Italian Bread Crumbs

If I have to hear one more time from my boyfriend about how his mother would have made croutons out of that leftover bread, I’m going to snap.  Everything I do.  Everything I fix.  Everything I make to eat.  And that’s what I get … You’re throwing that bread out?!  Hurmph.  My mother would have made croutons out of that leftover bread.  Honestly croutons aren’t hard to make.  Just add some spices and stick them in the oven and you have croutons.  You should really make croutons“.

So the other day when I had an entire bag of stale buns I relented.

And I made bread crumbs.

What?  Look … I can’t let him think he has that much influence over me.  With all due respect to his mother, today I make croutons, tomorrow I’ll be making his lunch.  Forget it.

How to make Italian Breadcrumbs.

Gather your spices.

Get your stale bread …

If you have buns, cut them  into slices so they dry out quicker.

Lay them around the edge of a cookie sheet.

Doing this, as opposed to laying the bread flat, allows air to circulate beneath it, drying it out better and faster.

Pop the bread in the oven at 250° for 20 – 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix your spices and cheese together in a mason jar.

When your bread is dried out, put it on a cookie cooling rack until … cooled.

To smash the crumbs you can put them in a plastic bag and smash them with a rolling pin.

This will give you the feeling of being an old fashioned pioneer woman.  You will savour this feeling until the 2nd bag.

And then you will curse a lot.  And your bag will probably develop a hole, scattering bread crumbs across your counter.

It is at this point that you should drag out some sort of Cuisinart type thing.

Pour your bread crumbs into the mason jar with the spices and shake it up.

Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

If you still have leftover bread? Well. You can make croutons.


34 Comments

  1. Traci says:

    That’s probably the most useful thing I have ever read at 12:29 a.m.! Hmmm…..

  2. Sarah says:

    Yum! Question: If you omit the cheese can you keep them in the pantry and/or for longer? Love your blog by the way (I’ve been a lurker up until now). =D

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sarah, W/out the cheese you’re def. safer leaving the breadcrumbs in the cupboard, but I’d still feel safer w/ them in the fridge for some reason. Dunno why. Once products are dried they’re way less likely to spoil, but … on the off chance … I mean nobody wants to eat mouldy breadcrumbs … I’d still probably keep them in the fridge. ~ karen

  3. Jamieson says:

    “Like Water for Chocolate: The Passive-Aggressive Edition”

    Seriously though, I suppose you could collect heels and single buns in the freezer til you had enough stale bread to bother, yes? Is this one of those ‘can’t really mess it up’ recipes?

  4. magali says:

    I know us girls should stick together, but the things is, homemade croutons are delicious.
    not that I ever made them myself…

  5. Lynn says:

    You forgot the final step. After 3 to 4 months, reach into the back of your refrigerator and pull out the jar. Shake it, wonder exactly what it is and if it is still any good. Shrug and empty the jar into the trash.

  6. Maggie says:

    Aha, that’s what I should do with all the “guilt” bread in my freezer. It’s next to the “guilt” parsley stalks, dead carrots and greens from the leeks. I can’t throw them out, then I’d have guilt. Love, love, love the site.

    -Maggie

  7. I bake all our bread so if any goes stale I’ll make breadcrumbs and freeze them plain—then if I need any in the future I can add the proper spices. i use them up pretty quicky so I don’t have a backlog of breadcrumbs in the freezer—I’m feeding 6 kids here, nothing lasts long! I make croutons as well—my kids force me to make them, otherwise I wouldn’t bother. It’s easy to throw bread in the food processor for crumbs—having to cube it and spice it and bake it slowly is a lot of work. Not really, but that’s how I feel about making croutons sometimes! They are darn tasty, though!

  8. LoriD says:

    I never have dried breadcrumbs on hand, so I always use fresh breadcrumbs – spices, parmesan and the heels of the loaf of bread and throw it all in the mini chopper (I have the same B&D one as you). They’re really good. I only make croutons IF I need them right away AND I have enough leftover bread to make it worthwhile (I actually like to add them to the salad when they’re still warm – yum).

  9. Amanda says:

    If he’d rather watch you throw bread away than make the croutons himself, how much could he really care about it?

    I always seem to use up all the regular bread I have, but always have leftover buns. If you hadn’t used buns, I probably wouldn’t have even thought about using them this way. Now I will.

  10. Jenn says:

    Bread crumbs? Much more useful than croutons.

