How many of us throw away leftover scraps of bread only to turn around and buy a package of breadcrumbs when a recipe calls for them or croutons the next time we fix a salad? I know I am guilty of this. In reality, how much sense does this make? We can save money and precious resources simply by making our own bread crumbs and croutons. All we have to do is save any leftover slices of bread, heels, rolls, uneaten toast, crusts, crumbs, etc. in a plastic bag in the freezer. Whenever the bag is full or you need crumbs or croutons, just follow the directions below for your own homemade variety.
Place a few slices of bread into a food processor and blender and process until all you have is crumbs. Store crumbs in an airtight container in the freezer.
Slice leftover bread into cubes. Bake in a 300-350 degree oven until thoroughly dry. Store croutons in an airtight container.
If you would rather not use freezer space to store your breadcrumbs, you can follow these directions from the More With Less Cookbook, published by the Mennonite Central Committee. This is one of my favorite cookbooks. It is a collection of recipes and cooking tips from Mennonite Missionaries around the world. I have learned a great deal about life and cooking around the world from this cookbook. While some of the nutritional information is a bit outdated (it was published in the late ‘70s), I still consider an invaluable resource in my kitchen.
Dry bread thoroughly in a slow oven, turning occasionally. Put pieces in heavy plastic bag and crush with rolling pin, or whirl in a blender. Put crumbs through coarse sieve. Toss hard pieces to the birds. Dry bread crumbs keep indefinitely on the shelf in a covered container. Add herbs and seasoned salt if desired.