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I assumed that Panko was a rice product? Am I wrong?

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Watching Ming Tsai- he described as a Japanese Rice bread crumb. Having used it for years I always assumed this was the case. When cooking for my grandmother-in-law who has a gluten allergy, I thought this would be the perfect way to prepare numerous dishes that are restricted. I then read the ingredients and it's made from wheat gluten. Has this always been the case? Is there a certian brand that is gluten free, or a similar product that is??

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  1. Panko's bread crumbs, not rice based. As far as I know, that's always been the case. If you want to do something non-gluten, try a rice flour coating, or pulverized rice crackers, which might have a coarser texture.

    1. foodsnob14,
      as far as I know, panko has always been a japanese bread crumb...always a wheat based product. You could try "Ian's" - a company who makes panko and has several gluten free products...not sure if panko is one of them...but, worth a check. In lieu of using a gluten free panko, you could use gluten-free cracker crumbs, non-sweetened cereal flakes - corn based, maybe (after a swirl in the food processor), rice cakes crushed in the f.p., or potato flakes.

      1 Reply
      1. re: THenderson

        It has always been a wheat based product as far as I know. A wheat slurry sprayed against a very hot type of oven wall that makes it puff up and gives it the texture it has.

        Interestngly I found in a local super market "Southern Homestyle" brand tortilla crumbs. They were right next to the bread crumbs. They have a very fine crumb and taste and smell delicious and are gluten free. I may try them with some pork chops tomorrow and the guacamole salad I have posted about several times in the past couple of months. I'll report back.

      2. As long as I remember, it's been made from wheat. One time, before you could go down to Safeway and buy a bag of panko, my mom made some by tearing up white bread in small pieces and letting it dry.

        In Japanese, "pan" is bread; "ko" is a suffix that, roughly speaking, signifies a diminutive. Many names of women in Japan end in "ko", just like many names of women here end in "ie" or "y". I always thought "panko" meant "little bread", but I've only seen it written katakana, not kanji, so I don't know if that's true.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Debbie M

          "Our Sumimoto Panko-Japanese style Breadcrumbs starts with yeast-raised bread dough cooked with microwaves/electrode resistance. Our PANKO are produced by a process of passing electric current under strong magnetic field through loaves to generate heat within the dough. This process is known as electromagnetic baking. Similar in theory to the “induction” stove tops recently introduced, the food itself generates heat rather than the pan being heated by the oven."

          from the sumimoto website. yes, panko is wheat based, but it's not "just" torn-up sandwich bread.

          1. re: Debbie M

            You got the "pan" part right, but "ko" is actually not the diminuitive (子), but the "ko" means powder (粉, read "kona" by itself), as in komugiko (小麦粉) which means flour. Other definitions include mashed up, crumbed up, shattered.

            1. re: E Eto

              Okay, that makes a little more sense than "bread children".

              Now, another question: Is "panko" a generic term for the product or is it a trade name appropriated as generic (like "Kleenex")?

              1. re: Debbie M

                Generic name. It's the same way we say "bread crumb" in English.

          2. What you may not realize, also, is that a slightly puffy (think Wonderbread, but not in a bad way) pain de mie-ish sandwich bread has been pretty common in the Japanese diet for some time (post war?) , increasingly so over time I think. I suspect that it was originally more a luxury product, which as those things tend to, spread out over time. I mostly see it for retail sale so I don't really know what's done with it apart from making sandwiches (cut into small pieces, not big American-format ones) but they certainly sell plenty of it in Japanese grocery stores here. I think they eat bread the way Americans eat rice -- it's a definite part of the diet, just not a staple.

            BTW, the Japanese word "pan" derives from the Portuguese, from whose explorers/missionaries the general concept of European style raised wheat bread was first introduced into Japan. I have no idea if what they eat these days is actually derived from what the Portuguese made or described, but that's where the word comes from anyway...