Make Your Own Breadcrumbs
As well as being economical, it is so easy to make your own breadcrumbs. The best crumbs are made from 1 or 2 day old bread, often that will just be thrown out anyway, so this is a great way to avoid throwing out food.
Breadcrumbs can be either soft (fresh) or if you want them to last longer, dry.
If making fresh / soft breadcrumbs, don’t be tempted to use stale bread – if the bread tastes stale, the crumbs will too. Break into Chunks and place in a food processor – if the bread is really fresh, you may have to dry slightly in the oven.
These breadcrumbs will only last a day or so.
These last far longer – up to a moth in an airtight container, provided you dry them thoroughly. Bread that is 2-3 days old works best, and you can save up the ends of your bread in the freezer until you are ready to make a batch. Just defrost, and use.
Any type of bread (or a combination) works, but I try and avoid the nuttier breads, as they hold their moisture a lot, They are useable though, and can make a nice topping for fish.
How to dry out the Breadcrumbs
Whatever bread you are using – break into chunks and dry out in the oven for 10-15 mins at 150 degrees C. Break up, and place into a food processor, and blitz until the bread is soft crumbs. If stopping at this stage, used immediately, or store in the freezer for up to a month.They can be turned into dried breadcrumbs, by placing on an oven tray, in a thin layer, and return to the warm oven on a low setting to fully dry out. I would put them in around 100-120 C as anything higher they will start to brown. Stir occasionally to allow all the crumbs to dry. This could take 20-40 mins depending upon the moisture content. You want the crumbs to be golden not dark brown.
Once fully dried out, leave to cool. Once they are completely cool, put in an airtight jar, and store for up to 4 months. Always check for signs of any smell before using. They should be completely odourless. I use posca markers to mark up the contents of my jars.Breadcrumbs are great to coat chicken, fish or vegetables before baking or frying. They are fantastic to bulk out meat balls, burgers, fritters or to provide a crunchy topping for gratins – macaroni cheese, lasagne and other cheesy casseroles.