If you’ve ever had leftover bread that has become dry or stale, you know how frustrating it can be to let this good food go to waste. Fortunately, we have the perfect way to use leftover bread: homemade bread crumbs. You’ll have delicious homemade bread crumbs to use in recipes. Bread crumbs are perfect for adding a crunching topping to main dish casseroles. You can also use them to make breaded chicken, and homemade bread crumbs are perfect for adding to meatballs or meatloaf to help them hold together.
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It’s super easy to make homemade bread crumbs. Have you ever had a piece of toasted bread that sits in the toaster for just a little too long? It becomes so dry that it’s brittle and falls apart easily. That’s basically what you’re going for with homemade bread crumbs. Anytime you’ve got a few pieces of bread left in a loaf, you’ve got the perfect chance to make homemade bread crumbs. Even better, don’t waste even a slice of that expensive artisan bread. Instead, make breadcrumbs with it to add an extra texture and flavor to so many recipes.
You can use any type of bread to make homemade bread crumbs, and a mixture of different types of bread is also wonderful for more interesting flavors. Best of all, homemade bread crumbs are much more flavorful than the ones you can buy at the grocery store. Store-bought bread crumbs are bland by design, but you can make delicious bread crumbs that will take your recipes to the next level.
In this article, we’re going to give you a solid guide that you can customize with your own choice of bread. Once you have the technique down, you can experiment with other bread to get delicious combinations.
How to Make Homemade Bread Crumbs
There are just a few basic steps for how to make bread crumbs.
- Grind cubed bread pieces in a food processor.
- Spread the bread crumb pieces on a baking sheet in a single layer.
- Bake for 10 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit (149 degrees Celsius).
- Stir the bread crumbs and toast them a little longer until they are completely dry and lightly toasted.
- Cool the bread crumbs completely in the baking pan.
- Place them in an airtight container and store them.
What Bread Types Work Well for Making Bread Crumbs?
You can make homemade breadcrumbs with whatever type of bread you have on hand. What’s the best bread for homemade breadcrumbs? You can use gluten free bread, sourdough bread, whole wheat bread, low-carb bread, white bread, French bread, whole grain bread, and even hot dog buns or hamburger buns. If you want to use rustic artisan bread, you’ll have denser crumbs than if you make bread crumbs with enriched bread.
Older Bread vs. Fresh Bread
Should you use fresh bread or older day old bread to make bread crumbs? This is one time when older food is better! You don’t want to make bread crumbs with bread that has been baked that day. If bread is allowed to sit at room temperature for a few days, it will become dryer and harder. This makes it easier to break the bread down in a food processor.
If you need to use fresh bread because you don’t have older bread in the house, you can do that. Just cut the bread into slices first, then put it in your toaster for a couple of minutes. Another option is to toast the bread in the oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit (149 degrees Celcius). This will remove most of the moisture, and you can use it to proceed with the bread crumbs recipe. Be sure to let the bread cool at room temperature before putting the bread cubes in the food processor.
Is It Necessary to Remove the Bread’s Crust?
The only reason for removing the bread’s crust is so you can get a more uniform color in your bread crumbs. If this is important to you, you can remove the crust. However, this isn’t necessary. You can leave the crusts on to make bread crumbs, and the taste difference will be nil. One thing to do is save bread crusts if you cut them off for finger sandwiches or picky eaters. Because of Maillard browning, the bread crust has extra flavor.
What to Do if You Want Smaller Bread Crumbs
If you want panko bread crumbs, you may want bigger pieces, so you can have delicious panko crumbs for recipes. But what if you want smaller breadcrumbs? To make super fine breadcrumbs, you have to process the bread twice in the food processor. The first time is before you put them in the oven. Then, once the bread crumbs are toasted and cooled, process them in the food processor again. Another option is to put the bread crumbs into a plastic bag and roll them over with a rolling pin.
Making Bread Crumbs if You Don’t Have a Food Processor
What if you don’t have a food processor? Can you still make homemade breadcrumbs? Of course! Here’s what you do. Cut the bread into small cubes or tear it into small pieces. Put the bread pieces on the baking sheet and toast them until they are dry. It’s a similar process to making homemade croutons. Stir the bread every few minutes so that it gets well-toasted on all sides.
