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! 😉 These breadcrumbs are especially good made from homemade sourdough bread!
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!
How to Make Homemade Breadcrumbs
- Dried out Bread
- Optional seasoning and spice blends: dried basil, oregano, and parsley for an Italian blend, or rosemary, thyme, and sage… Get creative!
- Make sure your bread is dry enough: I let it sit on a plate or unsealed ziplock bag in the fridge for a week
- Cut bread into 1″ to 2″ cubes
- Spread cubes on baking tray in a single layer
- Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes
- Check and stir-
- If not sufficiently dry, continue baking and check every 10 minutes until most cubes are hard and crunchy, but avoid burning
- Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly, then transfer to a food processor
- Process bread cubes into breadcrumbs along with any seasonings if desired
- Store bread crumbs in a sealed container in fridge
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
I have dabbled in this myself, but I am curious, how long would you say these last? I store mine in the fridge, but I haven’t figure out how long they are good for.
I’ve kept mine in the fridge for quite a long time- months even. I think as long as you check for any mold before using them (I’ve never had that trouble, though), you should be ok. I’m also betting that they will freeze great if you want to go that route.
SAHMmy Says says
Lots of failed bread tries here — I make fresh and dried crumbs in the food processor as you described but I freeze them since I only use them 2x/month or so.
Another use for failed bread: cube and use for croutons — olive oil, kosher salt, and toasting makes bad bread taste amazing (great recipe at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/panzanella-recipe/index.html)
I am a gluten free real foodie and do the same thing with my gluten free sourdough bread flops. Saves a TON of money as gluten free is so much more expensive, not to mention things they add to GF breads that are either allergens or just gross!
Ashley Bender says
I can’t stand to see people throw out bread in any shape! It is *so* easy to make your own bread crubs, why pay money for them?? I live in an extremely dry climate, so as long as the bread isn’t in anything, I don’t experience mold issues with it just lying on the counter : )
My husband and I were just talking about how I needed to learn how to do this! 🙂
These were also one of the first things I learned not to buy (other than panko bread crumbs). I’ve found my food processor often leaves large chunks though and have taken to just grating the bread by hand on the large holes of a box grater. I like the texture much better–but it definitely takes more work. And I always store mine in the freezer.
Hey, great idea on the box grater! Will definitely keep that tip in mind. 😉
Heather :) :) :) says
I LOVE how simple this is…and yeah, I’m not buying breadcrumbs anymore, either..well, I’m gluten free, but that’s beside the point…Why pay the money when I can make them at home for free 🙂 Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather 🙂
These look really yummy and so easy. I will probably go with the lazy approach. I am a new Pinterest follower visiting from We are That Family. Vicky from Mess For Less
Yeah, I prefer the lazy approach, too. 😉 So happy that you found me!
Thanks for doing this! Since I made my first batch of breadcrumbs a few years ago I have become increasingly amazed that anyone buys them. Making homemade bread has created a need to appreciate what I make by using every piece, so things like croutons and breadcrumbs have been essential. I get so peeved when people ask you to pay for what really is a left-over, for-free type product.
When you make things from scratch, you truly do begin to appreciate them more and are much less likely to waste.
Curly J says
Thanks for this awesome post!! I have looked at the bread crumb box at the grocery store SO many times, and every time I see that horribly long list of ingredients, I can never let myself buy it. I also have to go to the bakery a couple blocks away to get their fresh bread crumbs. But why pay them, when I can make my own with so little effort!? Thankyou! 🙂 — I’m off to see how I can make my own vanilla extract now 😉
Exactly! They are practically free if you make them yourself. but it IS kinda cool that your bakery offers them- never heard of that before!
Love this post! I freeze the ends of my bread loaves in a Ziploc bag and when I have enough, I put them (frozen) in the food processor and process them. Then I put them back in the Ziploc and throw them back in the freezer. 🙂
Linda from Quebec says
Hi! I was wondering if I dehydrate my slices of bread,then turn them into crumbs,add my seasonings seal the crumbs in a food saver bag with an oxygen pack will it keep for a longer time?
Hmmm… I don’t see why that wouldn’t work Linda. Definitely worth a try. 🙂
Tessa Reeve says
I do this all the time.I live alone, and sometimes a loaf of bread just doesn’t get used up by my grandsons when they visit, or they leave the loaf open (dang boys!). So I put the left over bread and the ‘heels’ that they won’t eat (and old hoagy rolls, hot dog buns, hamburger buns) on a spare tray in the dehydrator when I am running it for something else, and there you have it! Dry bread for bread crumbs.
Hmmmm, I was given about 20 loaves of day old bread and this method worked for me. I toasted the slices in my toaster and then tore into chunks and gave them a whirl in the food processor. Bagged them up and this worked like a charm. The kids loved helping!
I do this except i don’t dry them. I always store them in the freezer after just toasting and running through the food processor. do you think some recipes will turn out wrong if there is to much moisture in the crumbs?
Jill Winger says
I think it depends on the recipe–my other concern would be that they might mold–but if you stored the crumbs in the freezer too, that’d eliminate that problem.
Valerie Blackketter says
I dry out my bread in the oven-it’s a constant 110 degrees from the pilot light. I put my broken up crusts in gallon bags and use my rolling pin or a large spoon to smash them. I find that bread crumbs don’t add all that much flavor to anything though, so have started using mostly cracker crumbs. You can also season the cracker crumbs with herbs and spices.
Lisa Davis says
Will it hurt if u leave the bread on a plate on the counter in the kitchen to dry it out? Also if u use seasoning on ur bread crumbs is it better to put the seasons on the bread and put it oven for about 10 mins. Will it help to absorb the seasons more?
Jill Winger says
You can definitely leave it on the counter, I just like the fridge b/c it keeps the bugs/dogs out of it. I think just mixing the seasonings in as you process the crumbs should be just fine.
I didn’t dry out the bread. But simply grinded it in mixer n stored in refrigerator . How long they’ll be good? Can I do anything to correct my mistake?
Jill Winger says
It should still work just fine. Just watch for mold since there is more moisture– but you can definitely still use them as long as they aren’t moldy.
Sue Pyke says
I would be very interested to hear of the different ways you use the breadcrumbs apart from coating fish. I have baked the crusts from making a bread pudding and intend blending them to store in an air tight container.
I made some crumbs 2 weeks ago, put them in a mason jar and stores them in a cabinet at room temperature. Should I put them in the fridge?
Esther Confino says
We use commercial wheat bread but no one will eat the ends so I would like to use the fresh crumbs made in the processor in larger quantities as a something more than breading. I have stored them in the freezer. How about some pudding, cookies, main dish recipes?
What’s the difference between the Italian blend and the normal blend? Is one stronger than the other? I’m not a fan of super strong tastes but also not a fan of plain and bland.
These taste better than the ones you buy from the grocery store! TY for this!