OK, so I just got back from the grocery store where I saw a 12 oz. bag of panko bread crumbs for $4.29!!
Seriously? Someone is going to pay that much money for something that they can make for 25 cents or less? I can understand wanting panko bread crumbs for this fabulous baked chicken fingers with panko and dijon recipe. But seriously, that is an enormous markup on something that is incredibly easy to make.
Bread crumbs are just finely ground toasted bread. Sometimes there are also seasonings in the package. What is the difference between regular bread crumbs and panko bread crumbs? Panko crumbs are made from bread that does not include the crust. They are also larger pieces (not so finely ground) and therefore are crunchier when used in frying or baking.
Confession. I used to buy packaged bread crumbs. Then one day I realized just how easy it was to make my own bread crumbs and that they were much better than any packaged bread crumbs I ever had.
Here’s how I make bread crumbs and save money on food:
- Pick your bread. I like to use the most organic, nuttiest bread I can find. I think it makes for a great taste. Day old French loaf is also very good. You want a bread that has substance. You don’t want to use a moist, mushy white bread that is full of chemicals. Check the ingredients list.
- Dry out the bread. If you have time, just lay the bread on a baking sheet on your counter or table for the day. It will start to get stale. If you don’t have time for this, then just put the bread in the toaster, oven or toaster oven. Put it is on a very light setting. You do not want to burn the bread. You are trying to dry it out.
- Grind the bread. Once the bread is kind of hard/toasted, I tear it up into small pieces. Then I toss it into my Blendtec and pulse it for about 4 seconds. If you don’t have a blender of any kind, you can still put the torn up pieces into a bag and crush the pieces with a rolling pin or jar. Using this method, you will end up with some larger chunks that you can’t use, but you will still have plenty of crumbs.
- Ta-da! Bread crumbs.
Tip: Add flavor to the bread before toasting. If I am going to use the crumbs right away, I will add butter and spices directly to the bread. I make a mixture of softened butter, garlic, salt, pepper (or whatever spices/herbs I want to add). I spread this on the bread before the initial drying/toasting process. This is messier, but oh, so much tastier.
Store unused breadcrumbs in an airtight container. Make sure the crumbs are completely dried before sealing.