I have had a very hard time finding breadcrumbs that I can buy. Not very many varieties of bread (especially sandwich bread) have egg in them, but for some reason, most breadcrumbs do contain egg. This is a conundrum to me. But as a result, we seldom make recipes that require breadcrumbs, because of how difficult it is to find them.
On a slightly different topic, Kal recently decided that he no longer wanted crusts on his bread. I tried very hard not to accommodate this request, hoping the pickiness would go away. He would take a few bites at home, but he eats lunch at preschool three days each week. I finally caved on the crust front when Kal’s crusts would return home from preschool with at least 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch of sandwich still attached. At least when I cut off the crust, I can cut off only the crust.
These seemingly-unrelated elements of our lives continued for some time, until I was browsing school lunch ideas online last fall. Someone shared a picture of a sandwich cut into a fun shape, and they mentioned that they save the bread scraps to make breadcrumbs.
Aha! I could save Kal’s crusts (instead of eating them myself) and make egg-free breadcrumbs out of our egg-free bread! Why didn’t I ever think of that before?
We started saving Kal’s crusts in the freezer, and this past week I decided it was getting full and we needed to make some breadcrumbs out of them. So I did!
Homemade Seasoned Breadcrumbs
As with most homemade foods, this is cheaper than the store-bought variety (not to mention having a smaller ingredient list), but is also more time-intensive. It was pretty easy to do, though.
Place allergy-friendly bread (slices or, in our case, crusts) on a cookie sheet, spread out in one layer. (If using frozen bread/crusts, allow to thaw first so you won’t have freezer moisture messing up your bread.)
Place in a 300 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, or until crisp, flipping over at the halfway point. (I checked mine every 5 minutes, thinking it might take less time since it was only thin strips, but I still dried it out for about 12 1/2 minutes. In fact, I had several pieces that just smushed, so I probably needed to let mine cook a little longer.)
Allow to cool. This does not take long.
Break the bread into coarse or fine crumbs, depending on your recipe and preference. You can use a food processor, although I opted for a ziplock bag and a rolling pin, because I didn’t want to clean the food processor.
My big tray of bread crusts turned into about 1 2/3 cup of breadcrumbs.
You can be finished at this point, if you want plain breadcrumbs. Use them right away, or make sure they’re completely cool and dry before storing in an airtight container.
However, if you want your breadcrumbs to be seasoned, try the following:
1 tsp salt
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp basil
3/4 tsp garlic powder
Add to breadcrumbs and mix together.
I was very happy with this result. It was quite tasty, and we even added a little to our salads as a garnish for extra flavor.
If you’re wondering what dish we used these on, hubby made Chicken Parmesan!
What’s your favorite recipe that involves breadcrumbs?