It’s rare for anyone to bring home a gorgeous loaf of bread and somehow not manage to eat the whole thing themselves. I’ve tried quite a few times, and honestly, I don’t know how anyone can do it. On the off chance I do end up with an extra bit of bread — perhaps some crusts, or the little piece at the end I like calling “the bread butt” — I toss it in a bag in the freezer. Then, when my freezer is full of bread butts, I make breadcrumbs.
How to Make Your Own Breadcrumbs
Whether you use old bread from the freezer or bought a fresh loaf specifically for the purpose of making breadcrumbs, the process is mostly the same. Here’s how you do it.
1. Cut Your Bread Into Small Pieces
The pieces don’t need to be even or precise — just take your handy dandy serrated knife and cut the bread up into small chunks, then spread them out on a baking sheet.
If you’re using the “frozen bread” method, cut up your bread before you stick it in the freezer to save yourself time and energy later.
Leave them out on the counter or in a cold oven overnight to dry out; alternatively, you can set your oven at 250 degrees and bake your bread for 15 to 30 minutes until it’s dry and crumbly.
2. Grind Up Your Bread
Time to break out the food processor! For fine breadcrumbs, just toss the bread in and grind away. If you’d like something coarser, like panko, fill the processor bowl only about one-third of the way, then pulse the bread until it’s just as you like it. Some people like to season their breadcrumbs, but I think it’s best to keep them plain, so that you can season them specially for every recipe you use them in.
3. Store Your Breadcrumbs
In a bag in the freezer, breadcrumbs can last six months or more (as if you’re not going to use them within days). You can also store them in a tightly lidded container in a cool, dark place for about a month until they lose their “fresh” flavor.
How to Use Your Breadcrumbs
Breadcrumbs are good for so much more than breading and frying! Toast them on the stove with a little bit of olive oil to sprinkle on top of pastas or salads for crunch. Mix them with a bit of sugar and butter to make an easy press-in pie crust.