Before I started making my own bread, I occasionally bought bread from artisan bakeries such as Poîlane, Pain Quotidienne, and Paul. But due to my usually low budget, this was always more as a treat, or when I was feeling extravagant. Of course good bread shouldn’t be a luxury, nor be an extravagant buy. Mostly though, I bought bread from the local supermarket, which, even though baked in the store, just isn’t that nice and always reminded me of cardboard (and as you can see, I have cardboard eating experience).
Unsurprisingly, I did not eat very much bread and often would be left with half a loaf gone stale that would turn totally dry and brittle within a couple of days. I did not want to throw those leftovers away, so I took frequent walks to Battersea Park and fed them to the birds. But if it is good bread, no one need fear of ending up with fat ducks, as there are countless ways to make it into a great meal, and using it in soups is one such way.
Where I come from in Bavaria people make a very simple, but very tasty, bread soup. It used to be a poor man’s meal, but these days it can be found on the menu of high-end restaurants. First, fry some sliced onions in butter or oil until lightly browned. Cut some stale bread into little pieces and place into a bowl. Any type of bread is fine, although sourdough bread is especially good for this. Add the onions and some chopped fresh herbs of your choice (e.g. parsley, dill, coriander, chives), and cover with boiling hot broth (I’m vegetarian, so I use vegetable broth; “traditionally” meat broth is used, or even just plain old water), and season to taste with salt and pepper. Mahlzeit!