I seldom think to ever purchase bread crumbs at the supermarket or grocery store, so sometimes when I come across a recipe that calls for them, I have none. A couple of weeks ago when I made my son meatballs was one such occasion. Today, while making Jamaican Beef Patties was another occasion. So.. what can you do?
There are two solutions to not having bread crumbs from a grocery store on hand. The first one is a “premium” or best solution, while the second will do in a pinch.
The Best Homemade Bread Crumbs
If bake your own bread, this is the best – but you don’t need homemade bread for this to work. It’s pretty easy and you could use this method to make up a large batch of breadcrumbs that you can store in the freezer in a zip lock bag. Or, you can make up just enough, as needed.
What you will need to do is take slices of bread and place them on a cookie sheet. Don’t put them on top of each other, however. Preheat your oven to 300F. When the oven has reached 300, put the cookie sheet with the bread slices into the oven for ten minutes.
After ten minutes, turn the slices over and return to the oven for another five minutes or so. Check that your bread slices are dry and have no moisture left in them. You don’t want to toast the bread – just dry it out.
At this point, you have a couple of options.
1. Break up the bread into smaller pieces and put them into a blender. Turn on the blender until you have the desired consistency of bread crumbs. In a pinch, you can also use a coffee bean grinder after the bread slices have been broken into smaller pieces. For me, it’s handy to just throw the bread slices into a zip lock bag to break them up all at once into smaller pieces before putting them in the blender.
2. If you don’t have a blender or coffee bean grinder, you can also use the rolling pin method. My 11 year old son enjoys this. Simply break up the pieces by hand, while they are inside the zip lock bag, as small as you can, and then take a rolling pin over it all several times. You won’t get a consistent crumb size most likely but you’ll end up with something suitable.
For variety, you could try different types of bread including whole grain, or flavoured breads such as roasted garlic as well, for your bread crumbs.
Doable Homemade Bread Crumbs
If you need a small amount of bread crumbs quickly, and don’t have any bread slices you want or can dry out, you can use soda crackers. Either salted or unsalted will work (most breads that I would use already have salt added). Soda crackers can make for a great bread crumb substitution, especially in a recipe that calls for only a small amount such as 1/4 cup. They are very easy to crumble into a bread crumb like texture and work quite fine.
So there you go – you have no excuses for not making something you want because it calls for bread crumbs, but you don’t have any on hand. You could of course think ahead and make up several cups worth ahead of time as well. Simply store them in the zip lock bag in the freezer.
Do you have any other substitutions for bread crumbs that you make yourself?