The time has "crumb" to make homemade breadcrumbs!
Thanksgiving will soon be here and one of the things I’m looking forward to cooking and eating is stuffing! My favorite? Sage and onion – mm hmm, love it! But I don’t love the prices the stores charge for breadcrumbs.
Also, I am a little freaked out by the number of ingredients in the store-bought breadcrumbs. You would think that breadcrumbs were pretty simple, but here’s the ingredient list from a well-known brand of breadcrumbs:
Bread Crumbs (Enriched Flour [Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid], High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil [Soybean and/or Cottonseed and/or Corn and/or Canola], Water, Salt, Contains 2% or Less of: Yeast, Honey, Molasses, Sugar, Wheat Gluten, Whey, Soy Flour, Whole Wheat Flour, Rye Flour, Corn Flour, Oat Bran, Corn Meal, Rice Flour, Potato Flour, Butter, Dough Conditioners [Mono- and Diglycerides, Sodium and/or Calcium Stearoyl Lactylate, Soy Lecithin, Calcium Carbonate], Yeast Nutrients [Ammonium Sulfate, Calcium Sulfate, Monocalcium Phosphate], Vinegar, Nonfat Milk, Buttermilk, Lactic Acid, Calcium Propionate and Potassium Sorbate [Preservatives], Sesame Seeds), Oat Flour, Sunflower Seeds, Egg.
That's a lot of ingredients, but take a look at the bold ones in particular. Notice that it contains high fructose corn syrup and corn syrup, plus the inclusion of “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” means that it contains trans fats. Not good!
So the challenge is to make healthier breadcrumbs, cheaply and quickly – can it be done?
What you need
Stale bread or bread that is going stale is ideal.
If you have no old bread (a very common situation in the Frugalitude house!) then you could always whip up a quick “no-knead” loaf which has only 3 ingredients: flour, yeast and water.
What to do
Just follow these simple steps:
Slice the bread, if it’s not already sliced.
Remove the crusts from the slices.
Cut bread into cubes.
If you want smaller breadcrumbs you can throw the bread cubes into a food processor and pulse until you get the size you want.
How much time?
Only a few minutes to cut and cube the bread. And then another minute or two in the food processor if you want smaller crumbs.
Low. Although I can buy breadcrumbs for about $0.10, I can make the same amount of breadcrumbs using my No-Knead bread recipe for about $0.05.
Is it worth it?
Making your own breadcrumbs is totally worth it so it gets a 5-pig grading.
A few minutes to cut and cube the bread can save you money. Plus, it’s a great way to use up old bread and be sure that what you are eating is good for you.
Anything else I should know?
Can I freeze breadcrumbs?
Not only are breadcrumbs very easy to make, they freeze well too. Just remember to label them with the date and use them within 3 months.
What about Panko breadcrumbs? How can I make them?
To make authentic Panko breadcrumbs is surprisingly complicated and involves cooking the bread with electricity. Alton Brown explains the process very simply in this short video.
However, it is possible to make a really close approximation by following these simple steps:
Make sure the breadcrumbs are on the smaller side and then spread them out on a baking sheet.
Bake the crumbs at 300˚F (150˚C) for about 6 - 8 minutes.
Shake the baking sheet a couple of times during the baking time. The crumbs need to be dry, not toasted or browned.
Once dried, remove the breadcrumbs from the oven and allow them to cool.
Use them in place of Panko breadcrumbs in your recipe.
The breadcrumbs can be frozen in a sealed freezer bag for up to 3 months.
Can I make croutons from old bread too?
Yes you can, and it's very simple:
Just take the cubed bread, put it in a bowl and drizzle it with olive or vegetable oil.
Then place the cubed bread onto a baking sheet.
Sprinkle with salt or whatever seasoning you prefer. For example, garlic powder or Italian herbs.
Bake at 350˚F (180˚C) for about 15 minutes. About half-way through the baking stir the bread around to make sure it's baking evenly.
So will you be making your own breadcrumbs for your Thanksgiving or Christmas stuffing? If so, what’s your favorite stuffing recipe?