Feb 19
2012

How to Make Breadcrumbs: Plain, Whole Wheat & Seasoned

How-to-Make-Breadcrumbs-Plain-Whole-Wheat-&-Seasoned-Cookin-Canuck

Last week I re-introduced my How-To series with a post on How to: Roast Garlic. Having staples, such as roasted garlic and homemade breadcrumbs, on hand makes meal preparation that much easier and more efficient. That roasted garlic, besides being eaten smeared on some crackers with roasted red peppers, was put to good use in my new lunchtime favorite, Frittata with Pancetta, Mushrooms & Roasted Garlic.

Another essential ingredient that I keep tucked away in my freezer is homemade breadcrumbs. Sure, it’s easy to buy containers of breadcrumbs at the grocery store, but you can save some precious dimes and be rewarded with a much tastier product if you make them yourself. I promise that it doesn’t take long. Plus, it’s a great way to use up those dried pieces of bread that would otherwise be headed for the garbage can.

Simply pulse the dried bread (I’ll walk you through the method to dry out the bread) in a food processor until it reaches the desired consistency. That’s it! If you want to pre-mix and store your breadcrumbs with spices and herbs, that will make dinner prep even more efficient. Think how easy it would be to lay some tilapia in a baking dish, toss some pre-seasoned breadcrumbs with olive oil, top the fish with the mixture and bake the whole thing in the oven. Dinner will be ready in less than 20 minutes. Now you KNOW you want to pre-make those breadcrumbs!

How to do it:
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Cut the crusts off the bread, if desired. If you prefer more variation in color for your breadcrumbs, leave on the crusts.

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Lay the bread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once the bread is dry and barely starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool.

If your bread has been sitting around for a couple of days, it will likely not be necessary to dry it in the oven. Remember, you can use dry bread, but not stale bread. Stale bread means stale breadcrumbs and, trust me, nobody wants that!

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Break the bread into 1 to 2 inch pieces and place in the bowl of a food processor. You may need to do this in two batches.

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Pulse until the breadcrumbs reach the desired consistency. I like my breadcrumbs to have a mixture of pebble-sized pieces as well as finely ground crumbs, but use whatever consistency suits your needs the best.

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The breadcrumbs will stay fresh in the pantry for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 6 months, provided they are packaged in an airtight container or heavy-duty freezer bags.

Whole Wheat Breadcrumbs:
Breadcrumbs can be made from almost any type of bread. You can use pieces of baguette, sourdough or even rye bread. If you are looking for a whole grain option, use your favorite whole wheat bread, following the same process outlined above.

Seasoned Breadcrumbs:
To make dinner prep even easier, stir various herbs and spices into the breadcrumbs and store in separate freezer bags. Depending on the flavors you like, the sky’s the limit. Here are a few ideas:

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For all of these variations, start with the basic mixture of 2 cups breadcrumbs, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.

Italian breadcrumbs: Mix in 1 teaspoon dried basil and 1 teaspoon dried oregano into the basic mixture.
Southwestern breadcrumbs: Stir 3/4 teaspoon chile powder and 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin into the basic mixture.
Spanish-style breadcrumbs: Stir 1 teaspoon smoked paprika into the basic mixture.
French-style breadcrumbs: Stir 1 1/2 teaspoon Herbes de Provence (typically a mix of savory, basil, fennel, thyme & lavender) into the basic mixture.

I’d love to hear about your favorite mixtures.

Recipes using breadcrumbs:
Cookin’ Canuck’s Black Bean Patties with Avocado & Tomato Salsa
Cookin’ Canuck’s Baked Teriyaki Turkey Meatballs
First Look, Then Cook’s Stuffed Zucchini with Cheesy Breadcrumbs
What Would Cathy Eat’s Pasta with Zucchini, Chickpeas & Gremolata Breadcrumbs
Bitchin’ Camero’s Leek & Gruyere Quiche with Bacon Breadcrumbs

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 claudia lamascolo/aka pegasuslegend February 19, 2012 at 4:47 pm

nice job Dara that’s the only way to go, homemade been doing this since 1970 something)

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2 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) February 19, 2012 at 9:25 pm

You’re so right, Claudia. Nothing can replace the taste or texture of fresh breadcrumbs.

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3 Cassie February 19, 2012 at 5:12 pm

What a fabulous post. So very useful. I always keep breadcrumbs on hand but this is one of those things that would just obviously be better homemade. They look amazing!

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4 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) February 19, 2012 at 9:26 pm

Every time I make fresh breadcrumbs, I’m reminded of how quick and easy the process is. I vow not to buy grocery store breadcrumbs whenever I can help it (with the exception of panko breadcrumbs).

