Fried grenki: How to make use of stale bread

​Even a child can make this simple and tasty dish!

​Even a child can make this simple and tasty dish!

Legion Media
​If you've got some stale bread, don't be in a hurry to throw it away. Use it to make a tasty dish, not just kvas or crackers, but also a very appetising and simple dessert that even a child could do.

Russians have always given bread a special place of honor because for many centuries people didn’t have enough food to eat. In fact, people have had easy access to bread only for less than 100 years. At first, not everyone could afford bread because of the high price of wheat flour, and then for a long time government ration cards imposed restrictions on bread consumption.

Naturally, people can’t help treating it with a certain reverence. Russians from childhood are taught to respect the labor of those who make bread because it’s hard work. Farmers grow and gather the wheat, then the grains are milled into flour - and that’s even before the bread is baked.

Bread isn't just a food item – it’s also a symbol of unity. There is a Russian expression that literally means "a severed slice," and refers to a person who has cut himself off from his family.

Russians always have bread on the table, and the most famous saying is: "Bread is the staff of life." It means that bread is the most important food in a home, and hardly a meal is eaten without a slice of black or white bread.

When guests or newlyweds enter a home, they’re greeted according to the ancient custom - with bread and salt.  The healthiest bread is made of wholegrain flour, but rye bread, bran bread and mixed-grain bread are also popular today.

Throwing bread away even when it goes stale is considered wrong. It’s better to feed it to the birds (this custom has ancient, pre-Christian origins; in Slavic culture birds embodied the souls of the dead).

Traditional Russian cuisine offers a large number of recipes in which stale bread is the main ingredient. For instance, stale black bread is used to make the popular summer drink, kvas, and stale white bread is used to make kartoshka cake (a Russian version of fudge nuggets). Stale bread is also added to mashed potatoes and is also the basis for the dough in apple pie, sharlotka.

If you only have a couple of eggs in the fridge and yesterday's baguette in the bread bin, then you have the main ingredients for the simple and tasty dish, grenki, which are small slices of stale bread fried in oil. According to one theory, the name is derived from the word "gret" - "to warm." But other historians believe it comes from the French word "grains" - "crumbs."

The dish is so simple that even children can make it as soon as they learn to turn on the stove by themselves. Grenki are made in various ways, and different kinds of bread can be fried or baked in the oven. They can be made sweet or savory by adding seasonings, vegetables, fruit, meat, cheese and other things. The choice of options is simply vast!

Wheat baguette grenki with egg

This is the most common version of grenki and are usually made for breakfast and served with a hot drink.

Source: Daria SokolovaSource: Daria Sokolova

How to make it:

1. Slice the baguette into not very thin slices (1-1.5 cm thick)

Source: Daria SokolovaSource: Daria Sokolova


  • One dry baguette
  • Two eggs
  • One tablespoon of sugar
  • Jam to taste
2. In a bowl, mix the eggs with sugar and stir thoroughly with a fork.

3. Dip both sides of the bread in the eggs, and place on a heated frying pan. To get a good crust, add a couple of teaspoons of vegetable oil or butter to the pan.

Source: Daria SokolovaSource: Daria Sokolova

4. An alternative version of grenki is with jam. For this, cut a piece of bread into two halves. Add a large spoonful of any jam or conserve to one of the halves.

Source: Daria SokolovaSource: Daria Sokolova

Cover with the second half and press together so that the sandwich does not fall apart. Then dip it in the egg and fry. It’s better to use not very runny jam - plum or strawberry go well.

Source: Daria SokolovaSource: Daria Sokolova

5. Fry the grenki on both sides for 3-4 minutes on medium heat.

Source: Daria SokolovaSource: Daria Sokolova

Serve with jam, conserve or caramelized milk. It makes an excellent sweet accompaniment to your morning cup of coffee.

Source: Daria SokolovaSource: Daria Sokolova

If using any of Russia Beyond's content, partly or in full, always provide an active hyperlink to the original material.

More exciting stories and videos on Russia Beyond's Facebook page
Read more