How to: make your own bread crumbs
I’ve been meaning to learn to do this for a long time, and I finally remembered to save some bread. I had several slices of a nice loaf of sourdough in the fridge, and a baguette from a few days ago that was starting to get hard.
For breadcrumbs, you don’t want bread that is as hard as a rock. A few days old and starting to get hard is ideal. You can use any type of bread; it’s a great way to use heels and bread that is a little too hard to be good eating. The sourdough I had was at least a month old, but I wrapped it airtight and kept it in the fridge, so it was still relatively fresh.
You will need a knife, a blender or food processor, and a rimmed pan like a jelly roll pan.
You can remove the crusts from the bread if you like; it will give the crumbs a uniform color and texture. I left mine on; I don’t care about some irregularities since I usually use bread crumbs for meat loaf and chicken parmesan.
Cut the bread into bite-sized chunks and process in the blender/food processor until they are the size you want. If you are doing something that requires soft crumbs, you can use them now.
If you need dry bread crumbs, spread the pieces evenly on the pan and toast in a 250 degree oven until completely dry, anywhere from ten to twenty minutes. I recommend checking them at ten minutes and every few minutes thereafter; you don’t want them to burn.
Once the crumbs are crispy, let them cool completely, then process them again to make them very fine. Once they are cool, dry, and as small as you want, store them in something airtight. I used one of my Libbey Vibe Storage Jars (I think it’s a 42-ounce; it’s what I kept bought-bread crumbs in before):
What surprised me was how few crumbs you get for a lot of bread. If you need a lot of crumbs, you will need a WHOLE lot of bread. I probably got a cup-and-a-half of crumbs out of almost a half loaf of bread.
Stores usually sell bread crumbs in both plain and Italian varieties, but I usually just get plain, and if I’m using them for something Italian I just mix in some Italian seasoning. That way I only have to keep one variety of bread crumbs around. Bear that in mind if you use breads seasoned with garlic or something; it will impart the seasoning to whatever you cook. I am not fond of Italian-tasting meatloaf, so I’m always sure to use plain bread crumbs in it.