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5 Megan Pence @CountryCleaver February 19, 2012 at 6:26 pm

I love all the variations – never would have imagined that you could make something other than garlic or italian herb!

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6 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) February 19, 2012 at 9:26 pm

Thanks, Megan! I love playing with different flavors to keep our meals interesting. I hope you enjoy some of these variations.

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7 madge @ vegetariancasserolequeen February 19, 2012 at 8:10 pm

The local ducks at the park will be so sad! These sound great…especially the southwestern version!

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8 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) February 19, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Ha! Indeed, poor ducks. I am trying to save the crusts for them.

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9 Maureen February 19, 2012 at 8:47 pm

I always make my own bread and after a day I toss what’s left in the freezer and then on a day I feel particularly ambitious I pull the bread out and make croutons or bread crumbs.

I never thought about refreezing the crumbs! duh! I use what I can and then I’ve been tossing them.

Brilliant post, thanks a lot. :)

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10 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) February 19, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Thank you, Maureen. I’m so glad you found this post useful!

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11 Asiya February 19, 2012 at 10:29 pm

Great tutorial! I never thought of making my own breadcrumbs before…looking forward to seeing the difference once I give it a try!

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12 Deborah February 20, 2012 at 6:59 am

I have a bag in my freezer that I always throw leftover bread or the heels of the loaf of bread into, so I can make breadcrumbs whenever needed. I love the flavored breadcrumbs you’ve made, though – definitely need to try all of those!

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13 Frank February 20, 2012 at 7:19 am

Dara,

I love this “how to” series! You should write a book like “How to Cook Everything”—oh, wait… maybe you’ll need to find another title…

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14 Cooking with Michele February 20, 2012 at 8:01 am

I’ve been making homemade breadcrumbs for years – can’t remember the last time I had to buy any. But I don’t freeze mine – rather, I took my lead from how I saw them do it in Italy, leaving scraps of bread from the prior days’ meals in small chunks in a basket to completely dry out, then grinding them up in my food processor and storing them in an airtight container. I use them quickly enough (within a few months) that I’ve never had them go stale on me. Oddly, I’ve never thought to season them so will try that next time!

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15 Rachel @ Baked by Rachel February 20, 2012 at 8:36 am

Oh the southwestern variety – yum!!! This is a great tip :)

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16 Jackie Thompson February 20, 2012 at 10:40 am

I usually freeze our stale bread to make dressing, since turkey dinners with lots of dressing, are a real favorite with my gang. I’ve also been making breadcrumbs for years, but never thought to season them. What a great idea!

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17 Barbara | Creative Culinary February 20, 2012 at 11:40 am

In Denver it matters little how I try to protect bread I make, some of it will always get overly dry. I used to lament that until I realized…breadcrumbs! Now I’ve typically got a stash on hand of a couple of different kinds. Last week it was half a loaf of a roasted garlic bread that had been sitting on the counter too long. Those are yummy.

But I’ve not taken to adding seasonings…great idea.

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18 kelley February 20, 2012 at 1:01 pm

They are so simple to make but I think breadcrumbs can be daunting to many people. This is a great tutorial for those who haven’t made them before. Great ideas for flavoring them as well! Well done, Dara!

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19 Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking February 20, 2012 at 2:29 pm

I love homemade breadcrumbs and your simple guidelines to flavoring them! Great post, Dara. Thanks for sharing!

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20 Steve @ the black peppercorn February 20, 2012 at 6:29 pm

bread crumbs are so easy to make and we always have bread drying out around here and it is perfect for bread crumbs. I have never stored them in the freezer. That is a great idea dara!!

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21 Kirby February 20, 2012 at 10:59 pm

oh, i tried before and its so easy hahaha..
so how about the toasted bread?

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22 Jen at The Three Little Piglets February 21, 2012 at 6:42 am

I use our bread ends for that since nobody, and I mean NOBODY, in my family likes to eat them. Fresh bread crumbs are super easy and taste way better too!

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23 Lora @cakeduchess February 22, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Love this post, Dara. My mother-in-law uses the older bread to make her own breadcrumbs. The flavor is superior to storebought and you forget how easy it is to make. Love your variety of breadcrumb ideas;)

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24 Russell van Kraayenburg February 26, 2012 at 4:12 pm

I’m liking these different types of breadcrumbs. Every time I make bread cumbs I seem to go to the same old recipe every time. I’m going to try these and more now. I don’t know why I didn’t think of something so simple!

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25 Stephanie K May 13, 2013 at 10:40 pm

We only eat whole wheat bread and these are hard to find at the store and when you do it’s $$$$$$$$$. I used the italian version tonight. It was so easy and perfect for the healthy cooking I’ve been doing. Luv it!

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