Do you make your own bread crumbs? I confess I am guilty of buying crumbs in my earlier days. In fact, I remember when my son was small and my MIL came over and was shocked to see the store-bought crumbs in the fridge. But in my defense, I didn’t have a food processor and a blender was a bit ridiculous. I was reduced to trying to smash them with a rolling pin in a baggie. Have you ever tried to coat chicken with “bread chunks?” Not quite the same, hence the container of *gasp* store-bought crumbs.
When I finally did get a processor, it was a $30 model because, come on, if you just want to make crumbs (and pesto) they should all be able to do that, right? Wrong. It was loud and made chunks the size of gravel. Sheesh, I had managed to do that with my rolling pin.
A few years later I coughed up $50 for a “name brand” model (which shall remain nameless, though it starts with a K and ends with an S…). This time the “crumbs” were the size of rock salt, but they were a little more usable, so I stuck with this for a few years because I had paid $50 for it. However, I had to make pesto in the blender because this processor left large pieces of basil in the pesto. Kinda looked like we were spreading grass mixed with oil on our bread. Then one day I watched a cooking show where they made bread crumbs with this:
And my food processing life was never the same. The chef simply put the torn bread pieces in the machine, turned it on for a few seconds and, voila! The most beautiful, fine, crumbs – just like the ones I used to buy. Ah – it could be done at home! And when I made crumbs with it for the first time? Success. Finally.
Apparently the right tool can make the difference. So I recommend the same 7-cup model Cuisinart I bought, but you can certainly buy a bigger model if you need it. I like this size as it seems the most flexible to me- not to big and unwieldy, but not too small, either.
So, on to bread crumbs, now that I’m an expert crumb maker and all. Here are some tips when it comes to what to make your crumbs from:
- It’s simplest to put bread ends and pieces in a container/baggie as you get them that you keep in the freezer.
- Learning to bake bread coming up with so-so bread? Keep these “mistakes” in the freezer as well instead of throwing them away (for example, the rolls in the middle picture were made WITHOUT SALT. Yes, it happens and trust me, completely unsalted bread is just flavorless ).
- Go through the cupboard and find any old, opened packages of crackers as stale crackers are fine in crumbs.
- You can even made crumbs from a cereal you tried but didn’t like to use in fruit crisp toppings. Make sure to package them separately, though with a nice, big, “For Crisps” label, because cinnamon in your Parmesan Rice Cakes would not be so great.
As for how to make bread crumbs, it couldn’t be simpler. Well, with the right tool it seems.
How to make bread crumbs:
1. Tear up the pieces of bread into the processor bowl (I don’t even defrost the bread if it’s frozen before I whir it up) and add any other bread items you’ve got saved up.
2. Whir until finely and evenly chopped. Isn’t this a beautiful thing? Whoa -these are nice crumbs!
3. Season or not. I usually leave mine unseasoned because I like to be able to seasoning, if needed, according to the recipe I’m going to use. If you do want to add basic seasoning, add the following and whir to distribute:
- 1 tsp. each salt and pepper
- 1/2 tsp. each onion and garlic powder
- 1 Tb. dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp. basil, oregano, and/or thyme (as desired)
4. Store the crumbs in a freezer-safe container or bag labeled with the date (and if they are seasoned). They last, well, I’ve never actually had them go bad, but I hesitate to say forever. How about a long time?
I’ve found I love having them in the freezer and am glad I will never have to (guiltily) buy them again. Do you make bread crumbs?
Interested in other frugal tips? Check out LifeasMOM.com‘s Frugal Friday.
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