While using the canned stuff in a pinch will certainly get you the desired results, there's nothing like the fresh out-of-the-oven golden deliciousness provided by your own homemade breadcrumbs.
Traditionally, white bread is ideal for breadcrumbs. You'll want to use day-old bread that's slightly dried out, but not too hard or turning different colors. If you don't quite finish your loaf from dinner one night, you can throw it in a re-sealable bag and toss it in the freezer until you need crumbs. If you have a fresh loaf, toasting the bread can get you to the golden-brown homeland.
4 slices of bread will yield about 2 cups of breadcrumbs.
If using day-old bread
Tear the bread into small pieces and toss it into a food processor. At this point, you have delicious fluffy breadcrumbs that can be used as a binder, for things like meatballs or meatloaf or as a delicious topper for your casserole (just don't forget to toss with butter).
If the recipe calls for toasted breadcrumbs, evenly distribute the processed crumbs on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees, stirring occasionally. Remove once the crumbs are brown and dry, after about 10 minutes. Drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toasted breadcrumbs are best for crispy fried items or baked versions of your favorite fried items, like chicken tenders or "fried" pickles.
If you don't have a food processor
Getting the fluffy bread crumbs will be hard without a food processor, but you can certainly get delicious toasted crumbs without the extra appliance. Just place the slices of bread in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake until toasted. Place the toasted bread into a re-sealable bag and take out some frustration on them (and by that I mean, beat them with a rolling pin until crumbs are formed).
Toss with any of these tasty options for different spins on your favorite breadcrumbs.
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning + 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder for Italian breadcrumbs
- Fresh chopped herbs (basil for something Italian, thyme or rosemary for something roasted)
- Grated Parmesan
- Lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (for something zesty...think a baked chili mac and cheese)
The options are endless, really!
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