10 Wartime Stale Bread Recipes to Save Food from the Bin and Feed Your Family!

Don’t you dare throw that stale bread ( or breadcrumbs ) away and join the CoronaVirus panic buying throngs who are now discarding all their rotting ‘fresh’ produce. Bread is one of the foods I’m seeing a lot of photos of in dustbins. SAVE IT NOW from the mouth of the hungry metal monster due to take it away on ‘bin-day’ by cooking some of these delicious wartime recipes (mostly puddings). They’ll keep in the fridge for days once baked, and in the freezer for months!

I’d like to apologise in advance for the ‘amazing photography’ from 10 years ago (British sarcasm) in several of the recipes below, it was in the early days of the blog which started in 2009, when I was flat broke and REALLY struggling. I think most of my photos were taken on an old flip video camera but I like to keep them to remember my journey and it’s various challenges.

Stay calm, stay safe, stay home,

C xxxx

Padded Pudding with Mock Cream: Watch the video above. The stale bread mixed with milk and cooked with jam looks like poo. I felt like Letita Cropley carrying out one of her great culinary experiments with strange ingredients. It actually tasted great! A good life lesson, don’t judge something or someone on how it/they look, chances are they will taste surprisingly delicious… just sayin’! Click here for recipe.

Plum Charlotte: Here’s a super-frugal wartime recipe made out of stale bread and fruit that’s going a little soft. As I had two of these things in my kitchen and I’m always finding ways to make ends meet, when I saw this recipe I knew it was just what I needed.
Click here for recipe.

Bread and Butter Pudding: In Marguerite Patten’s “Victory Cookbook” there is always one pudding recipe that is an absolute ‘go-to’ when one needs comforting and one has spare eggs. All becomes good in the world when you take that first spoonful of sugary topped, eggy, bready, sultana sprinkled, nutmeggy deliciousness, especially if served with a little hot custard if you can overlook the fact that it looks like cockroaches are climbing all over my food in the photograph… Click here for recipe.

Duke Pudding: How can stale bread and grated old carrots possibly be decadent? Trust me they are when you make them into a wartime “Duke Pudding”… Seeing the rapidly drying bread on my countertop and the carrots beginning to get spotty in the fridge, it was time once again to turn nothing into something in true 1940s home-front style and create a truly delicious alternative comfort food, much needed today of all days. Excuse the photography, it was 8 years ago and I hadn’t a clue! Click here for recipe.

Danish Apple pudding: Possibly one of the WORST food photos I have taken in my life from 10 years ago. It’s blurred and I’m not sure what I took the photo with. It could have something other than a camera because I probably didn’t have one.. Don’t let the brown blurry blob put you off. I remember this pudding was fab! I need to re-create and re-photograph! Click here for recipe.

Bread and Apple Pudding:For pudding the request was for ‘bread pudding’ yet again. To avoid this wartime pudding permanently being referred to as “bread-pudding-yet-again” I turned to a large bowl of sorry looking apples for divine inspiration- after-all Sir Isaac Newton stared at apples for an awfully long time before being rewarded with an answer… Click here for recipe.

Bread and Prune Pudding: You know that can of stewed prunes that has been languishing in your larder for several years, that you don’t want to throw away because you have inherited your grandmother’s and possibly mother’s innate ability to have everything stored away for a ‘rainy day’, WELL, you are about to use it and it’s gonna taste pretty damn good! Click here for recipe.

Brown Betty: It was unusual to make bread pudding without raisins in, Brown Betty has none, no eggs or milk either which makes me think all bread puddings could indeed be made eggless. Instead, it has water, the juice, and zest of a lemon and a generous quantity of golden syrup, spices, two grated apples, a little sugar and of course LOTS of stale bread! Click here for recipe.

Bread Pudding: I re-created this recipe about 12 years ago. This wartime recipe is easy-peasy and tasty. And of course it all in the custard too. Click here for recipe.

Bread Stuffing: And finally a recipe made from stale bread that isn’t a pudding and doesn’t look like a formless brown blob. Bread stuffing is so easy to make! This photo is from about 12 years ago, my pre-vegetarian days! Click here for recipe.

28 thoughts on “10 Wartime Stale Bread Recipes to Save Food from the Bin and Feed Your Family!

