Monday, December 9, 2013

Use It Up: Breadcrumbs

Many things are tossed into the garbage can when they still have lots of good life left in them. Use It Up is a section on how to use this "trash" to make new, useful items for your home or to re-purpose items to avoid a purchase. 

I'm always surprised (horrified) when someone at the bakery asks if they can buy bread crumbs. Using bread crumbs is supposed to be a way to use up the crumbs that break off the loaf while you're cutting a slice of a good rustic bread, or a way to use bread that has become hopelessly dry. Not something you buy.

Whenever I have bread that gets hard and dry (the bread I eat is preservative free, so there's often a good 1/4 of the loaf that gets dry before I can get to it), I cut it up into cubes. I let it air dry on the counter. The cubes dry quickly, especially in winter when the air is so dry. These cubes are perfect for bread pudding, strata, croutons or stuffing. I had a lot of them saved up, and wasn't feeling like making stuffing anytime soon, so I decided to make bread crumbs.

First I placed the dry bread cubes in the blender. I pulsed it for one second blasts, letting the blades come to a complete stop before pulsing again. This allows the bread crumbs to fall back against the blade, speeding up the time and keeping the motor from burning out.


Once all of the bread was in crumbles, I poured a small amount into a strainer.  I sifted out as much of the smaller crumbs as possible, and worked more through by rubbing the crumbs against the sifter. Any pieces not easily worked through were dumped into another bowl. I kept going til I got through all of the crumbs in the blender, then pulsed all of the crumbs in the second bowl. I repeated this a few times until most of the crumbs were fine.





I stored the crumbs in a glass jar. I left the lid off the jar and will stir it daily for a few days to make sure it's completely dry before I seal it up. I'll use these crumbs for frying chicken, fish, and veggies. I can top casseroles with it or add it to enchildada or stuffed pepper filling. I can use it to stretch ground meat in meat loaf, meat balls or hamburgers. Last night I used it for coating the best-tasting pan-fried pork chops ever.

Making your own bread crumbs is easy, cheap and reduces your food waste. Plus there is a simple pleasure in making something that most people buy at the grocery.



For more tips on using up stale bread, check out Use It Up: Stale Bread

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1 comment:

  1. I have also found the homemade bread crumbs and croutons to be better tasting. I have never stored them in a glass jar, just my tupperware container, think I like the looks of the glass jar better.

    God bless.

    ReplyDelete

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