I don’t know anyone who actually enjoys eating the ends of a loaf of bread. If a freshly baked baguette is on the table, there may be one or two people who find pleasure in the heels, but when it comes to sandwich bread, ends are always passed over. Still, as someone who really dislikes waste (just ask me about my paper problem), I knew I needed to find a transcendent use for those very brown and thin little nubs.
Like a squirrel, I started stockpiling them in a freezer-safe, gallon-size bag.
Sure you could make breadcrumbs, or quickly microwave and defrost for feeding the ducks, but that didn’t quite satisfy my quest to truly repurpose them.
I waited and waited, and when my store was quite full (about 25 slices), it was time for my favorite breakfast.
Baked french toast.
I tore each piece in half and layered them like shingles in a baking dish.
Whisking together a rich cream of eggs, milk, eggnog, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon, those dry little bread slices couldn’t wait to soak it up.
I wiggled the little toasts down into their custard bath and gave them a final send off of more sugar and nutmeg sprinkled on top.
As they bake, they soak up the rich eggy custard and when they are ready to leave the oven you will see perfectly crisp top edges and a creamy, bread-pudding-like middle.
A dusting with powdered sugar won’t hurt anything at this point. This of course must be followed by a judicious drizzle of pure maple syrup.
You can use any french toast casserole recipe you like, really. Two of my favorites are:
Eggnog Overnight French Toast (I was too impatient to wait overnight, and it turned out just fine).
Baked French Toast Casserole (a real indulgence, because: Paula Deen)
These recipes require a 13×9 pan full of bread, so I recommend you store up roughly 30 bread ends. If you can’t wait that long, it is pretty easy to roughly scale these kinds of recipes without risk.
*Tip* If you are taking your bread directly from the freezer, just pop the dish of layered slices in the preheated oven for 3 to 4 minutes to toast lightly. Then add your custard mixture.