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How to Make Breadcrumbs
Learn how to make homemade breadcrumbs with our super easy recipe.
Making your own breadcrumbs at home is a great way to use up stale or leftover bread and elevate your recipes. Homemade beats store-bought every single time.
WHAT KIND OF BREAD TO USE FOR MAKING BREADCRUMBS
Any mold-free bread can be used to make breadcrumbs at home. Toss out moldy bread, the mold you can see might just be the tip of the iceberg so to speak.
I save up old random pieces of bread and save them in the freezer until I have enough to make a batch of homemade breadcrumbs.
White bread, wheat bread, multi-grain bread, dinner roll, hot dog buns, hamburger buns, Italian bread, French bread, bakery style sub rolls, and homemade crusty bread have all been used at my house.
In order to dry it all out at once, slice larger items in half. Open up hot dog and hamburger buns.
HOW TO MAKE FRESH BREADCRUMBS
Fresh bread can be used to make breadcrumbs fast. If you only need some for a filler for something like meatloaf or meatballs fresh breadcrumbs 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 because breadcrumbs made with fresh bread will not absorb nearly the liquid dried would.
Alternatively, you can use up to 1.5 times more of the fresh breadcrumbs than called for in a recipe. When a recipe calls for fresh, use the amount called for.
For the best results, use day old bread, leftover dried out bread, or bread with a firmer structure like sourdough or focaccia.
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.
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 breadcrumbs.
I prefer breadcrumbs made from dried out bread. 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.
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. Burnt bread tastes as nasty in breadcrumbs as it does with breakfast.
Making breadcrumbs from toast is possible, but there will be more of those spongy bits left than if you use the oven. See the notes further down in this post for fixing this issue by twice baking.
METHODS FOR PULVERIZING BREADCRUMBS
My top choice for making breadcrumbs at home is using the 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 for making breadcrumbs the same size as commercial ones, but they don’t have enough blade area to process much though.
To make breadcrumbs with a blender don’t try to process more than a few pieces of bread at a time. Break the dried bread into 1-inch pieces, larger pieces are at risk of getting wedged and smashed.
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.
*The methods described above are intended for dried bread.
Croutons can be substituted using the above methods, be mindful of flavorings.
TWICE BAKED BREADCRUMBS
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.
Toasted breadcrumbs can also be made by twice baking. Once all of the bread pieces have been processed, just add them back to the baking sheet. Turn the oven temperature up to 350⁰F. Once the oven has been heated, place the crumbs back into the oven.
Stir every 2 or 3 minutes and do not turn your back on them. These tiny pieces of bread will go from toasted to burnt pretty quick.
HOW MUCH BREAD TO START WITH WHEN MAKING DRIED BREADCRUMBS
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 ITALIAN BREADCRUMBS
Making Italian breadcrumbs at home is easy, just add some spices and you’re good to go.
For every cup of breadcrumbs, I 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.
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. Like their unflavored counterpart, they need to be used or frozen before they have a chance to grow any mold.
GLUTEN-FREE BREADCRUMB SUBSTITUTION
The best gluten-free substitution for breadcrumbs 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. They can also be turned into a gluten-free Italian version. Just use the same method as above and store in the refrigerator.
Add rice Chex to any gluten-free batters or coatings you are using for frying to add crunch.
HOW TO STORE HOMEMADE BREADCRUMBS
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 breadcrumbs into one bag and placing that bag into another one will prevent the breadcrumbs from absorbing flavors from other foods in the freezer.
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.
These will be safe in the refrigerator for about the same amount of time as the bread you used to start with would last in the refrigerator. If your bread would have gone moldy in the same amount of time, you can safely assume there is some mold growing in the breadcrumbs too!
When in doubt toss it out!
USES FOR HOMEMADE BREADCRUMBS
- Breading for chicken, fish, cutlets, shrimp
- Deep fried recipes
- Adding crunch to macaroni and cheese
- Coating toasted ravioli
- Any recipe that calls for breadcrumbs, measurements are the same
SOME RECIPES TO TRY USING BREADCRUMBS
- 4 ounces bread about 4 standard slices
- Preheat an oven to 225 Degrees 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.