Bread crumbs have so many uses and are so easy to make I always wonder why people buy them at all. It is a great way to reuse your old/stale bread and you actually know what goes into it.
Bread crumbs are made by dehydrating bread or bread dough and breaking it up into little crumbs by the use of a food processor or simply crushing the dehydrated bread in a plastic bag with a rolling pin or anything heavy.
The great thing about making your own breadcrumbs is that you can control how thin or coarse your bread crumbs will come out. Another advantage is that you can add some spices to your bread crumb mix giving your final food an extra zing.
Steps To Making Breadcrumb
- preheat the oven to 50 degrees Celsius or 120 Fahrenheit ( this is usually the lowest setting on your oven)
- Slice your bread if it is not already sliced ( preferably about half an inch or one centimeter, any thicker will just take longer to dehydrate )
- Spread your bread slices onto a baking or cooking sheet ( Do not stack slices on top of each other )
- Dehydrate the bread until it is hard and very light – the time here varies depending on how hydrated the original bread you started out is, so check up on your bread every couple of min.
- Let your dehydrated bread cool completely
- Break up the slices into smaller pieces and throw them into your food processor
- pulse your food processor – Do not just turn on the food processor and let it go as it will make a fine powder. you must place the blades and give your food processor a shake now and again to make sure the big pieces at the top fall down to the blades.
- Take out the bread crumbs out of the food processor and place them in a bowl
- (optional ) this is where you will add your spices if choose to. Mix by hand the spices into the bread crumbs
- Store in a plastic bag preferably a ziplock bag or any bag you can seal well ( make sure to get the air out ).
- Store for future uses – best to store in the freezer
Some Important Notes
- Do not toast the crumbs you want to make sure you only dehydrate them. If you toast your bread crumbs they will burn if you will use them to coat a cutlet and fry it. Your bread crumbs should come out quite light in color. Go slow.
- If you have a convection oven use the convection feature. It will help to speed up the dehydration process.
- Keep a close eye on the bread while dehydrating in the oven. As there is no magic timer for this you will need to do regular checks especially when you are nearing the end.
- Adding spices is a great way to add some added flavors to your foods but remember you can always do this after so flavoring your bread crumbs right after you make it is not a high priority.
Which Bread To Use For Breadcrumbs
The answer to these questions is not that easy as it all depends on what foods you will use these bread crumbs for.
Generally it is a good idea to use plain old White bread but honestly, you can use almost any bread you have on hand. Whole wheat, rye, sourdough bread will work just as well.
Bread with sugar in them such as Brioche, challah, Japanese milk bread are also ok to use but you need to make sure that you dehydrate these at a lower temperature as you do not want the sugars in these bread to caramelize. This will make your bread crumbs dark and will burn more quickly in your final products. Slow and low is the key to these types of bread.
The only thing I would recommend is to stay away from bread with added ingredients to them such as dried fruits, seeds, and grains as these flavors can be dominant and some such as the dried fruits can really turn bitter.
How To Store Breadcrumbs
Bread crumbs should be stored in the freezer. Use an airtight container if you have one. If not use a ziplock bag. To get the air out of the bag use this simple trick.
Place your bread crumbs in the bag and get a straw and put it at the end of the ziplock close the bag until you hit the straw, suck out the air with the straw and slip the straw out and close the bag right away.
Bread crumbs in the freezer can stay for a very long time. You can store them for up to a year but I’m sure you will use them up before it gets to that.
TIP: Lable your bags and container with relevant info such as the date you made them and if you have added any flavorings to your breadcrumbs then make sure to add this to the label as well.
Using Breadcrumbs Out Of The Freezer
Try and avoid using breadcrumbs straight out of the freezer. As the outside temperature is very warm and the breadcrumbs at freezing temperature this can crate some condensation sticking to the bread crumbs.
Take the bread crumbs out of the freezer and spread them out on a plate.
Let them sit like this for about 10-15 min, then give them a mix and let them sit for another 10-15 min. Now you can use them and they should be free of any moisture and at room temperature.
This is the time that you should add your spices and herbs if you intend to infuse your bread crumbs with some added flavor.
Fine or Coarse
Some foods are better with Coarse bread crumbs such as pasta or when used in a topping for some stuffed veggies in the oven. Other times you would want more finely ground crumb if you are making some Wienerschnitzel, chicken cutlets or almost anything you use to coat and fry up later.
