Life of a Loaf: 8 Delicious Recipes That Use Bread at Every Stage
Tartine Bakery's Country Bread
At San Francisco's Tartine Bakery
, Chad Robertson makes a bread that's so good (and long-lasting), it's the basis for a week of dishes, from soup and salad to sandwiches and bread pudding. The following recipes are best when made with his signature country bread. But if you can’t wait to try them, use the best-quality store-bought sourdough you can find.
For the process demystified, check out the Step-by-Step Guide to Tartine Bakery's Country Bread.
Fresh Bread: Herb Vinaigrette
Professional bakers often frown upon eating bread before it cools and develops its flavors, but Robertson isn't immune to the joy of tearing into a fresh loaf and dunking it into the bakery's house vinaigrette with shallots and herbs. But he recognizes that eating the bread immediately -- as many of his customers likely do, unable to resist the overwhelming scent of fresh bread -- is just one of countless possibilities. "Bread made with a natural leaven keeps for a week," he says. "There's fresh bread with jam, open-faced sandwiches made with day-old slices, bread salads, bread pudding, French toast. A loaf of bread can feed you for a long time."
Fresh Bread: Eggs in Red-Wine Sauce
A loaf straight out of the oven has a crisp crust that shatters when cut, revealing a spongy interior. At this stage, the bread readily absorbs liquids, like the egg yolks and red-wine sauce in the classic French dish oeufs en meurette.
Day-Old Bread: Hearty Onion Soup Gratin
As a loaf ages, the flavors develop and the texture becomes chewier. This is the time to layer a piece with cheese and set it on top of rich, comforting onion soup.
Day-Old Bread: Warm Winter Bread Salad
Or make croutons and pair them with bitter greens, bacon, hazelnuts, and the aforementioned herb vinaigrette in a winter panzanella.
Day-Old Bread: Croque-Montagnarde
Another option is to use a slice of bread as the base of an open-faced sandwich like this next-level croque-monsieur, which adds smashed fingerling potatoes to the usual ham, Gruyere, and bechamel.
Week-Old Bread: Spinach-Nettle Omelet with Onion Soubise
Hardened bread can’t be eaten out of hand, but it can be toasted and turned into breadcrumbs, both sweet and savory. Here, they're folded into Robertson's riff on a traditional Sicilian omelet.
Week-Old Bread: Cinnamon Breadcrumb-Sprinkled Ice Cream
Try flavoring toasted breadcrumbs with fragrant cinnamon and scattering over your favorite ice cream.
Week-Old Bread: Cranberry-Maple Bread Pudding
A stale loaf is also ideal for bread pudding, because it’s firm enough to absorb custard without turning mushy. A cranberry-and-maple compote makes this version extra special.