Don’t waste a failed bread recipe. Transform it in these 4 ways.

It’s easy to save a little money if you are willing to look at something with new eyes.

Take, for instance, when you’re trying to bake bread or a pastry.

I’m more of a cook than a baker, so a lot of my attempts at baking have ended with a something stale and hard. But I feel like I’m dumping greenbacks into the garbage can if I throw away my bricks of bread. Instead, I transform it into something new.

Here are four ways you can save bad bread:

Bread pudding with a bourbon-spiked glaze.
  1. Bread pudding. My mom made my dad a Sock-It-To-Me Cake, but she forgot the sour cream, a key ingredient. She was about to throw the whole cake away and make another. I rescued the cake and used it as the base of a bread pudding. Though I came up with a bread pudding based on several recipes, it was very similar to this Kentucky recipe.
  2. Stuffing. I don’t want to talk about the time I tried to make biscuits. It was a disaster. But I got some good stuffing from it, so everyone was a winner.
  3. Croutons. If you have some stale bread, or a really bad hunk of a loaf that just didn’t quite turn into the bread you wanted it to be, slice it into squares, toss with some olive oil and Italian seasoning, and bake for about 10 minutes or until crunchy. Thank me later.
  4. French toast. When I was a kid, I remember watching an episode of The Babysitters’ Club in which a kid spilled some milk on the counter. A teenage boy trying out to be in the club cracked an egg on top of the milk, dipped some slices of bread in the mess, and fried it on a griddle. That kid was on to something. This is perfect for that half loaf of bread you didn’t get to fast enough.

 

What do you do with bad bread?

Do you love bagels? Baby D’s will feed your need for this bread

That bagel at Panera Bread with the mound of brown sugar on top made me a convert to the joy of a thick bagel for breakfast.

Now I’m itching to try Baby D’s Bagel and Deli to see what a local restaurant can do with a bagel.

Baby D’s is in the Highlands and serves an extensive menu of (you guessed it) bagel sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even fourth meal. Here’s what you’ll learn from a quick glance at the menu:

  • 14 types of bagels
  • At least 30 types of sandwiches with names like the Rick Pitino, Hangover Cure and Young Cheezy
  • Heine Brothers’ coffee
  • Late-night weekend hours
  • All sandwiches less than $10

That Panera bagel may have turned me out to bagels, but I think Baby D’s will feed my new love for this breakfast bread.

Baby D’s Bagel and Deli

2009 Highland Ave., Louisville, Ky. 40204

babydsdeli.com

When life gives you hard biscuits, make some hearty stuffing

During the weekend, I had some flour, butter and a lot of time on my hands.

This meant that I had to try the fluffy biscuit recipe from one of my Pinterest boards.

Two hours later, I was left with a double sink full of dough-covered dishes and some dense biscuits.

An accurate depiction of the consistency of my biscuits. Photo courtesy Straaf via Flickr.

I hated to waste food, especially a dozen biscuits that took used three cups of flour and a stick of butter. I considered giving them to Roscoe, but he said he was watching his cholesterol.

Then, I remembered what someone once told me about bad cornbread — a terrible batch can be the base for a great stuffing dish.

I applied that cornbread reasoning to my biscuits. I found a recipe in the Kentucky Fresh Cookbook for a basic stuffing (or dressing, whatever you grew up calling it) and substituted the biscuits for the stale bread. The biscuits, which could have doubled as paper weights, transformed into this:

Stuffing or dressing? I just call it "good."

Don’t give up on a bad dish because it didn’t turn out the way you wanted. Just improvise — and be willing to make a mess.

I found the perfect banana bread recipe, and it includes Nutella

I muddled two banana bread loaves before I hit perfection.

I blame the recipes, both ripped from the women’s lifestyle magazines to which my mother and I subscribe (don’t judge me, they’re awesome). Both loaves were dense and dry, more suitable for home insulation than human consumption. I even tried to salvage one loaf by cutting it into pieces and re-baking them as banana nut bread croutons. It was bad. Real bad.

But Twitter handed me a gift one day in the form of Nutella Swirl Banana Bread.

A link to the following recipe appeared in my timeline, and it sounded like perfection. Bananas? My favorite fruit. Nutella? My favorite chocolate-y spread. The option to make banana bread muffins instead of a loaf? Count me in.

The muffins were fantastic. I prefer the muffins to a loaf because of a shorter baking time and the portability of a muffin. The Nutella adds a new flavor to a traditional recipe along with keeping the muffins moist. I recommend eating them slightly warm so the Nutella is still a little gooey.

Nutella swirl banana bread - in muffin form. HECK YES.

Nutella Swirl Banana Bread Muffins

Recipe courtesy of Babble.com 

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed very ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup plain, low-fat yogurt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • One cup all-purpose flour
  • One cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Nutella (or to taste)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray 12 muffin tins with non-stick spray or fill with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until well combined – the mixture will have the consistency of wet sand.
  3. Add the banana, eggs, yogurt and vanilla and beat until well blended. Don’t worry about getting all the lumps of banana out.
  4. Add the flour, baking soda and salt and gently stir with a spatula just until combined. If you are adding nuts or other optional ingredients, throw them in before the batter is completely blended.
  5. Fill each muffin tin about a third full with the batter. Top with a spoonful of Nutella, and cover with a heaping spoonful of batter.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops are golden and springy to the touch.
  7. Enjoy with a glass of milk. Trust me, these muffins and milk belong together.