  1. Hi Carolyn. I have a recipe that uses stale bread crumbs dusted around a greased quiche dish. No need for flour, fat or calories, and uses up stale bread. I also put stale bread dipped (not soaked) in water then in the oven to refresh it. Spread liberally with garlic butter wrap in foil and heat in the oven. And don’t forget to use it in your soup as croutons. All the best to you wherever you are. From expat Sue in Adelaide Australia. XXX

    • To ‘refresh’ stale bread products.
      If you wrap stale rolls or bread in a ‘just damp’ clean tea towel then microwave for about 15-20 seconds in the microwave it will do the same job of refreshing without the need to heat an oven up – saves power.

  2. Pingback: Pandemic Cooking: Lentils, Rice & Onions, Apple Pudding | teacupofwater

  3. You can make a great steamed pudding using stale breadcrumbs (of any kind or colour) here’s a recipe:
    Basic Steamed Pudding
    1 cup milk
    1 cup yogurt
    1 cup fresh or dried breadcrumbs
    1 tsp mixed spices
    2 tbl soft dark brown sugar
    2 eggs
    1 cup self raising flour
    Extras, for preference choose ½ cup of one of the following or a mixture :
    chopped dried fruits, nuts, chocolate drops, etc
    Put the first 5 ingredients in a bowl and allow to soak for about an hour.
    Preheat your oven to 170°c and grease your pudding bowl/steamer, then half fill the slow cooker with hot (not boiling) water.
    Whisk the eggs and sugar together then mix with the wet mixture. Fold in the flour then fold in the extras. Pour the batter into the prepared bowl/steamer, put the lid on and lower it into the slow cooker, do not allow the ‘bain-marie’ to come more than 2/3rds up the side of the bowl in the slow cooker, put the lid on the slow cooker. Cook on high for about 1 – 1 ½ hours, or on low for about 2 ½ – 3 hours. Do not allow the slow cooker to dry up to less than half way up the bowl/steamer. Skewer test. Before serving by inverting onto a large plate, serve with custard, cream or ice cream.

  4. Truffles can be made with breadcrumbs too, I like to use the really nutty brown or granary loaf for these. Really simple and simply delicious too.
    Granary breadcrumbs (or cake or biscuit crumbs)
    Condensed milk
    Any other flavours such as chopped dates, flax seeeds, crumbled flake bar, pine nuts, coconut etc can be added for flavour & texture.
    Mix well & make into balls, coat with one of the coatings below then chill before serving
    Melted chocolate
    Cocoa powder
    Drinking chocolate
    Coffee powder
    Chopped peanuts

  5. Use stale breadcrumbs as a sweet or savoury crumble topping for pies, hot pots & stews, here’s how to:

    For a sweet topping mix the breadcrumbs with spices, sugar and cold grated unsalted butter then you can sprinkle on top of the filling then add something else like chocolate drops, coconut, coffee powder, ovaltine podwer, etc – use your imagination.

    For a savoury topping mix the breadcrumbs with cheese, chillie flakes, dukkah or what ever will go well with your filling – use your imagination.

    • Brilliant idea. What a way to go through your pantry and find the last couple of tablespoons of crushed nuts, rolled oats, French onion soup etc and use them up.

  6. Stale breadcrumbs make great dumplings, light and tender, try this recipe next time you make stew, soup or a casserole.
    ¾ cup plain flour, plus more for dusting
    ½ cup dried bread crumbs
    1 tsp salt (or herbs, stock powder, etc)
    ½ cup boiling water, plus more as needed
    Pulse flour, breadcrumbs & salt in a food processor until combined. While running the blender slowly add boiling water; mix until a dough forms. Rest the dough then form into balls and add to your stew or soup about 15- 20 minutes (depending on size) before serving.

      • I never throw bread away. I let it dry, break it up, blitz it in the blender then store it in an airtight container in the fridge or bag it up and freeze it. Breadcrumbs are infinitely useful for coating patties, fish, fish cakes, sausage meat, rissoles, etc – as well as all the other yummy things I have added to the page. You must try the brown bread ice cream, the first time i tried it I couldn’t beleive anything could be so moreish – then I added the crushed chocolate flake – taste orgasm !

