A recipe that has been around for a quite a while, is that of bread soup. It was an easy way to make old bread last and still feed your family. Bread, when stale, could be used to make many things, like dried bread crumbs for cooking, a type of crackers, puddings and soup.
The image below comes from “Bread: The Vital Food” by By Claudia Quigley Murphy. It shows one of the many variations on the recipe (or receipt as they would have been called).
If you were struggling to make ends meet, you could just boil down the stale bread in water or table beer, making something looking like oatmeal. You could also boil it in beef broth, adding a meat flavor, adding onions, cheese or whatever else suits your fancy. Think of the bread as a way to thicken up your soup and make it fill up your stomach a bit faster.
So how does one go about making bread stew? Quite easily! The first thing you will need is stale bread. If you don’t have any, sacrifice a good loaf by leaving it out for a day. It should get rather hard. You can also try panco flakes or croutons.
Next, boil some water. We filled our cauldron to 3/4 with water. You can also use broth or beer. If you are adventurous, feel free to do so on a hearth or over an open fire. Once that water is boiling, add your crumbled bread (1 loaf will do) and start to stir. You will notice it thicken quite quickly.
Once it has gotten to the consistency of oatmeal, feel free to add in some fun ingredients. We used a block of cheese, cut into small bits, an onion, and some garlic.
If you put in things like onions, meats or vegetables, cook it until those are well done. If you are just adding seasoning or cheese, it takes only a few minutes for it to melt and allow you to enjoy!