We’ve taught you ways to hack plenty of things like beer and BBQ. Well, we’re going after another All-American staple: the mighty loaf. On average, Americans consume 53 pounds of bread a year (that’s a lot of sandwiches). So the Greatist team has rounded up 15 not-so-conventional ways to hack your bread.
Even though bread is primarily used to bookend deli meat or peanut butter, we found out it can also be used to halt tears, pick up glass, and skim fat from stock. Got more bread than you can eat? These 15 hacks take bread beyond the Panini press and (mostly) out of the kitchen.
Better Than Sliced Bread — Your Action Plan
1. Stop Onion Tears: No one likes to chop up onions or the waterworks that come with them. To put an end to stinging eyes (onions release a gaseous chemical that causes us to tear up) put a slice of bread in your mouth, with it partially sticking out to absorb the irritant gas before it reaches the eyes Silencing onion lachrymatory factor synthase causes a significant change in the sulfur secondary metabolite profile. Eady, C.C., Kamoi, Takahiro, Kato, Masahiro, et al. American Society of Plant Biologists, Plant Physiology, 2008 Aug; 147(4):2096-2106..
2. Sop up Grease: Cooking oil and grease can clog up a sink if its poured down the drain. It can also make a mess of a trashcan (ew). Use a slice to soak up grease before discarding it.
3. Skim Fat: Chicken soup may be like penicillin for a head cold, but the layer of fat swimming on top of a hot pot may be less than appealing. To skim the stuff, rest a toasted piece on the surface to soak it up. The bread is absorbent, and means forgoing fancy schmancy ladles or skimmers.
4. Save Burnt Food: Say a pot of rice hung out on the stove too long, and it’s left with a not so desirable burnt taste. Place a few pieces of bread in the pot on top of the rice while it’s still hot, and pop the lid back on. Wait a few minutes and then remove the bread slice (which has now absorbed the burnt taste).
5. Revive Marshmallows: Summer time is all about the S’mores, but there’s nothing worse than stale ‘shmallows. If this tragic event does occur, toss a slice of white bread in the bag and seal it for a few days. Ta da! The fluffy guys, after soaking up the bread’s natural moisture, will come back to life.
6. Destink: Though Brussels sprouts have a ton of nutritional benefits, they also come with a pungent odor when cooking (especially when overcooked). If the stink gets to you, put a piece of white bread in the pot while the veggies cook to absorb the odor.
7. Remove Fingerprints: Eliminate dirty, greasy paw marks and dust from wallpapered walls by rubbing them with a piece of stale bread (make sure to cut off crusts to avoid any scratching). This tip goes way back to 1839!
8. Soften Brown Sugar: A bag of smooth brown sugar can turn into a solid rock shortly after it’s opened. If that’s the case, place a piece of bread in a sealed bag of the sugar for just a few hours to get it back to it’s original state. Microwaving a container of the stuff with a slice of bread can quicken the process. This method works because the molasses in brown sugar is very hygroscopic, which means it easily absorbs moisture from the slice of bread.
9. Save Cake: When there’s leftover birthday cake, attach a slice of bread (toothpicks do the trick!) to the cut edge. It’ll stop the exposed part of the cake from drying out, because the cake will draw moisture from the bread.
10. Clean a Coffee Grinder: Toss a couple of small chunks of stale bread in a coffee grinder, pulse, and dump the crumbs for a pristine grinder. The coffee bits stick to the coarse bread crumbs that get into the grinder’s nooks and crannies.
11. Get Rid of Splinters: Remove a splinter by pouring hot water over a slice of bread and placing it on the skin. Wrap the bread with a handkerchief so it stays put. Let it chill until it draws the splinter out. The water-bread combo helps to remove it by softening the surrounding skin.
12. Pick up Glass: For those glass shards too small for a broom and dustpan, carefully pick up the tiny slivers by pressing a slice of bread over it. Gently fold the bread over (wear rubber gloves), and toss it in the can.
13. Clean Vintage Paintings: To get rid of scuzz that’s accumulated on an oil painting, gently rub a soft piece of bread along the surface. The bread will pick up the dust and grime.
14. Protective Device: For those extra slices of bread remaining after checking off the rest of the items on this list, you can always fashion a bread helmet, like this guy.
15. Just Eat It: If excess bread goes bad, there are still ways to bring it back to life. The French used stale bread to make French toast, which also goes by the alias Pain Perdu, which literally means “lost bread.” Old bread can also be turned into croutons and breadcrumbs.
Have you given any of these bread tips a go? If we missed any helpful bread hacks, let us know in the comments below!