Fresh Bread Crumbs


You control everything, from the type of bread you start with to the texture you end up with.
TIME 10 minutes
MAKES 1½ to 2 cups
½ large loaf any bread, preferably 1 or 2 days old

Method
1 Tear the bread into pieces about 2 inches across. Put half the bread in a food processor. Pulse 3 to 4 times to break up the bread, then let the machine run for a few seconds to chop the bread to the desired texture—coarse, fine, or somewhere in between.

2 Remove the crumbs and repeat with the remaining bread. Use right away or store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 month or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Variations
  • Toasted Bread Crumbs: For a crunchier crumb, heat the oven to 350°F. After pulverizing the bread, spread the crumbs in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake, shaking the pan occasionally, until they’re lightly browned, about 15 minutes, depending on how fine they are.
  • Fried Bread Crumbs: A super garnish, though not suitable for breading. Put ¼ cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring frequently, until they’re toasted and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Use right away.

Tips
  • You can make bread crumbs out of almost any kind of bread—crust and all—but avoid using bread with solids such as seeds, fruit, or nuts.
  • The only kind of store-bought bread crumbs I keep in the pantry (for emergencies, really) is panko, the coarse, airy Japanese-style variety, now available almost everywhere. If you see the kind made from whole wheat bread, grab it: It’s hearty and super-crunchy.

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