By definition, store-bought bread crumbs are old and stale. So why use them (or worse, serve them to guests)? For the best bread crumbs, regardless of their ultimate use, always purchase the freshest bread possible and, within 24 hours of purchase, if the bread’s not eaten, make dried bread crumbs or croutons. The good news is that homemade dried bread crumbs and cubes freeze perfectly when stored in doubled, well-sealed freezer bags. And there’s no need to thaw them—just scoop them straight from the freezer as you need them. Whether you are making croutons or stuffings, or need crumbs to cover fish, chicken cutlets, or shrimp, or want a savory topping for freshly cooked pasta or a bubbling gratin, the flavor and aroma of bread crumbs and cubes made at home are unbelievably better than the store-bought stuff.
NotesTiming is Everything
Bread cubes and crumbs can be frozen for at least two months in doubled securely sealed plastic bags. To use, just scoop them from the freezer.
2 to 3 cups crumbs or cubes (recipe may be doubled)
Total Timeunder 30 minutes
Make Ahead RecipeYes
Dietary Considerationhalal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian
Five Ingredients or LessYes
Taste and Texturecrisp, crunchy
Type of Dishbread
Ingredients 1 large, fresh loaf Italian bread (preferably with sesame seeds on top), crust kept intact Instructions
To make crumbs, preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut the bread into 1-inch slices and lay them in a single layer on a wire cooling rack set on a shallow baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until light golden all over. Turn off the heat and let the bread remain there until dry and very crisp, about 15 minutes. (If your oven runs hot, leave the door ajar while drying.) Remove from the oven and, when the slices are cool, crush them and drop into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process the bread until the crumbs are coarse or fine, depending on which type you want. Transfer the crumbs to a bowl and use as directed in your recipe or store them in an airtight canister for one week at room temperature.
To make cubes, preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut the bread (including the crust) into ½-inch slices, then stack two slices and cut them lengthwise into ½-inch strips. Cut these strips into ½-inch cubes. Continue until you’ve cut the entire loaf this way. Place the bread cubes on a shallow (not-too-dark) baking sheet in a single layer and bake until the cubes are dry and light golden all over, about 10 minutes. (If still somewhat soft, leave the cubes in a turned-off oven for 10 to 15 minutes with the door ajar. When done, the cubes should feel dry and hard.) Remove the baking sheet from the oven and use bread cubes as desired or allow them to cool completely before storing them in an airtight canister for one week at room temperature.
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