Cooking Tips · Techniques

Take your bread for a whirl in your food processor

When a recipe calls for bread crumbs, do you grab for a canister from your pantry? While that may be OK in a pinch, homemade bread crumbs are so very easy and a much better choice. This is especially true if, like me, you have a partial loaf of bread on your counter that is starting to dry out.

All you have to do is to tear your bread into chunks, toss into your food processor & whirl it into crumbs. Some like to cut off the crust but others like the color & texture from including the crusts. Package the crumbs into zip-lock bags and store in your freezer. That way, you will always have bread crumbs for when you need them.

It is nice to toast part of the crumbs to make dry bread crumbs while processing the rest as fresh crumbs. To make toasted bread crumbs, preheat oven to 250ºF. Cut your bread into large chunks. Put on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake for about 10 minutes or until the bread is completely dried out. In a very humid environment, some suggest turning off the oven after baking for 10-15 minutes and letting the baking sheet sit in the oven overnight. Be sure to label your bags as to whether the crumbs are toasted or not.

What if your recipe calls for one slice of bread, processed into crumbs and all you have available are your great, homemade frozen crumbs? It is hard to come up with an equivalency because of the variables of type of bread, size of the slice, how finely processed, etc. However, one source I trust has produced this chart.

1 slice bread, 1.5 oz Frozen Crumbs Frozen, toasted crumbs

Finely processed 2/3 cup 1/3 cup

Coarsely processed 1 cup 2/3 cup

What about those Panko breadcrumbs? Panko is lighter, crispier, and airier than regular breadcrumbs. Because of this, it is especially nice for breading fried foods although that is not the only use. Since these are made from a type of Japanese white bread that is cooked in a special way, most experts say it is next to impossible to re-create in your home kitchen. You will find recipes, though, that attempt to do just this. Let me know if you try them and what you think!