        The old favourite using breadcrumbs I remember from school lunches included Queen of Puddings & Treacle Tart – the old desserts are the best.

  7. This is my favourite ice cream, I’ll share the recipe with you all, do try it.
    Easy Brown Bread Ice Cream
    600 ml thick cream
    1 x 400g tin condensed milk
    1 cup ranary or brown breadcrumbs
    ½ cup soft brown sugar
    Toast the breadcrumbs in a dry frying pan then when they start to crisp throw in the sugar and it will melt and stick to the breadcrumbs like a caramel or toffee coating. Tip the mixture onto a tray and to cool right down and harden. Beat the cream to soft peaks with an electric mixer then gradually add the condensed milk till smooth and creamy. This is the time to add the prepared crumbs. I also like to add a crumbled chocolate flake too. Pour into a container and freeze. It’s a semi soft ice cream and it’s delicious.

  8. This is a frugal filler or a treat, depends how much you like them !
    Stale Bread Fritters
    1 cup granary or brown breadcrumbs
    ½ cup self raising flour
    ½ cup chilled soda water or beer (any carbonated drink can be used)
    For sweet
    1 tbl soft brown sugar
    Some dried fruit chocolate drops, nuts, coconut, etc – you choose.
    For savoury
    1 tp stock powder, or salt
    Herbs, fried onions, left over veggies, etc – whatever needs using up,
    Whisk the flour and liquid together, add the breadcrumbs and then what ever you are adding for the sweet or savoury fritters. Drop spoonfuls into hot dripping (for best flavour) or oil (if you prefer) till puffy crisp & golden. Drain well and enjoy.

    The savoury version can be served as a side dish with just about anything as a tummy filler or as a snack.
    The sweet version can be served as a dessert served with custard, cream or ice cream or again as a snack.

      • Hi Carolyn

        Recipes (like love) are made for sharing. You can copy, tweak or ignore anything I have posted to you on this great adventure of a “Back to the Future” to healthy frugal cooking, gardening, sewing, carafting, recycling, etc. We all need to ‘make do & mend’ to escape from the throw away wasteful way we live today. If I can help just let me know.

  9. Sausage meatballs, rissoles or filling for pies, pasties, bridies, samosas, spring rolls or whatever. Ingredients
    2 cups breadcrumbs
    1 egg
    1 tsp stock powder, or salt
    1 onion chopped finely and fried
    500g pork sausage meat
    Blend the egg salt or stock powder then mix with the breadcrumbs. If the mixture is too dry add a little water, it should be fairly moist then mix well with the sausage meat. Herbs are nice in this as are pine nuts or chopped salted peanuts. Add whatever you like before using as suggested.

    • Forgot to add that for the meatless cooks you can miss out the meat for the above filling for rissoles or filling for pies, pasties, bridies, samosas, spring rolls or whatever. Ingredients
      4 cups breadcrumbs
      1 egg
      1 tsp stock powder, or salt
      1 onion chopped finely and fried
      possibly a little water if too dry
      Blend the egg salt or stock powder then mix with the breadcrumbs. If the mixture is too dry add a little water, it should be fairly moist then mix well with the sausage meat. Herbs are nice in this, but feel fre to add whatever you like before using as suggested.
      The bridie with this filling is called Forfar bridie in Scotland but it sometimes has toasted oatmeal rather than breadcrumbs in the ingrediaents list, but only half the amount as above

    • Hi Carolyn

      Did you realise that if your search for breadcrumbs on your home page it does not connect to this frugal section ???

  10. These recipes all sound delicious! And vaguely familiar. Both of my grandmothers lived through WWI, The Depression, and WWII. Mum was born in 1921, so The Depression hit when she was 8 or so. Between the three of them, they could have fed half of London with a pound of minced beef and a handful of oatmeal! I’ll have to make a dish of bread pudding now. I haven’t had it in years and now I’m starving for it. Thanks so much!

  11. Hi thisendoftheswamp, my mum was also born in 1921, both she, her 4 sisters and mother were all frugal cooks – what choice did they have back then ?

  12. Pingback: Links List: Storing/Using up BREAD (updated 4/2021, see last link)

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