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Making day-old bread sexy: crunchy bread chips

June 23, 2011
tags: ,

I’m glad I’m not the only one who has a bread crisis. Anyone who bakes their own crusty bread will know what I mean. Crusty breads last for about 12 hours (and they are amaaazing during those 12 hours), then turn into a dry, hard lump. Ever since I stopped buying bread, this has been a bit of an issue with me. Even sandwich breads are a bit…meh…after two days, but I can toast it up and gobble it down easily enough. The taste and texture of fresh crusty bread is worth it, but how on earth can I make unexpected leftovers something delicious, that I actually look forward to eating? Especially the grainy breads, which are too strong for a panzanella, and too hard even for french toast or bread pudding?

The answer came in the form of a gravlax taster at Holy Smoke (which I highly recommend, just btw), which was served with thin crispy toasts, basically bread chips. They were so yummy I figured I’d try to recreate them at home. My loaf, being grainy and containing no added fat, would turn out much crunchier, especially since I brushed the oil on rather than soaking the bread in oil. They are excellent, super crunchy crackers. I liked them best dunked in soup though (or stew), as the hard crunch mellowed a bit yet also provided something with bite (important for anything liquidy). You can also vary the flavourings – I did a crushed garlic/half butter/half oil sort of thing, with a little added salt and pepper. I used up all the toasts before I could get onto my spiced butter, but that’s an option too (this is where you can use curry powder). Rosemary and thyme would be lovely too.

You could also make these with fresh bread, but it’s actually much easier to cut even slices when the bread is quite dry and hard. You will need a very sharp chef’s knife for this – don’t bother with a bread knife, you’ll end up in tears before you get your first slice! Softer loaves that have dried up a bit will also work, these will be a bit crispier rather than providing an intense crunch.

Bread chippies

Slice some day-old crusty bread as thin as you can (around 3mm) with a sharp chef’s knife. Preheat oven to 180C.

Brush both sides of each slice with oil, or a butter/oil mixture. You can flavour the oil/butter with some salt, a few cloves of crushed garlic, herbs, spices, whatever takes your fancy. If you’re using white bread you could make sweet variations too. Just wash your pastry brush after each different flavour batch!

Place slices in a single layer on a baking tray or roasting tray (largest you can). You can put 2 trays in the oven at a time. Bake for about 10 minutes until the inner edges start going golden brown. Cool completely on a rack, and store in an airtight container.

If the next day they are not as crunchy, reheat them in the oven for five minutes to crispen them up again.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. June 23, 2011 3:26 pm

    I am happy to find someone who doesn’t trow away bread!

    I find bread in NZ quite soft for my taste so I don’t mind when a nice loaf gets a day or two old and hard, but I do make these crispy slices too very often with leftover baguette, because that doesn’t taste good the day after! My kids love it, I just brush olive oil and add a little salt, they could eat it by the tray, and prefer it to biscuits.

    ciao
    A.

  2. June 24, 2011 8:07 am

    I like it! I know what you mean about homemade grainy bread – it’s just not as versatile as white bread which I can save for meatballs, or bread and butter pudding, or whatever.
    Although my faaavourite thing for leftover bread is mouse-traps in the left-over heat of an oven, with marmite and cheese ;)

  3. June 25, 2011 4:18 pm

    I’m like Alessandra, I don’t really like soft bread, 8 years in Germany has made me like my bread to weigh a ton :0) great idea for the soft bread and better than crackers.

  4. June 25, 2011 5:25 pm

    I tend to turn even grainy breads into bread crumbs. This sounds far tastier.

  5. June 25, 2011 5:59 pm

    A: Mm, white bread always turns out better – all crispy and light.

    H: Also sometimes at day three it’s so hard I can’t even process it into crumbs :( I’ve never had mouse traps before…would have to be very sparing with the marmite, wish I was more of a fan of it since the stuff is especially healthy for vegetarians.

    A: Ah yes, but it’s also delicious, that helps!

    R: Well the tastiness depends what the breadcrumbs are being used for! Unfortunately lots of my bread gets to hard to process into smallish crumbs, but the bigger ones would be good in pasta with garlic and nuts/cheese.

  6. June 26, 2011 4:26 pm

    What a great idea. Homemade bread only lasts a few days (no icky preservatives!) so I will have to do this next time around!

  7. July 2, 2011 6:52 pm

    Love it! What a great use of old bread…love having something crunchy to snack on & these are perfect :)

  8. July 4, 2011 3:16 pm

    T: Hope you enjoy them:)

    M: I feel so much healthier eating these compared to potato chips as well!

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