Bread crumbs are a widely used kitchen staple. While we’ve all bought them at some point or another, you might be surprised at just how easy they are to make at home, not to mention how much money you will save. Bread crumbs aren’t particularly expensive, in the $2-$4 range, but if you have a tight budget or like to spend as little as possible making them at home is arguably free.
So, how are they free, you ask? You know those end slices on a loaf of bread no one wants to eat and are often left until they mold or are thrown out. Those are your bread crumb ingredients. You can obviously use the other slices, other types of bread, etc, but those two end pieces of a loaf are so often overlooked and perfect for this use.
There are only two steps to making basic bread crumbs, the first of which can be skipped entirely if you are using them in a recipe with wet ingredients.
1. Toast your bread.
Use a toaster or anything else you prefer, keep it simple. As stated above, you can skip this step if you are mixing your bread crumbs with wet ingredients as it won’t make any sort of difference if they are toasted or not.
If you are using unsliced bread, you can either slice it and toast or tear it into smallish pieces and bake it in the oven on 350 for 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of your torn bread. If you bake it, adding butter, olive oil and/or spices can add to the flavor.
2. Toss into a food processor or chopper and pulse for a few seconds.
Don’t let this step set you back, as much as I would like one, I don’t have a fancy food processor. I do have a food chopper that I paid a whopping $9 for that I use for everything from bread crumbs to peanut butter to salsa. It’s itty bitty and it doesn’t do the fancy things to veg a food processor can, but on a budget it is a very well spent $9. If using a chopper you will have to tear the slice into pieces.
That’s it, you have your arguably free bread crumbs of just the right, uniform size, toasted or not. I’ve found a normal slice of bread is generally about 1/2 cup of bread crumbs, if you’re using another type of bread, estimate around that size.
While this is easy enough to do each time you need bread crumbs, and more economical as you replenish a loaf of bread, you have new ends, you might want to make some ahead for a larger project like Thanksgiving. If you do make these ahead of time and store them, I reccomend freezing them, as they don’t have to be toasted to freeze, and will last up to 6 months in the freezer. Plain, untoasted bread crumbs will last about a week in your pantry. Please note, don’t expect to store bread crumbs which you have use oil or butter on in the pantry. If you want to keep them longer in your pantry, then make sure the toasting has dried the bread throughout. If you chop the bread and find some of it is still soft, then place all of the bread crumbs on a baking sheet and return them to the oven. If the bread has been dried thoroughly, they should last for 3-6 months in an air tight container the pantry.
1 week in pantry
3-6 months in the freezer
3-6 months in the pantry
6 months in the freezer