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OK, OK I hear you… sometimes is just easier to buy breadcrumbs at the store. I agree. But you might be surprised that many Italians make their own fresh breadcrumbs more often than you might think.
One of the problems with buying commercial breadcrumbs is that oftentimes they are seasoned and you have no control over the flavor. I like using plain breadcrumbs which I season with parsley or basil and cheese (depending on the dish) for creating my breaded chicken breasts recipe which I love.
If you have some bread which has gone stale, and is not moldy then these will work great. What we’re looking for are dried bread crumbs which must come from bread which is dried out. If you only have fresh bread, you ill need to use an oven preheated to 300° F. It is best to use French or Italian white bread so they say, but honestly, I would use my regular slices of sandwich bread. You are taking your chances with whole grain bread as I have tried this before, and was not able to obtain the texture that I needed for my recipe – plus the flavor is totally different.
You’ll want to you cut the crusts off the bread and discard them first and foremost. Place the bread in the oven on sheets and bake for about 20 to 30 minutes. You will want to check on the bread frequently the last 15 minutes making sure they do not burn.
Once the bread is removed and cooled from the oven, cut into chunks and put in a food processor or a blender (as my mother used to do), until they attain a fine consistency. And there you have it – fresh breadcrumbs, it really is that easy.
You can store these breadcrumbs in sealed plastic bags, or in containers which have tight lids. Keep them in a cool dry area or even in the freezer. But do not keep them in an area where there’s a lot of moisture, you want these to stay dry.
As mentioned I like to use breadcrumbs on hand for my breaded chicken recipe, meatless meatballs, or for a “peasant” dish where you toast the bread crumbs in a pan and mix with some pasta.
Enjoy and let me know how they turn out!