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Making Homemade Bread Crumbs

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Bread CrustsAs some of you may know, I volunteer at Meals on Wheels every Tuesday morning. One of the perks of donating two hours each week is that I sometimes take home a meal, when there are extras, and I often get a bag of bread loaf ends, that would otherwise get thrown out. I was talking with Rhonda, our Meals on Wheels kitchen coordinator extraordinaire (among other good things), and she recommended that I turn them into breadcrumbs. I only started taking the ends last week and I’ve just been eating them, making breadcrumbs is so much more exciting!

Homemade Bread Crumb Recipe

I feel silly calling it a recipe because it’s really really easy. All you do is take your bread and make them on a baking sheet at 300 degrees for ten or fifteen minutes. Halfway through, flip them so each side gets dried out evenly. You don’t want to burn them, just toast a bit of the moisture out. Once their nice and toasty, remove them, break them up a little, and put them in your food processor. Give it a bunch of pulses until you get it to the consistency you like.

On what bread to use: Use anything. Mix it all together. Once it gets turned into bread crumbs, you won’t really notice that it was wheat, white, rye, whatever; because the pieces will be pretty small.

Adding in some spices: Rhonda said she turns them into breadcrumbs, adds in some spices, and sometimes gives them as little gifts. I think you can get very creative with breadcrumbs. Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, salt, pepper, and anything your mind can think of. I’ve read recipes that include soup mixes too (which are pretty much powdered chicken/beef stock and some spices).

Here are a few other tips:

  • Make it in big batches: We made five pieces (bread ends) worth last night for our Chicken Parm breading but the cleanup is the same as if we had made an entire loaf (washing out the food processor and the baking tray).
  • Add the spices into the processor, rather than tossing it in yourself: I was going to mix it all by hand after I pulverized the bread crust but then my brain actually kicked in and I put it in the food processor as I blended. I know it sounds obvious but it wasn’t obvious to me at first!
  • The more moisture left in the bread, the larger the pieces: If you like varying size breadcrumbs, you can leave some of the moisture in the bread and the crumbs will be of varying size. The more moist areas will stick together whereas the dry areas will break into powder very easily.
  • Let the bread cool a little: Unless you’ve managed to get all the moisture out, moisture will still emanate from the bread until it cools. This will cause a small headache in the food processor as the smaller bread particles stick to the wall of the processing bin because of the moisture in the air.
  • Get creative: Part of the fun of making your own stuff is experimenting!

Now I feel silly buying breadcrumbs (much like I felt silly buying Boboli pizza crusts!). Ever make your own homemade bread crumbs?

(Photo: collinanderson)

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12 Responses to “Making Homemade Bread Crumbs”

  1. Paige says:

    I actually just started to do this recently as well. We always end up with the 2 ends left in the bag and no one wants to eat them, so I toast the bread and then put it into my mini processor and grate it up. Then I pour it into a jelly roll pan and let them sit out over night, to make sure they are nice and dry. I keep mine in a Gladware container. Great post!

    • Kate says:

      What a great tip! My kids never want to eat the ends of the bread…I will totally be saving them now AND saving my guilt from waisting perfectly good bread, Thanks!!

  2. Beth says:

    I make my own bread crumbs because I don’t each much wheat. I use the ends of the ancient grain breads I buy (kamut, spelt and millet) and they make for some tasty homemade chicken fingers :)

  3. The ends would make fabulous bread pudding. I make mine in my slow cooker, using this recipe as a starting point:
    http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2008/08/crockpot-french-toast-bake-recipe.html

  4. Donna Freedman says:

    A woman who left a comment on the Smart Spending message board said that her grandkids wouldn’t eat the crusts from sandwiches. So when they’re at her house, she cuts the crusts off and fixes them sandwiches — and then saves the crusts in a bag in the freezer until she has enough to make bread crumbs.
    Smart.
    If the quality of the bread you’re getting is high enough (i.e., artisan or at least decent French bread vs. Wonder Bread), look for a simple bread pudding recipe on the Internet. I make a basic one and add either finely chopped apples and cinnamon or a handful of frozen blackberries (the kind I pick for free each summer). Delicious either way.

  5. Karen Datko says:

    The soup kitchen in my town makes croutons from leftover bread. They are among the best I’ve ever had. Same concept except no food processor involved.

  6. Gwen Jones says:

    Great idea. I save up pieces of bread as they accumulate (ends from each loaf of bread) and when I’ve saved up enough, I bake in a low oven and whir in the food processor. I think there are even recipes for bread crumb cookies online.

  7. Sylver says:

    Super idea that I’ve used for years when I need finger sandwiches without the crusts for parties. I’ve also used the crusts for a basis for bread and/or cornbread stuffing as well as for making croutons.
    Keep those great ideas coming!
    Best regards.

  8. casey says:

    thanks for the info. I bought a small bagguet at the farmers market and busted my darn steak knife trying to cut it. so I figured I would look into turning it into bread crumbs. I am looking forward to using them on my fried zuchinni sticks tonight. again a new attempt of mine to use up a few of the 2 dozen that wont stop growing on my 3 plants. lol. how long will bread crumbs made like this last? you never shared that part. thank you. Casey aka ” the cooking husband”.

  9. I’ve been doing this lately because I can’t bear to waste any bread.

  10. Sandy says:

    I’ve make bread crumbs using my dehydrator it works great and doesn’t heat up the kitchen in the hot summer. I save my unused bread in freezer bags until I get enough for a load it’s great and sure helps my budget. I’m trying to dry my herbs as well could sure use some help

  11. Cinbad says:

    When I lived near a Bakery Outlet I would buy loaves of bread and then lay them out on a clean window screen and let them air dry several days. Then I would put them on a clean inner paper bag or the like and pulverize them with a new clean meat tenderizer mallet. Then run a rolling pin over the crumbs to make them very small. I put them in plastic bags and sold them at the local craft fair for an organization I belonged to. This was harder then using a blender but I had plenty of crumbs for my baking needs as well.


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