– Learning how to make homemade breadcrumbs in insanely easy. –
We have a lot to say about breadcrumbs in Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese, but I thought it might be worth a mention to you all as well. Breadcrumbs don’t generally merit much consideration. They’re just ground up stale bread, right? What else is there to consider?
If you’ve recently tried the overly milled, poorly spiced powders they sell in cardboard tubes at the grocery store, then you realize there might be more than you thought.
Learning how to make homemade breadcrumbs is ridiculously easy and a great reminder that fresh == flavor. The process requires only old bread and a little forethought. The resulting crumbs have texture, crunch, and a fresh flavor you’ll never get out of store-bought variations. Homemade breadrumbs can be easily adapted to fit your needs and preferences, from the type of bread you use to the addition of whatever spices, salts, or dried herbs you like best.
There’s also an opportunity for culinary creativity here, given you’re not limited to the heels of stale French bread. You can make incredibly savory breadcrumbs out of almost any carb-y ingredient. Let your imagination be your guide. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Roasted pumpkin seeds
- Flax seeds
- Bagel pieces (plain or flavored)
- Soaked sunflower seeds
- Water crackers
- Tortilla chips
- Wheat crisps
- Non-sugar cereal
- Toasted, coarsely chopped nuts
Tell me in the comments: What store-bought items do you use that you wish you could make at home? Is there anything is particular that you buy from the store that you fine bland and flavorless?
- Old bread, or one of the above mentioned ingredients
- Dried herbs, spices, or other dry flavorings you enjoy
- Whether you’re using a whole loaf, half loaf, or a few slices, tear the bread into 1-inch chunks. If you're using something other than bread, crumble your crumb fodder into small pieces. Set them in a bowl and tuck them away somewhere in the cupboard and let them sit for four days.
- They should be perfectly stale, but not hard as rocks. Place the chunks in a food processor, 1 cup at a time (doing too much at once results in some being whizzed to powder and others not getting chopped at all). Pulse a few times, add a pinch of good quality salt and pepper, and pulse a few times more. You want the chunks to break into coarse crumbs of various sizes from larger bits to tiny grains. You do not want to pulverize your crumbs into a fine powder.
- Spread the crumbs in a single layer on a baking sheet and allow to sit out overnight to let out any excess moisture.
- Place the breadcrumb in an airtight container. The breadcrumbs should taste perfectly fresh for about a month.
- Note: you can toss your bread crumbs with some dried herbs, ground spices, dried citrus zest, or grated hard cheese if you’d like to season them. Go crazy, have fun!