Then, once the bread crumbs are done, remove the baking pan from the oven. Allow them to cool completely, then put them into a ziplock bag and close it up part of the way. Use a rolling pin to roll over the bread and crush it into crumbs.
Using Frozen Bread to Make Homemade Bread Crumbs
Can you use frozen bread to make homemade bread crumbs? This is actually a great option because it’s the perfect way to make sure you never throw out old bread. Freeze your bread in an airtight zipper bag, then completely defrost the bread before processing it. It’s very important to make sure no air or moisture can get to your bread because this will affect your ability to use the bread to make toasted bread crumbs.
One thing you can do is put the frozen sliced bread on a sheet pan that’s lined with paper towels. The paper towels will absorb most of the moisture. If the bread slices still seem damp, toast the bread in the oven or your toaster before you process it. You’ll need to toast it until it’s dry and all of the moisture is completely gone. The process is similar to when you use fresh bread instead of stale bread.
Once the bread is dry, you can proceed with the dried bread crumbs recipe. This is a great way to save bread if you want to make a big batch of dried breadcrumbs in one day.
Storing Your Homemade Bread Crumbs
Once you have your fresh bread crumbs, how do you store this pantry staple? They’re not going to keep as long as store-bought breadcrumb options do, because these are made with fresh bread and don’t have all of the preservatives that the dry breadcrumbs you buy at the supermarket have. This is a good thing.
You should store your bread crumbs in an airtight container. Try to find one that the breadcrumbs can fill because the less air you have in the headspace, the better, and the longer your bread crumbs will last. Another option is to put your toasted breadcrumbs in a ziplock bag and put them into your airtight container. The plastic bag ensures that no moisture from the air will touch your bread crumbs.
How long will homemade bread crumbs keep? When you store them at room temperature, dry bread crumbs will last for about a month. You can also freeze your bread crumbs for as long as three months. It’s handy to have bread crumbs in the freezer for recipes.
Recipe for Homemade Italian Bread Crumbs
Do you love Italian style bread crumbs, fine crumbs, or panko breadcrumbs? You can easily make them with some dried herbs and seasonings. Here’s how to make Italian breadcrumbs.
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
Toss your toasted and cooled fresh breadcrumbs with these seasonings and store them as you would plain homemade bread crumbs. You can also get creative with other herbs and spice, including oregano, lemon zest, basil, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, and sage.
The Science Behind the Recipe
Are you wondering why you should grind your bread into smaller pieces before you bake it to make dried bread crumbs? The key is to increase the bread’s surface area so you can efficiently remove as much of the bread’s moisture as you can. When you cut the bread into small pieces, the oven’s heat will more quickly dry off any water remaining in the plain bread crumbs. When an oven is set to medium heat just above water’s boiling point (300 degrees Fahrenheit), the moisture in the bread will evaporate gently as the bread crumbs get toasted and lightly browned.
Best Homemade Bread Crumbs
- Food processor
- 4 cups 1-inch bread cubes about 4 ounces of your choice of bread
- Put the oven rack in the center position of the oven. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (149 degrees Celsius).
- Place the bread cubes in your food processor. Process the bread on high for 30 seconds if you want coarse crumbs. If you want fine crumb bread crumbs, process the bread for about 1 minute.
- Transfer the bread crumbs to two small pans or one large sheet pan. Spread the bread crumbs in a single layer until they're even in the baking tray.
- Bake the breadcrumbs for 5 minutes. Pull the baking sheet from the oven and stir the breadcrumbs around. Then, bake them for an additional 5 minutes. At this point, the breadcrumbs should feel dry when you touch them and be lightly browned.
- Bake for 2-5 additional minutes or until the bread crumbs become completely dry.
- Let the bread crumbs become completely cool while still on the sheet pan. This will take between 10 and 15 minutes.
- Put the bread crumbs in an airtight container for storage.
- If you want finer bread crumbs, you can put them back into the food processor and slowly pulse the machine until you get the seasoned breadcrumbs just how you want them.