Whenever a recipe called for breadcrumbs I found myself hunting around the back of the cupboards looking for my tub of shop-bought ones. Although I still have them as a store cupboard standby, I decided it was about time I figured out the different methods on how to make breadcrumbs myself.
What Are The Different Types?
Fresh breadcrumbs are the main ingredient in bread sauce. They are also used to thicken up recipes and can be particularly useful if you want to make soup thicker, as well as gravy, curries, stews and other sauces. As they are fresh, they absorb liquid and swell up, making them a great thickener when you don’t want to use flour or cornflour.
Fresh breadcrumbs are also used to bind together meat when making meatballs and homemade burgers.
Dried breadcrumbs are what you would usually buy at a supermarket (they can be found near the gravy granules!) They are normally used for coating foods such as chicken nuggets, chicken kievs and breaded fish. When they are coated in oil and either deep-fried or cooked in an air fryer, they crisp up and give those foods that lovely crunchy feel and taste.
Why Make Them From Scratch?
Store-bought breadcrumbs are definitely convenient – I use them quite a bit still, I don’t always have the time, or the bread (!) to make breadcrumbs by hand. But, when I can, the benefits of homemade breadcrumbs are plentiful;
- Lower food waste by using up old bread
- Reduce the extra additives and unnecessary ingredients that are often added to shop made breadcrumbs (this of course depends on the bread you use!)
- Create some interesting new flavours to breadcrumbs by adding in your favourite seasoning – I love making spicy breadcrumbs!
How Are Breadcrumbs Made?
The best way to make breadcrumbs from scratch is to use bread that is at least a day old, preferably 2 days. If the bread is slightly hard it will be easier to process and turn into crumbs. If it is too fresh the breadcrumbs won’t be that crunchy and will likely stick together.
If you don’t have any ‘old’ bread and you really want to make your own breadcrumbs then you can lightly toast the bread.
Making Fresh Breadcrumbs
Roughly tear up the 2 slices of bread and put them in a food processor and pulse until the bread has broken down to the size you want them to be. For finer breadcrumbs, blitz them for a bit longer.
Storing Fresh Breadcrumbs – fresh breadcrumbs are usually used straightaway for the dish you are making. If you do want to store them for another time you will need to put them in a container suitable for the freezer. You can keep them in the freezer for up to 3 months, just defrost them when you need to use them for a recipe.
Making Dried Breadcrumbs
Preheat an oven to 150C. Follow the same process as for fresh breadcrumbs, tearing up the bread and blitzing it in a food processor, then lay them out on a baking tray. Cook in the oven for about 3 to 5 minutes, take them out and give them a good shake, return to the oven for a further 3 to 5 minutes.
Storing Dried Breadcrumbs – you can store them in an airtight container for about 1 month without the need to freeze them.
How Do You Make Breadcrumbs Without A Food Processor?
If you want to make breadcrumbs by hand, it is possible to make them this way. Place the bread in a sandwich bag and break it up with a rolling pin, using both the end of the rolling pin, as well as using it to roll over the bread.
Alternatively, you can use a grater to turn the bread into breadcrumbs – just watch out for your fingers!