It's so easy to make your own homemade Italian Breadcrumbs...in just a few minutes, for a fraction of the price, and without all of the preservatives of store-bought brands! You can also leave out the herbs for plain seasoned breadcrumbs.
Y'all know I'm a sucker for make-your-own pantry staples. And today's homage to that theme can be used in countless recipes year-round...simple, effortless, Italian Breadcrumbs!
To be perfectly honest, y'all, this one is kind of silly. I mean, breadcrumbs? Who can't figure out how to make those? Yet plenty (most?) of us purchase them from the grocery store in a little canister, full of preservatives and artificial ingredients and far more expensive than the pennies that a few slices of bread would cost.
Furthermore, even if you already grind up your own bread into plain breadcrumbs, you might wonder what proportion of herbs to use for Italian Breadcrumbs, since plenty of recipes call for those. Well, no need to Google a recipe the next time you're wondering...I'm going to take care of you right here today!
Why Make Italian Breadcrumbs?
Homemade seasoned breadcrumbs or Italian Breadcrumbs take, like, two minutes to make, after which they can immediately be used. Or you can pop them in the freezer until your next recipe that requires them.
Super simple, no weird additives or preservatives (what exactly is calcium propionate anyway?), and totally economical, particularly since the bread you turn into these crumbs can be old, dried out, and something you were probably about to throw away anyway.
Just think of it as upcycling your bread! 😉
How to Make Them
When you get to the end of a loaf of bread, whether it's The Very Best Homemade Whole Wheat Bread or your favorite store-bought variety, that last heel can be kind of dried out. So I typically toss it in a baggie in the refrigerator, where it hangs out until it's been joined by a few more rejected bread buddies. There may end up being a lone hamburger bun in there, an old dinner roll, a bit of leftover French bread, some of it 100% whole wheat, some made with white flour.
Whatever has seen better days (but isn't stale or molded, of course), I save in my trusty little baggie.
Then, when I have enough bread to make the dirtying of my food processor worth my while, I tear those old bread rejects into large chunks, add my dried herbs and seasonings (for Italian Breadcrumbs), and whiz everything up into fine breadcrumbs.
Embarrassingly easy, right? And not only are these homemade Italian Breadcrumbs less expensive and healthier, but you can also control the sodium and/or tweak the herbs, if desired.
- For example, if you're watching your salt intake, feel free to cut back on it.
- If you just loooove basil, go ahead and sprinkle in some extra.
- Oh, and if you happen to be a lucky duck with fresh herbs at your disposal, you may definitely incorporate those...just increase the amounts since dried herbs are more concentrated than fresh.
How to Store Them
After your bread has been processed, simply transfer the seasoned breadcrumbs to an airtight container and freeze for future recipe-making convenience!
I typically dump mine in a gallon-sized, freezer-thickness baggie, squeeze out the air, zip 'er up, and pop in the freezer.
Easy as pie -- er, breadcrumbs.
So your assignment today? Go forth and make Homemade Italian Breadcrumbs (or plain breadcrumbs if that's more your speed)! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain...in fact, I predict you'll never buy breadcrumbs again. 😉
Helpful Tips, Tricks, & Equipment
- I always grind my dried bread in a food processor, but a blender should work as well.
- If you want to make breadcrumbs but your bread is too fresh, preheat the oven to 250°F and place the slices of bread directly on the oven rack. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the bread is dried out and toasty. Remove the slices from the oven, allow to cool, and then proceed with the recipe.
- If you are watching your sodium intake, feel free to decrease amount of salt. You can also make your breadcrumbs with ¼ teaspoon of salt to begin with, taste, and then add the remaining ¼ teaspoon if you feel it's necessary.
- Tweak the herbs to your liking, or if you prefer to use fresh, be sure to increase the amount used (by three times) since the flavor of dried herbs is three times more concentrated.
- If you plan on using your breadcrumbs soon, they will keep in the refrigerator just fine.
- If storing breadcrumbs in the freezer, place inside two freezer baggies and squeeze out any air. They will stay fresh for several months this way. Whenever you need breadcrumbs for a recipe, you can thaw for a few minutes at room temperature and then measure out. Or you can portion breadcrumbs by the cup or half-cup into small baggies before freezing.
More Homemade Make-Your-Own Kitchen Staples
- 6 ounces old/dried out bread, rolls, buns, etc., approximately equivalent to 4 to 5 slices of bread
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Tear stale bread into large pieces. Place in a large food processor or blender. Add dried herbs, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Process/blend/pulse until fine crumbs form. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer (depending on how long before you use them).