Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Homemade Bread Crumbs

As I've mentioned about 327 times, I got a bread machine for my birthday. It is my most favorite thing in the whole kitchen (until the day I finally get a KitchenAid, that is) and I use it all the time. Like two or three times a week to the point where I do not buy bread at the store anymore. It tastes better, it's cheaper, and it only has the few ingredients bread should have. 

But for some odd reason, I was still buying whole wheat bread crumbs. That is, until I turned the canister around a few weeks ago. I'm not sure why I thought the ingredient list would be any less tragic than a loaf of bread with its 35 components, but I did. And then it hit me - I make my own bread, why not make my own bread crumbs? The whole thing is so simple and (my favorite part) it's made from something I was going to throw away. They are fresh and real and tasty and now my only problem is that I'm suddenly trying to coat everything in bread crumbs. This too shall pass.

Homemade Bread Crumbs

What I use:

  • Any leftover bread - loaf ends, chunks of Italian loaves from dinner last night, crusts from sandwiches, and the last bit of loaves that started to go stale before we were finished with the bread. I keep the bread scraps in a freezer bag. When it's full, we make crumbs!

How I do it:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.

1. Rip the bread into small chunks, about 1 inch in size, and place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. (The pan doesn't need protecting, but the paper will come in handy later for transferring the toasted bread to the food processor because you can pick the whole thing up and slide the bread off.)

2. Place the pan in the oven for a few hours, until the bread is completely dried out. You can tell by grabbing a few different size pieces and breaking them in half. The time will vary depending on how stale your bread was, how big the pieces are, what kind of bread it is, etc. Mine took about 2.5 hours.

3. Cool the bread on the pan for about an hour. It must be completely cooled, otherwise it will create steam in the food processor and ruin the whole dry bread thing you are going for here. 

4. Transfer the bread to a food processor. I had so much bread, I had to do mine in two batches.

5. Pulse the bread until it becomes fine crumbs.

You could certainly add Italian seasoning or anything else you want, but I use my crumbs for so many different things and sometimes I need Italian and sometimes I need plain. So I just leave them plain and add in the extras as I'm about to use them.

The crumbs will keep in the freezer (in a freezer bag) for, well, I don't know how long. They are usually gone in a few weeks around here, but I would guess you could probably get a few months out of them. And that's it. Now go bread something!

What is your favorite breaded recipe?

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