I don't often have a lot of stale bread around the house, but this week I happened to be in the supermarket when they were reducing sell-by-date loaves to 12p to clear them! I'm not a huge fan of defrosted bread, and besides I don't have a lot of space in my freezer at the moment, but none of that matters, because my favourite way of using up stale bread is, of course, cake-related . . .
450g stale bread
100g Demerara sugar
2tsp mixed spice
granulated sugar for topping
Tear the stale bread (crusts and all!) into roughly inch squared pieces, put them in a bowl and cover with cold water. Leave to soak for about an hour.
Preheat oven to 170C / 325F / Gas3
Grease a 8" square tin
Drain the bread and squeeze the excess water out. Don't worry too much about getting every last drop out, just do your best ~ I tip the whole lot into a sieve and squeeze handfuls as I transfer the bread back into the bowl. Add the sultanas, sugar, spice and eggs and give it a good mix to ensure the ingredients are evenly distributed. Add just enough milk to make a soft dropping consistency, then turn into your tin and bake for about an hour to an hour and a half.
Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes then turn out onto a rack to cool. Sprinkle generously with granulated sugar and serve cut into thick slabs, either warm with custard or cold with a nice cup of tea.
You can use any kind of bread for this. If you never have much bread left when your loaf is going stale, simply save the slices you do have in the freezer until you get the amount you need.