The problem with day-old pizza, Chinese food and other leftovers is you're pretty much stuck with the original. No matter how painstakingly you reheat it, it never tastes as good. Not so with bread. If you know a few tricks, you can transform it into something entirely different that's as good or sometimes even better than the original. Here are some ideas:2012-01-01
Make your own croutons: Cut bread into cube-shaped pieces, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and scatter on a baking sheet. Bake at 350°F until golden brown (about 10 minutes). Croutons made from Whole Grain, Honey Wheat and Stone-Milled Rye make wonderful salad toppings.
Create crostini: It's a fancy term for the miniature toasts used in bruschetta and French onion soup. To make your own, slice a day-old French Baguette into ¼-inch rounds, brush with oil or butter and brown on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven.
Cook perfect French toast: Soak thick slices of Cinnamon Raisin bread for a few minutes in a bowl with a mixture of milk and eggs. When you griddle the bread (about 4 to 5 minutes per side over medium-high heat), the insides will have the texture of rich custard.
Float bread boats: Leftover bread makes a perfect addition to fresh soup. When it's ready to serve, add a few small chunks. The bread will absorb the flavors and add a savory layer of texture. Try Sourdough with chicken soup or Tomato Basil with minestrone.
Craft crumbs: Take a few slices of leftover bread and pulse them in a food processor. Store in the freezer and add to dishes that need extra flavor or crunch. For instance, add crumbs from Panera's Three Cheese or Asiago Cheese breads to a meatball recipe. Or scatter crumbs made from Tomato Basil bread atop macaroni and cheese and bake until crunchy brown.