Making homemade bread crumbs couldn’t be easier! My family has a habit of not finishing a loaf of bread that is going stale if there’s a fresh loaf there, so I just throw those last three or four pieces in the freezer. It’s that “leftover” bread that I’m going to use now!
If your bread is frozen, you’ll want to set it out to thaw. You can put it in there frozen, but don’t mix fresh and frozen on the same trays. I just throw it out to thaw when I have a second, and that assures that I will make time to get this done before the day is over. Yes, sometimes I have to bully myself!
My dehydrator is probably 15-20 years old, but it still works like a charm! A good friend of mine bought it for me at a yard sale. It shows its age but I’ve used the bezeebers out of it(dehydrating onion, carrots, celery, bouillon…cinnamon ornaments…you name it)! If you’re interested this is the newer model of the dehydrator I use:
Anyway, place bread in single layers on the trays (I lost a few slices to the kids making bird feeders 🙂 ). Split apart any hot dog or hamburger buns, and dehydrate at about 115 degrees. I like to rotate my trays (top tray goes to the bottom) about every 1/2 hour or so. I don’t watch the clock and stress about it. Just whenever I happen in there I do it. You can pretty well tell when it’s dry, but I would say thawed or fresh bread will take 1 1/2 to 2 hours, frozen bread will take closer to 2 1/2 -3 hours. The bread will crumble easily when smashed.
If it squishes together without crumbling it’s not done.
I like to put a few pieces at a time in zip-lock bags, squeeze out the air, then let my kids squeeze the bags to crunch them up. (Yeah, I like to let my kids be busy.) You can always bag it and press on top the bag against the counter, or run over it with a rolling-pin. I dump it into a big bowl (or pie pan this time) and continue breaking it up into consistent crumbs.
I use my fingers to continue breaking it up. This way I can feel if there’s anything in there that’s not all the way done.
Sure enough, the hot dog buns were not all the way dry. The kids had buns and bread together in their bags, so I just added the whole layer of crumbs back into my dehydrator on the “jelly sheet”. You could line your tray with plastic wrap if you don’t have one. I had already picked out the pieces…but just to be sure.
I put the buns we hadn’t crumbled and sheet of crumbs back in the dehydrator for about 40 minutes and it was all done and perfect!
Make sure your crumbs are room temperature when you package them for storage. If they are warm, you risk condensation in you jar/bag. That equals mold later! I just let them sit out for a few hours (or until I get around to it). If you’re using something deep toss them around occasionally, or you could use cookie sheets to spread it out.
You can season them if you want like the Italian seasoned crumbs you buy (except yours will be better than the saw dust in those jars), but I prefer to season them when I use them.
I’m going to say this amount of breadcrumbs from the store will cost you about three dollars and these are SO much better! I think they grind them too much for sale. These remind me more of Panko crumbs…but it’s up to you how much you crush them! I think it’s a pretty good deal because we’re not spending anything on the bread we’re using, and saving on our grocery bill later!
One more note…my home made bread dehydrates like concrete, so I always cut it into cubes. I use my food processor to break them up, sometimes just storing the cubes and grinding what I need as I need it. Making cubes also allows you to use them for stuffing. You can do that with your store bread too, but it will be a finer consistency when ground in the food processor.
Now that I’ve restocked my crumbs I think I’ll make some homemade chicken nuggets and breaded mushrooms!
‘Til next time, tell me what you’re thinking in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer any questions!
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