This is the first of a series of bimonthly Wednesday posts that will focus on how to get the most out of your food before it goes bad.
When my mom and dad came to visit me and the husband at our new place a couple of weeks ago, my mom brought four things with her: salt, sugar, bread, and wine. Oh, and flowers. So five. Five things.
She brings these things any time she’s going to a new home for the first time. The salt is so that our food may always have flavor. The sugar is so that our life in this new home will always be sweet. The bread: so that we may never go hungry. And wine to enjoy life. Because booze.
Oh, right, the flowers. Well, they don’t symbolize anything. They’re just pretty. Who the hell doesn’t like flowers?
My mom brought a huge load of French country bread. Since we were having a Mediterranean meal, we were using pita, so we didn’t even have any of the bread. The loaf sat in my fridge, untouched for a week or so. This weekend, I went through my fridge to toss out any items that were about to go bad. And there it was: the French loaf.
Anyone who knows me knows just how much I hate to waste food. Hate with a capital “H”. I wasn’t going to toss out that beauteous hunk of bread. I was going to give it new life. I was going to turn it into breadcrumbs.
Could you buy a box of pre-made breadcrumbs? Sure, you could. You could be a dummy and toss out a perfectly good loaf of bread and then buy yourself a box of breadcrumbs processed with preservatives. Oh, what’s that you say? You don’t appreciate the name calling? Sorry, dummy, it’s just that breadcrumbs are really easy to make. Like, stupid easy.
All you need is some old white bread, a food processor*, a bread knife & cutting board, a large sheet pan, an oven, and a container to store your breadcrumbs. You probably already have most of these items in your kitchen.
Have everything together? Great, then let’s get started.
Prep time: 10 minutes; Bake time: 20 minutes
- Loaf of stale white bread, cubed.
- That’s it.
- You don’t need anything else.
- There aren’t any more ingredients.
- Move on.
Pre-heat your oven to 275F.
While the oven heats up, cube the bread and place into your food processor. Don’t over fill the food processor, leave it some room to move. You’ll be processing this in batches.
Pulse the cubes of bread in the food processor until they look like the cubes have mostly broken down. Then process on low and bring it up to high, until it resembles, you know, breadcrumbs.
Pour the processed crumbs in an even layer on a large baking pan. Process the remaining cubes in batches and pour the crumbs into your baking pan. Once all of the cubes of bread are processed, use a spatula to spread the crumbs into an even layer on the pan.
Put the pan in the center shelf of the pre-heated oven and toast for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, take the pan out and gently stir the crumbs around, breaking up any pieces that have formed. Even it out and put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Once the final 10 minutes are up, take the pan out of the oven and gently stir the crumbs again. They should be slightly browned and feel dry. Allow the crumbs to sit in the pan until completely cooled.
Once cooled, gently scoop the bread crumbs into your chosen container. Voila, breadcrumbs. Now use that to make meatballs, chicken parm, or use it to top off your mac and cheese. Whatever you want! Just store it in a cool, dry place.
*But if you don’t have one, make yourself some croutons by The Kitchn. They are also super easy to make.