Making use of stale bread is easy—people have been developing ways to do this for centuries—but it can get a little boring if all that occurs to you is bread pudding or French toast. If you have a food processor, one of the easiest things to do is make bread crumbs.
While the bread is still only slightly stale, tear or cut it into pieces about the size of an apricot or (if it’s sliced) a piece of beef jerky. Keep it on the counter in a paper bag for few more days until it’s completely dry, then whirl up the pieces in a food processor until they’re no larger than one-quarter inch; some might be as small as a grain of sand. If you don’t have a food processor, place the bread in a plastic bag and crush it with a rolling pin; the crumbs will be a little more coarse but still usable interchangeably in recipes. Freeze these crumbs in labeled freezer bags where they will keep seemingly forever and use in recipes like cassoulet or meatballs, or sprinkle them on soups or salads in place of croutons.
Jill Lightner is the author of Scraps, Peels, and Stems: Recipes and Tips for Rethinking Food Waste at Home (Skipstone, October 2018).