Then one day I learned just how simple it was to make your own homemade bread crumbs, and from then on, I never bought them again.
The method of making homemade breadcrumbs is fairly common knowledge, but my extreme frugality edition puts a new twist on the old favorite.
Extremely Frugal Homemade Breadcrumbs
1. To make your own homemade breadcrumbs, you start out with bread. To make this even more frugal, I take old bread on its last legs, that is about to go stale. Alternatively, I take homemade bread that didn't come out so perfectly- perhaps it had too little salt, too much sugar, or just was too heavy of a dough. Bread ends and crusts can also be used for this.
2. Cut the bread into insanely thin slices. Slivers might be more accurate. You want the slices of bread to be as thin as possible, to make there be as much surface area as possible on each piece of bread. When doing this, you may end up with a bunch of crumbs. That is terrific- put aside those crumbs- you have ready made breadcrumbs without even trying!
3. Traditionally, when making homemade breadcrumbs, you would toast these pieces of bread in the oven until they're all crispy, but as someone who tries to use my oven as infrequently as possible, as an electric oven is a big money waster, I do things a bit differently.
I lay all my very thin pieces of bread flat out on a large tray (or two, or three), trying to make them all flat and none overlapping. I simply leave these out until they get fully stale and hard. You may want to flip these over once every half day or full day. The thinner you cut them, the faster they will dry out. Making these in the summer in my dryer climate, it took about a day for these to get completely stale, but it may take longer in more humid or cooler places. You may want to cover the trays of bread with a very thin cheesecloth to prevent dust and bugs from settling on it.
|I'm not sure why they were spread on bags- this pic is old.|
He really had a blast pounding away with that thing, breaking up the bread into tiny little crumbs with his deft little fingers.
5. If you want a more uniformed size of breadcrumbs, after some time that you or your kids have pounded away at the bread, pour everything from the bag through a colander (with a big bowl underneath, of course), so sift out the bigger pieces that still need more pounding.
6. Once you sift out the small crumbs, put the larger chunks back into plastic bags, tie up, and resume pounding. Repeat as frequently as necessary until all the large chunks are broken into decently sized breadcrumbs.
7. Of course, if you get tired of pounding, or if your ears start ringing from the banging, you can put whatever is left into your food processor (or in my case, food processor attachment from the blender stick) and blend it up until it is the size you desire.
8. Use these breadcrumbs as you would any store bought crumbs. Use them as fillers in patties, burgers, stuffings, and stews, as a coating for different foods like fried fish or chicken, or as a crunchy topping for noodles or veggies. The possibilities are endless.
I love making homemade breadcrumbs the extreme frugal way. It's fun for me, fun for my kids, lets out some excess energy, allows my kids to constructively destroy something (and we all know how much kids like smashing things!), uses food that would otherwise get thrown out, and doesn't require any electricity output.
Do you ever make homemade breadcrumbs? How do you make them? Would you ever do it "the extreme frugal" way?