Knowing how to make homemade bread crumbs can come in handy, both as a way to deal with unused bread and as a way to ensure that you always have a supply on hand. If you make your crumbs from healthy bread, you get healthy bread crumbs, which could be a notable improvement over what you can find ready made.
Here in France a steady stream of baguettes is processed through the typical household. At least one
baguette a day. Not all of it is always eaten. So it gets fed to birds and other animals, made into
bread pudding, or more
than likely, tossed out. For me though, the best solution has been to make it into something I use
frequently in recipes: homemade bread crumbs, called chapelure around here.
Learning how to make bread crumbs is not only good for the French household however, as I imagine any home sees a fair amount of bread go unused. Please note that while it is ok to use stale bread (bread that has lost it's original moisture), moldy bread is of course unfit to be eaten.
Whenever I have a couple of days worth of leftover bread sitting about, it's time to make a few crumbs. The whole process is dead easy and I am always grateful when I can reach into my freezer for just the right ingredient.
Making Homemade Bread Crumbs
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cut whatever leftover bread you are using into chunks. If you wish, you can remove the crusts, which
will give you a more consistently textured crumb. (I don't bother myself - kind of hard to remove just the crust from a baguette!)
Spread the chunks out on a baking tray and place in a 200°F oven for 30 minutes or until they are thoroughly dried out and turning a bit golden.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
Use a food processor to grind the cooled chunks into crumbs (takes about 1 minute on high and you may need to pulse it a bit to get things started).
Pour the crumbs into freezer bags, date and freeze until ready to use. You can keep it in the freezer for up to three months.
What to Do With Bread Crumbs
Mix them with hamburger to add extra texture to meat loaf or meat balls.
Mix them with seasonings (herbs, spices, lemon zest, parmesan cheese, sesame seeds, etc.) and use them as a
topping for casseroles and other baked dishes, as in this Salmon Casserole
and this Seafood Casserole.
Dredge meat or vegetables in flour, then egg, and finally in bread crumbs before deep fat frying or baking. The bread crumbs form a crunchy barrier, keeping the food moist and hopefully not letting too much oil in. Try one of these yummy French recipes that make good use of this technique: