Thursday, February 24, 2011

Homemade Whole Wheat Bread Crumbs

Bread crumbs are a really versatile ingredient. You can use them in meatloaf and meatballs, to bread meat and fish, and to sprinkle on top of baked veggies for an a gratin effect just to name a few. But finding whole wheat bread crumbs can be tricky. My store almost never has them and, when they do, they're ridiculously expensive. So I figured, why not just make my own.

What you'll need:
  • 6-12 slices of whole grain bread, at least one day old (I save the ends from our sandwich bread in the freezer in a bag until I have a collection)
  • Cookie sheet
  • Food processor or blender
  • Gallon-size freezer bag

ONE: Preheat the oven to 300. Lay the bread slices out in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes, turning over once in the middle, until the bread is dried out and crispy.

TWO: Break the slices of dried out bread into smaller pieces and throw them in your food processor or blender (if using a blender, you might want to only do one or two slices at a time depending on how good yours is). Grind until they reach the desired texture.

THREE: Store in an airtight freezer bag in your pantry. They last forever. If you go to use them and they seem a bit stale, just spread them on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven at 300 for a few minutes.

I usually grind mine until they are mostly fine bread crumbs with a few bigger chunks. If I need really fine bread crumbs, I will either regrind a small batch in my coffee grinder (we don't drink coffee so our coffee grinder is solely used for grinding nuts, seeds, and grains) or use my colander to separate out the big chunks. (I actually got the colander idea from my Mother-in-Law. She uses her colander to remove all the dust and crumbs from the last bit of cereal in the box, leaving just the bigger flakes. This prevents the big-bowl-o-mush effect. Isn't that a great idea?!)

You can also make whole grain "bread crumbs" by grinding whole grain cereal (we've done cheerios in the past) or whole grain crackers. Since they are already dry and crispy, just grind them and store them in freezer bags in the pantry.

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