It also makes leftovers, extra food at work, and bulk deals much more exciting!

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