What do you do with a baguette

Ever noticed that baguettes go from crisp and chewy to rock-hard in a matter of hours? Of course you have. You probably enjoyed half a baguette with dinner last night, only to find it as hard as a baseball bat on the countertop this morning.

But if you think there's no hope for that baguette, you're wrong. There's plenty you can do with the remains:

Make a killer panzanella

This Italian bread salad is popular for good reasonthe tomato juices and vinaigrette soak into the stale, toasted bread, infusing it with some serious flavor.

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Photo by Gentl & Hyers
Green Panzanella with Pickled Shallot

Green Panzanella with Pickled Shallot

Michael Anthony
Bon Appétit

DIY those breadcrumbs

Homemade breadcrumbs are a good cook's secret weapon. They're infinitely better than the store-bought stuff and can be stored in the freezer, untoasted, to be ready at a moments noticed. Use them untoasted to bread cutlets and fish, or toast them to sprinkle over pasta and roasted vegetables.

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Zach DeSart
Toasted Breadcrumbs

Toasted Breadcrumbs

The Bon Appétit Test Kitchen
Bon Appétit

Make some meatballs

Stale bread is essential in any solid meatball recipe. Tear up the baguette, soak it in milk to soften it, and add it to the ground meat and seasonings.

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Photo by Chelsea Kyle, food styling by Rhoda Boone

Our Favorite Spaghetti and Meatballs

Rhoda Boone

Croutons!

Cut off the crust, slice the bread into bite-size pieces, toast, and toss them into any and every salad and soup.

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Gentl & Hyers
Raw Mustard Greens Salad with Gruyère and Anchovy Croutons

Raw Mustard Greens Salad with Gruyère and Anchovy Croutons

Melissa Clark
Bon Appétit

Add eggs and vegetables, bake, and call it strata

This is basically an excuse to invite friends over, pour mimosas, and eat brunch.

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Kana Okada
Bell Pepper and Goat Cheese Strata

Bell Pepper and Goat Cheese Strata

Zoe Singer
Self

Or Go Sweet and Bake a bread pudding

Swap out the vegetables for cinnamon and sugar and you've got dessert.

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Jason Wyche
Favorite Bread and Butter Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

Favorite Bread and Butter Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

Jean Anderson

Slice it into crostini

How to make the ultimate cocktail snack: Slice a stale baguette into thin rounds, toast, and pile with your topping of choice.

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Diana Yen, food and prop styling by Diana Yen
Blue Cheese, Apple, and Sage-Honey Crostini

Blue Cheese, Apple, and Sage-Honey Crostini

Diana Yen

Use it to Thicken soup

Take a hint from traditional Italian soups like ribollita and tomato-heavy pappa al pomodoro, which use torn, toasted bread as a thickening agent.

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Photo by Christina Holmes
Pappa al Pomodoro

Pappa al Pomodoro

Bon Appétit

Let it soak up all the juices from a roast chicken

Nestle cubes of the stale baguette around your chicken as it roasts. The bread with soak up all the delicious pan drippings, creating a hacked stuffing of sorts.

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Eva Kolenko food styling: Rebecca Jurkevich, prop styling: Kalen Kaminski
Skillet Roast Chicken with Fennel, Parsnips, and Scallions

Skillet Roast Chicken with Fennel, Parsnips, and Scallions

Dawn PerryClaire Saffitz
Bon Appétit

Or soak up the broth of french onion soup

Stale slices were pretty much born for thiswhen placed on top of the soup, piled high with cheese, and broiled, you'll completely forget that the baguette wasn't at its best.

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Photo by Charles Masters, food styling by Sue Li

Our Favorite French Onion Soup

Rhoda Boone

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