Ok, I know no-one really needs a ‘recipe’ for making breadcrumbs. But, given people still buy a lot of ready made breadcrumbs, there’s obviously a market there! So think of this more as a reminder that firstly, having a stash of delicious, crunchy, homemade breadcrumbs is incredibly easy; and secondly, that there are so many things you can do with them!
The process I follow is to save any ends of crusty loaves until they dry out, then stash them in a big ziplock bag until I have a bag full. Once I have enough to fill a tray, I break them into similar sized pieces and pop them in the oven while I’m baking something else at a moderate temperature (or use the residual heat if I’m baking something on high like bread or pizza) until they’re golden brown.
I cool them on the tray, then blitz them in the food processor until reasonably fine but with a few bigger pieces (we’re not aiming for powdered here), and store in a big jar. If you have sliced sandwich bread I would process and store separately as it will make much finer, less ‘rubbly’ crumbs.
I use these for coating salmon patties, chicken breasts etc, but also for frying briefly with olive oil and garlic and tossing through spinach or broccoli, sprinkling over casseroles, frying with garlic, chilli and anchovies and using to top pasta or risotto, and even reconstituting with milk and adding to meatballs and burgers.
Compared to bought ones they have much better crunch and flavour, and if you use sourdough bread, a touch of that lovely sourness. It goes without saying that you also get that virtuous feeling from making something delicious out of leftovers that might have ended up in the compost or bin! So next time you find that bit of stale bread, give it a try 🙂