If you’ve been a reader of The Prairie Homestead for a while, you’ll remember a post about the Five Foods I’ll Never Buy Again. Breadcrumbs were first on that list!
You see, a big part of real food is learning how to make your own bread products (unless you are gluten intolerant, of course).
For most people (me definitely included) there is a learning curve that comes with mastering homemade bread. And that learning curve involves lots of un-risen loaves and whole wheat experiments that not even the dog will eat.
So instead of crying over dry bread, when life gives you a flat loaf, turn it into breadcrumbs!
Have you ever read the label on a can of store-bought crumbs? It’s insane. I have no idea why they need a mile-long list of bizarre ingredients to make a simple breadcrumb…
Homemade breadcrumbs are ridiculously easy, much more wholesome, and a frugal, waste-free way to “dispose” of your inedible bread.
The Quicker-But-Takes-Slightly-More-Effort Breadcrumb Approach
If you are in a hurry to have some breadcrumbs for a particular recipe, use this method:
Cut the desired bread into cubes– 1″ to 2″ is about right.
Spread the cubes in a single layer on a baking tray.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Check and stir.
If not sufficiently dry, continue baking and checking at 10 minute intervals until most of the cubes are hard and crunchy. Watch closely for burning.
Remove from the oven, and allow to cool slightly. Transfer the dry cubes to a food processor and process until breadcrumb stage is reached. (Don’t do this during nap time… It’s really loud.)
Store the finished crumbs in the fridge in a sealed container. They should keep quite a while. Use in Italian recipes, as a breading, or whatever!
The Lazy-Yet-Takes-More-Time Breadcrumb Approach
If you are in no particular hurry to have breadcrumbs, then go with the ‘lazy’ approach. Simply allow your failed bread experiment (or store bought bread that is past it’s prime) to completely dry out.
Sometimes this is accomplished by accident- you know, when that bag of bread gets pushed to the back of the cupboard and forgotten. However, with most types of homemade bread, mold usually takes over before drying-out does.
To combat this problem, I often leave my breadcrumb bread exposed in the fridge for a week or so. You can either let it sit on a plate, or stick it in a ziploc baggie that has not been sealed. The refrigerator does a good job of removing the moisture and preventing mold.
Once it’s dried out, cut into cubes and use a food processor to grind into crumbs.
A Few Notes:
- If you find that your finished breadcrumbs are still a little too moist, spread them back out on a baking sheet, cover loosely with a towel, and leave out on the counter for a couple of hours. Or, place them back in the warm, but turned off oven (if you used the first method), and allow the residual heat to remove the rest of the moisture.
- Make your own seasoned breadcrumbs by adding a variety of herbs and spices to the food processor. Sprinkle in dried basil, oregano, and parsley for an Italian blend, or choose dried rosemary, thyme, and sage for your own herbed crumbs. Get creative!
So there you have it- crazy easy, huh? there’s no reason to ever buy store bought breadcrumbs ever again!
Some more from-scratch goodness:
- How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract
- How to Make Homemade Peanut Butter
- How to Make Homemade Beef Stock in the Slow Cooker
- How to Make Homemade Refried Beans