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by Lauren Bravo

Step away from the bin! Give leftover bread the send-off it deserves, by turning it into dessert.

Bread and butter pudding

Pure comfort in a bowl, the school dinner favourite has justly earned its place in the dessert hall of fame for being resourceful, filling and cheap.

However, with really great ingredients it can also be quite special – chocolate chunks, marmalade, spices and booze can all perk up the pudding nicely. Try using leftover panettone (if such a thing exists in your house) for a festive twist, or even stale sourdough for a distinctively chewy result.

Bread pudding

Not to be confused with its buttery cousin, bread pudding is a modest name for an even more luscious dessert. We know it best as those squidgy, sugar-topped slabs that have been found on bakery shelves for generations, heavy with fruit and impossible not to wolf down at the bus stop.

But almost every cuisine has its own version of the dish – Latin pudin pan is served with a hot caramel sauce, while Caribbean bread pudding is often made with coconut milk and doused in rum. So good, you’ll be willing the bread to go stale.

French toast

The earliest known reference to French toast dates back to the 4th or 5th century, but it’s had a revival in recent years thanks to our unending obsession with brunch.

Whether it’s going by its Gallic moniker or the much less glam ‘eggy bread’, this is a perfect quick fix for a stale loaf. Everyone has their favourite topping (I always had it with ketchup the morning after childhood sleepovers), but you can branch out with different breads too.

Try it with fruit bread, dusted with cinnamon and nutmeg and topped with fruit compote for a proper pudding. Walnut levain works fabulously with bananas and a drizzle of honey, and a two day-old Pugliese loaf is just begging to be turned into an ice cream sandwich.

Or you could go the whole hog and rustle up a Monte Cristo. Hog is the operative word though – it’s a sandwich filled with ham and cheese, dipped in batter and fried.

Treacle tart

They may have had to make do with powdered egg and hatboxes for birthday cakes, but that didn’t stop the home cooks of the 1940s baking up some of our best-loved puddings.

With a filling made from just stale breadcrumbs, golden syrup and lemon juice, treacle tart is a whole lot better than the sum of its parts – perfectly, stickily nostalgic. Sorry birds, you’ll have to go hungry.

About the author

The Flour Station grew out of the basement of Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Restaurant. We soon ran out of space and branched out to our own bakery premises. Not long after that, we set up our first stall at Borough Market and since then we’ve been baking our delicious sourdough breads for top notch café, delis and restaurants across London as well as our weekly market stalls. We’re firm believers in doing things the old fashioned slow way when it comes to making our breads. Each one has a natural yeast starter and the dough is given all the time it needs to develop its wonderful texture and flavour, which may mean the best part of a whole day. Once ready, the dough is divided and shaped by hand and baked in a stone based oven. This intricate process produces a sensational loaf with a good crust, a tasty crumb and a depth of flavour and texture unparalleled in conventional bread. We share our passion for real bread with top chefs and a loyal band of customers who return week after week to our market stalls. We draw inspiration from both when it comes to developing new breads, experimenting with new ingredients and new ideas as well as resurrecting forgotten classic British bakery favourites. Through this blog we hope to share with you the ups and downs, highs and lows, questions and answers that come our way whilst we continue to bake our lovely breads.

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