Making your own homemade bread crumbs is quicker than rushing to the store to buy some. Use your leftover bread and never run out again!
I like making my own bread crumbs. It’s a great way to use up stale or leftover bread and the quality beats store-bought every single time.
WHAT KIND OF BREAD
Any mold-free bread can be used. Toss out moldy bread. The mold you can see might just be the tip of the iceberg so to speak.
White, wheat, multi-grain, dinner rolls, hot dog buns, hamburger buns, Italian, French, and homemade crusty bread have all been used at my house.
I save up old random pieces of bread and save them in the freezer until I have enough to make a batch.
HOW MUCH BREAD TO START WITH
1 cup of dried breadcrumbs weighs about 3.4 to 3.5 ounces. You’ll want to start with about 4 ounces of bread because there will be weight loss during the drying process even if it’s allowed to dry at room temperature.
For every cup of dried breadcrumbs needed, start with 4 ounces of bread. Most white bread slices you buy in the bag are about 1 ounce each.
I usually just toss in whatever it is I have on hand at the moment and store the excess int he freezer until next time I need some.
HOW TO MAKE THEM SOFT
Start with bread that has not been dried in the oven or toaster.
I don’t recommend using super soft really fresh bread, it is likely to turn into a dough ball. It’s just too moist.
At the very least, allow the bread to sit out on the counter until the very last minute. The drier the bread, the easier this will be.
If you only need some for a filler for something like meatloaf or meatballs the soft ones will be fine.
Keep in mind, most recipes called for dried so just be sure to remove some of the added liquid called for the recipe.
Tear the bread into smaller pieces and do not overfill the processor or blender. Trying to pulverize too much bread at once will smash the bread pieces instead of chopping them.
DRIED BREAD CRUMBS
You have two options here, leave your bread laid out on the kitchen counter overnight or longer until it has dried or you can dry them out in a low oven. When I say low oven, I mean 225-250⁰F.
As the bread dries out, longer pieces like hot dog buns and hoagie rolls may start to curl up on the edges. This is normal.
You want the bread dried out rather than toasted. If some of the bread begins to turn brown while drying out, they will be fine, we just don’t want the majority of the bread to be brown nor any of it to be dark brown.
Moving the pieces around on the baking sheet will prevent over-browning.
Making breadcrumbs from toast is possible, but there will be more of those spongy bits left than if you use the oven.
METHODS FOR CRUSHING DRIED BREAD
My top choice is a food processor because it’s so fast.
Break dried bread into smaller pieces about 2 to 3 inches big.
Pulse for 5 to 10 seconds, allow the bread to fall back into center and pulse for another 5 to seconds.
Only do this until the breadcrumbs are your preferred size. Processing too much will make bread dust.
Blender blades will have the speed needed but they don’t have enough room to process a whole batch at once.
Only try to process a few pieces of bread at a time.
Break the dried bread into 1-inch pieces. Larger pieces might get wedged under the blades.
In order to use a rolling pin, the bread must be dry and brittle. This may require a bit longer in the oven to achieve a bread that is dry enough to pulverize this way.
Place the bread into a large zip-top bag, press out as much air as possible, seal the bag and roll over the bread from several different directions.
Shake the bag occasionally to redistribute the bread crumbs and roll over the larger pieces. Continue doing this until they are the size you like.
WHY DO I HAVE DOUGHY BITS?
Sometimes, when you pulverize the bread pieces there will be some parts that feel soft or spongy because these pieces weren’t quite dry enough.
If you don’t need the extra crumbs, go ahead and throw those away. Any time I have those nasty bits I just separate them and pop them back into the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes.
Check to see if they will easily crumble. A few more minutes may be required depending on the size o those bread pieces.
Once those are done, allow them to cool and try again.
These pieces, once baked again can also be used as panko.
HOW TO SEASON
For an Italian version, add 1 teaspoon of dried parsley flakes that I have rubbed between the palms of my hand, a pinch of granulated garlic, and 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese to 1 cup of bread crumbs.
Other spices such as dried oregano, dried basil, onion powder, and paprika can also be added for a bolder flavor. I would keep them all to no more than a pinch.
These need to be stored in the refrigerator or freezer because of the parmesan cheese.
The best gluten-free substitution I have found is to use rice Chex and pulverize in the same manner as stale bread. Rice Chex has the most neutral flavor out of all of the gluten-free cereals.
These crumbs hold up well in meatballs, turkey meatballs, and meatloaves.
HOW TO STORE
Homemade breadcrumbs can safely be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Keep them in an airtight freezer container or a freezer bag. Sealing in one bag and placing that bag into another one will help prevent freezer burn.
I don’t usually worry about thawing them before use, they are so small that they have generally thawed by the time they get added to a recipe.
RECIPES USING BREAD CRUMBS YOU’RE GOING TO LOVE
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- 4 ounces bread about 4 standard slices
- Preheat an oven to 225°F.
- Place bread pieces onto a baking sheet and place into the oven.
- Allow the bread to cook in the oven for 15 minutes and flip the bread over and cook for another 15 minutes. The bread can be flipped again baked for an addition 10 to 15 minutes if more drying is necessary.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
- Break the bread into smaler pieces and place into a food processor and pulse in 2 to 3 seconds intervals, allowing bread pieces to fall back down in between pulses, until breadcrumbs are the deisred size.
- Remove from the food processor and use or place into a freezer safe container and freeze until needed.
- Bread can be dried out leaving bread exposed to air until dry, preferably for at least 24 hours.
- To make Italian breadcrumbs, add 1 teaspoon dried parsley, 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder, and 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese. Other spices like Italian seasoning, oregano, or basil can also be added.
- A blender can be used. Use only 1 to 2 slices of completely dried bread at a time that has been torn into 1-inch pieces.
- Bread that has been dried until crunchy can be pulverized in a sealed baggie with a rolling pin or kitchen mallet.