What You'll Need
- Stale bread (1-2 days old at least)
- Food processor, mini chopper or very poweful blender
- Zip lock bags for storage
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Fresh breadcrumbs, whether toasted (dried or left soft) are a wonderful way to use up leftover and stale bread. They're perfect for meatloaves, rissoles, meatballs and stuffing's as well as coating food for frying. I also mix them with herbs and a little melted butter, and use them as toppings for baked lamb, chicken, and fish fillets. You can make them toasted or untoasted. The toasted are referred to as dried, the untoasted as fresh. They can also be frozen in zip lock bags till required.
- Tear the bread into pieces and place in a food processor, chopper or blender. (You can either add the crusts as well or cut them off. Leaving the crusts on will give your fresh breadcrumbs a darker colour. If you want pure white breadcrumbs, remove the crusts first.)
- Process the bread until the pieces are completely broken down, to the consistency of coarse grains - about 1-2 minutes. The more you process, the finer the crumbs will be.
- Place the breadcrumbs in measured amounts, (1 cup per bag is a good amount to work with) into zip lock bags. Label the bags and freeze till required. Allow crumbs to thaw before using, this will take between 5-10 minutes per bag.
To Make Dried Breadcrumbs
- Preheat the oven at 150°C on a Fan Forced setting.
- Place the slices on a baking tray or a cookie slide, and place on the centre rack in a preheated low oven.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until slices feel brittle and snap when broken in half. A fan forced setting will speed the process.
- Alternatively you can toast the bread slices in a toaster.
- Tear the bread into pieces and place in a food processor, chopper or blender, crusts as well. As the colour of the toasted bread is already brown, leaving the crusts on will not affect this.
- Process the bread until the pieces are completely broken down, to the consistency of coarse grains - about 1-2 minutes.
- Place the breadcrumbs in measured amounts, (1 cup per bag is a good amount to work with) into zip lock bags. Label the bags and freeze till required. Dried breadcrumbs don't completely freeze because the water content has been removed. They will retain crumbly and can be used straight from the freezer.
- Add dried herbs of your choice to the processor, or rub the slices of bread with cloves of peeled and sliced garlic before processing the bread into crumbs.
- Use breadcrumbs, mixed with grated parmesan and chopped fresh herbs as a crust on baked meats.
- Dried breadcrumbs will keep in the cupboard in an airtight container for several weeks, or several months in the freezer.