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5 Italian Ways to Use Leftover Bread

5 Italian Ways to Use Leftover Bread

There's nothing quite like a fresh loaf of bread. (Just ask our bakers!) Yet, sometimes it's just not possible to finish the whole thing before it starts to get stale.

Luckily, we Italians have a long-standing history with finding creative ways to use leftover bread. Our frugral ancestors would waste nothing, a practice that can be traced back to war rationing. This ingenuity is particularly in true Toscana, where their unsalted bread goes stale quickly. Nevertheless, not a single crumb does unused!

So then how does that day-old loaf get used? Read on, amici!

ribollita tuscan vegetable soup

1. RIBOLLITA

A classc dish of la cucina povera (poor cooking), ribollita is a Tuscan vegatable soup made with various winter vegetables like kale, cabbage, and potatoes. It is thickened by the addition of day-old bread, giving it a hearty texture.

Try it out with our Ribollita recipe!

Crostini with ricotta, red onions, and hazelnuts at Eataly

2. CROSTINI

A quick and satisfying way to use up a day-old loaf is to make crostini. These crunchy slices of bread are great as an appetizer. All you have to do is toast a few slices, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil, and top with your favorite cheese, vegetables, or salumi.

Need some inspiration? We suggest starting with a classic tomato bruschetta.

bucatini al tonno tuna pasta

3. DIY BREADCRUMBS

Homemade breadcrumbs offer coarser texture and consistency thatn storebought kind. Here at Eataly we sprinkle them atop pasta, use them in our supplì rice croquettes, and coat meat in them before gently frying. To make your own breadcrumbs, simply slice your stale loaf and let them dry out completely (you could also toast them slightly in the oven). Then add to a food processor and grind until you have a consistency you like. Store in a sealed container in the fridge and you'll have crunchy breadcrumbs at the ready!

Canederli Trentini

4. CANEDERLI

A typical dish of Trentino, Canederli are large dumplings made with stale bread, milk, eggs, cheese, and other seasonings. The bread is soaked in milk for about an hour before all ingredients are mixed together, rolled into balls, and served in a knob of melted butter or broth.

Try our recipe for Canederli Trentini.

panzanella

5. PANZANELLA

Ah yes – who doesn't love a bread salad? A summertime favorite from Toscana, panzanella is made with cubes of day-old bread, thinly sliced onions, and tomatoes. Everything is toassed with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then left to soak up the juices for a few hours.

Get our Panzanella recipe!


Here at Eataly, we make fresh bread at our bakery counter everyday. Our bakers do their best to forecast the demand for each kind of loaf in order to minimize waste. Everything that doesn't get sold is donated to a local chairty that supports the hungry. Learn more about our Zero Waste Journey, then join the cause!