Bread crumbs are one of those indispensable ingredients. They give gratins and casseroles their attractive topping, they give meatloaf its consistent texture, and they give fried chicken its trademark crunch. To accommodate these various roles, bread crumbs come in two styles: fresh (soft) or dried.
As the name implies, fresh, or soft, bread crumbs are fluffier and softer than their dried counterparts. Because of their consistency, they are frequently used as a binder in meatloaf and dumplings, or as a topping for gratins and casseroles. Dried bread crumbs, on the other hand, are finer and crisper than the fresh variety. Their crisp texture makes them perfect for breading meat and seafood. With the addition of herbs and spices, each variety can be transformed into seasoned bread crumbs.
Any good bread can serve as the raw material for bread crumbs, though a firm bread of good quality, like sourdough, French, or Italian, works best. The bread should also be relatively fresh. Stale bread is not what you’re looking for here – unless of course you want stale bread crumbs.
Making your own bread crumbs is quick and easy, and adds exponentially more color and flavor than the bread crumbs found in tubes of your supermarket aisle.
These are my methods for making:
Homemade Bread Crumbs
PREP TIME: 5 minutes
COOK TIME: 5 minutes
YIELD: 2 cups
WHAT TO GRAB:
6 to 8 slices of Sourdough, French, or Italian bread
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil (optional)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons parsley, finely chopped
2 teaspoons thyme, finely chopped
1 teaspoon rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
HOW YOU DO IT:
FRESH BREAD CRUMBS
Remove the crusts from the slices. Throw four of the slices into a food processor, and pulse for about 10 to 15 seconds. Remove the bread crumbs to a plate, and repeat with the remaining slices.
SAUTÉED, FRESH BREAD CRUMBS
Some toppings call for sautéed bread crumbs. To sauté fresh bread crumbs, heat butter or olive oil over medium heat (1 tablespoon of either for every cup of bread crumbs). When the butter or oil is hot, add the bread crumbs, tossing until evenly coated. Sauté the crumbs until they are golden brown, and then allow them to cool. The longer the crumbs cool, the crisper they will be.
DRIED BREAD CRUMBS
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. With the crusts removed, lay the bread slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake the slices until they are completely dry and lightly toasted. The baking time varies depending on the freshness of bread. But generally, you should bake them for 10 to 20 minutes, turning the slices over half-way through. Once the slices have cooled to room temperature, process the slices in a food processor.
SEASONED, DRIED BREAD CRUMBS
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Cut 6 slices of the bread, including the crusts, into 1/2-inch pieces. In a large mixing bowl, toss the diced bread with 3tb oil, and the parsley, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Mix the ingredients thoroughly, so that the bread is coated with the oil and seasonings. Bake for 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. Once the cubes have cooled to room temperature, process the cubes in a food processor.
These bread crumbs are perfect for making Mozzarella Stuffed Tomatoes.