For fine bread crumbs simply pulsate the dehydrated bread in your food processor. Shake the food processor from time to time to make sure you don’t have any big pieces suck over the blades.
Tip: Do not overfill your food processor. Make your bread crumbs in smaller batches. It will be easier to control how fine or coarse your finished product will come out.
For a more coarse crumb place your dehydrated bread in a plastic bag. Get out your rolling pin and start rolling over the dehydrated bread until you get your desired thickness.
If you do not have a rolling ping use a heavy book and take out all of your anger on the dehydrated bread. It’s actually quite therapeutic 🙂
Tip: before placing the dehydrated bread in the plastic bag bread it down to smaller pieces with your hands. This will make for a more even grind and will speed up the process as well.
Should You Cut The Crust Off For Breadcrumbs?
There is no need to cut the crust of bread. Especially if you use breads with thick crusts. Leaving the crust on the bread before dehydrating it will give the breadcrumbs a nice golden color and some added crunch in the final product.
If you desire a clean, white or very light bread crumbs for presentation purposes then go ahead and cut away but just note that it is not a must rather a personal preference.
Spice and Herb Blend Ideas For Your Breadcrumbs
A great way to add some added sing to your foods is by flavoring your bread crumbs. Try mixing and matching with spices and herbs. You will really be bringing a new dimension to your foods.
Common spices to add to your bread crumbs
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Cayan pepper
- Dry chili flakes
- Curry powder
Common Herbs to blend with your bread crumbs – really you can use any herbs you have available. Make sure you use the dry variety rather than the fresh as fresh herbs if stored for a long time will mold your bread crumbs.
- Dry parsley
- Dry mint
Remember: These added blends of spices and herbs can always be added right before you make your food and you do not need to do this ahead of time.
Uses For Breadcrumbs
Now that you have your breadcrumbs what do you do with them? I’m sure you already know what you were going to do with them otherwise you wouldn’t make them in the first place. But did you know what else you can use it for?
Coating and Deep Frying
This is probably the most common use of breadcrumbs you come across. Whether it is a Wienerschnitzel, and kind of cutlet such as chicken, veal and so on. Breadcrumbs are also used for coating shrimps, calamari and many more foods you intend to fry up after coating them with these heavenly golden granules of bread.
Just dip the food you want to coat in a beaten egg and coat with breadcrumbs. Fry it up and enjoy this crispy texture with a soft moist and juicy inside (whatever you coated ).
The reason this is always a favorite is exactly what I just described, we are somehow programmed to like a crunchy outside and a soft inside of whatever it is we are eating.
For this purpose, it is better to use a finer ground breadcrumb mix. It is also a good idea to spice up the breadcrumbs before coating your food with it.
Added crunch for pasta
Yes, it might sound strange to some of you who have never experience this but adding breadcrumbs to pasta ( usually a pasta that is not very saucy ) is a way to take your pasta to another level.
To prepare the breadcrumbs for pasta simply heat up a pan, pur it about half a teaspoon of olive oil. Add a clove of crushed garlic ( all of this on medium heat) then fry up the garlic for a couple of seconds and throw in about 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of bread crumbs and toast them lightly with the garlic. Keep stirring the bread crumbs around as you do not want them to burn. Once golden remove from heat. Fill up your bowl or plate with pasta and generally sprinkle it with this garlic breadcrumb mix.
A coarse ground breadcrumb should be used for this purpose as it will really add that crunchy texture you need here.
Topping for stuffed veggies
Another great use of breadcrumbs is as a topping for stuffed veggies. If you made some stuffed tomatoes or peppers take some bread crumbs and spread them about 1/4 of an inch or half a cm thick on top of your stuffed veggies. Now place your veggies in an oven preheated to 350 degrees and toast the bread crumbs.
This will add a very nice crunch to the soft stuffing and veggies.
Use a coarsely ground breadcrumb mix for this purpose.
Many people add breadcrumbs in their meatballs. It acts as a binding agent and helps stabilize the meatball. Do not confuse this with soaked bread that some use in meatballs. Soaked bread ( usually dry bread is soaked in milk or water ) is used in meatballs in order to achieve a softer texture.
If you are using breadcrumbs to help bind and hold the meatball shape use a finely ground breadcrumb mix