Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Throw Away the Bread Heel

I'll be the first to admit that the end piece of a loaf of bread is my absolute favorite part. When my family and I sit down for a family dinner, they know who pass the bread heel to. Well, for some, the end slices or the end of a loaf of bread can be something just to toss out because they're not as soft and enjoyable as a middle slice but trust me, don't neglect those bread heels.

What Do You Call the End of the Bread? 

According to our readers, the end of the piece of bread has numerous names including knobby, knobby end, knob end, nobbly, knobbler, norbert, doormat, topper, nut end, noggie, noggin, ender, crust, butt, outsider, tush, doorstep, bumper, healie, nub, bum, bum end, knocker and the heel. 

Whether it's the crusty end of a French baguette or sourdough or soft white bread or Italian bread, those leftover heels can do so much in the kitchen. Store them in the freezer if you know you won't use them right away or simply keep them out at room temperature if you know you'll use them throughout the week. Check out our list of interesting ways to use those not so loved bread heels.

1. Make Breadcrumbs

If you have a ton of leftover heels in the freezer, toast them in the oven first, grind them up in a food processor to make homemade breadcrumbs. You can keep them plain or add some spices and dried herbs for extra flavor.

2. Use an End Piece to Soak Up Bacon Grease

If you're not planning on using the bacon grease, use the bread heel to soak up the grease. This also works if your cooking hamburgers or meatballs. Who doesn't love easy cleanup?

3. Make Meatballs and Meatloaf Tender

My family is Italian and a tradition of ours every Sunday is to start a red sauce right after church and make homemade meatballs. Our secret ingredient: the bread heel (usually one slice per pound of meat). We take the end slice of the bread loaf and soak it in a little milk or water until it's soft before we mix in the rest of the ingredients.

It makes for the most incredibly tender meatballs and it uses up the heels. This trick also works for meatloaf.

4. Make French Toast

If you have a pile of leftover heels, they're perfect for French Toast. Dip them in a sweetened egg batter and pan fry until golden brown.

The end slices also hold up better when making a French toast casserole.

5. Use a Slice to Keep Brown Sugar Soft

Brown sugar is one of the best ingredients, but when it hardens, it can be a nightmare to work with. Simply keep an end slice of white bread or whole wheat bread in your container of brown sugar and let it work its magic.

You'll be saying goodbye to rock-solid brown sugar for good!

6. Keep Cookies Soft

I think we're all on the same page here- fresh baked cookies are best. The same exact method mentioned above works for keeping cookies fresh, too.

7. Make Bread Pudding

The heel of the bread tends to be sturdier so they hold up well with any sweet or savory bread pudding recipe. It'll also feel great to break out that stash in the freezer and turn it into something delicious.

8. Thicken a Soup or Stew

Those crusty ends, no matter what type of bread you have, make perfect thickeners for soups and stews. Just throw in a slice or two to your next batch.

9. Make Croutons

Slice the bread heels into cubes, toss them with some melted butter or olive oil, dried herbs, and Parmesan cheese and dry them out in the oven (about 300 degrees Fahrenheit) for homemade croutons. Add them to a salad, soup, or eat them for a crunchy snack.

10. Save them for Thanksgiving Stuffing

You can't have a Thanksgiving feast without stuffing. Save your pile of leftover heels in the freezer until Thanksgiving roles around for one of the best side dishes.

Watch: What are Bacon Bits?