    Croutons? Salad, French onion soup. Where else do you use croutons? (this is not a rhetorical question – if there are more uses, it’d be nice to know!)

    • Karen says:

      Jenn – You’re right. But to add to your list of soups … I put croutons on EVERY soup. You’ve never had a potato/leek soup until you’ve had it with garlic croutons on it! WOW. Ditto for broccoli soup, asparagus soup … well .. any soup really! ~ karen

  11. Melissa says:

    (This may be gross, kindly avert your eyes and hmm quietly and move along to the next helpful/and/or witty comment if you are put off)

    I just collect my old crusts, etc, in a large bowl ON TOP of my fridge with a napkin on top (to keep air circulating, but dust off). I tear the slices up into bite size pieces as they go in the bowl and in a day or two they are dry. Then when my bowl is about half full (a week or two, or three) I put them in the blender and, voila, bread crumbs! Then I store them in a zip-lock in the freezer to be used.

    Saves the baking part, and only takes a few minutes when they are collected.

    Is it gross? The crumbs taste good!

    • Karen says:

      Melissa – Yes that is gross. You are gross. Everything about this is gross. Actually, no it isn’t. I would be a teensy big scared of mould forming. But I’m the sort of person that is frightened by mould. A lot of people aren’t. Maybe it’s the teensy bit of mould that makes them taste so good! 🙂 ~ karen

      • Melissa says:

        Ha! No, it most definitely ISN’T – I ate a teensy bit of mould once BY MISTAKE at someone’s house and it may have been the hardest moment of my life to seem polite and chew like nothing was wrong while all I wanted to do was spit and scrub my tongue. Wowsa. Strong taste for such a little morsel!

        Note: I don’t do this in the humidity of summer, then you do get mould, but in the winter it never has.

        I probably still am gross, though.

  12. Theresa says:

    Oh the cosmos is sending me messages via the blog – have been b**tching that I should bake my own bread cause its so damn expensive and we got through it like water.if leslie can do it … I should at least get started. its been many many years still got the supplies. Of course once I start baking then homemade bread crumbs must follow then will I be forced to make the dreaded crouton???

  13. Denise says:

    I haven’t bought bread in over a year…I may get some to make crumbs.

  14. kathryn says:

    my buns have been drying out and going stale for a few years now…

  15. suzy says:

    we never have left over bread – we have a dog.

  16. MV says:

    I love this idea. Great way to use up stale bread, and humor your bf at the same time! Seriously, though, I’ve found you can learn quite a bit of stuff from the SO’s mama. I like the breadcrumbs idea better than the one about croutons; croutons seem like they’d be a somewhat bigger pain in the ass.

  17. Pam'a says:

    I have nothing of value to contribute here, but my friend’s son, when he was just a sprout, used to call croutons “salad cookies.” I think that makes them taste even better.

  18. Leslie says:

    Absolutely LOVE your site!!! Not only is it full of interesting info.it’s a great source of comic relief at the end of a long day. I’m a big fan of homemade croutons but once you start, there will be no going back…..

    P.S. The ‘porn’ is a great addition…..

    • Karen says:

      Why Leslie! Thank you! I agree. Porn is a great addition to any site. And I’ll thank you to not mention homemade croutons again. ~ karen!

  19. Patty says:

    I make my bread crumbs out of biscuits. I make biscuits every morning and always have one or two left over. At the end of the week I just crumble them on a cookie sheet, spray with just a touch of cooking spray, sprinkle with Italian seasoning and cook on 250 for about 15 minutes. I use them to make Italian crusted pork chops. I make the croutons the same way but with cubed bread. My kids will snack on them like crackers. BTW … great blog!

  20. Myra says:

    @Theresa:

    You should try this five minute bread:
    http://theitaliandishblog.com/imported-20090913150324/2010/2/26/amazing-artisan-bread-for-40-cents-a-loaf-no-kneading-no-fus.html

    It sounds too good to be true, but it’s really easy and tastes kind of like mild sourdough. You can add any kind of additions you want (herbs, sundried tomatoes, 1/2 whole wheat flour, etc).

    (Sorry, Karen, for the bread recipe while you’re in the middle of paleo-hell. Try it once you’re done 🙂

  21. Priyanka says:

    As Parmesan cheese is not very available in my country, can i use cottage cheese? If so, how should i dry it out?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Priyanka! I’m afraid dried cottage cheese wouldn’t work. If you don’t have any hard cheeses like Romano or Parmesan, then just don’t include the cheese. It’ll be fine. 🙂 ~ karen!

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