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Trouble making - of all things - bread crumbs. Sugestions?

alanbarnes Jan 23, 2010 10:37 AM

So lately I've been baking bread every couple of days. Dense, crusty stuff. And sometimes there's part of a loaf left when the next batch comes out of the oven. Trying to get people to finish off the two-day-old bread when there's a warm fresh loaf available is a losing proposition.

No problem. Breadcrumbs are useful to have around, and they keep forever in the freezer.

The difficulties arise when trying to turn a quarter loaf of stale bread into crumbs. The food processor with the regular blade doesn't work very well; the blade tends to imbed itself in even fairly small pieces of crust. The grater attachment doesn't fare much better; bits of bread got between the grater plate and the lid of the machine. Either way, the motor bogs down and everything has to be disassembled and restarted.

It doesn't matter whether it's a big batch or a small batch. I've tried letting the bread dry out completely, and have also tried making crumbs when the bread is still somewhat moist. No matter what, it's an ordeal. I suppose that cutting everything into 1/4" dice would be one solution, but am hoping for something a little less labor intensive.

I'm considering letting the bread dry completely, then smashing it with a hammer or a rolling pin before pulverizing the pieces. But that's guaranteed to make a huge mess, and I'll probably whack my thumb. Any better ideas?

Thanks in advance.

  1. c
    cocktailhour Jan 23, 2010 10:47 AM

    we use our food processor with the regular metal blade all the time for making bread crumbs, so I am not sure why you are having so much trouble. sometimes bread does get stuck and we just unstick it. ours is commercial but artisan bread and usually several days old. we also often freeze old bread and then make the crumbs all at once for several frozen loaves. we cut big chucks and do not overfill the bowl. overfilling is definitely an issue. I hope this helps.

    1. n
      Nyleve Jan 23, 2010 10:50 AM

      I just made some bread crumbs about an hour ago. My method is to first use the grater blade on the food processor - but just press down gently (if at all) until most of it has gone through. Yes, sometimes when there's a small amount left it goes between the lid and the blade and the whole thing bogs down. But then I just pull out that piece and try to run in through again - or tear it into bits by hand and add to the rest of the coarse crumbs. After that, I put in the regular blade to make finer crumbs. This usually works. Sometimes it does help to take the whole mess of coarse crumbs and dry them out in the oven until crispy - then use the regular blade to make fine crumbs. Different types of bread behave differently too - so you'll have to experiment.

      1. todao Jan 23, 2010 02:30 PM

        I've experienced the problem of the bread pieces getting hung up on the standard cutting blade and I find that the food processor, regardless of the blade I use, creates a lot of dust that I don't want in my bread crumbs. I break the bread up by hand, or with a large knife, into small pieces and let it dry. Then I put the pieces (not too many at once) into a large and very heavy sealable plastic bag from which I've expelled as much air as possible and press them into crumbs using the bottom of a glass, then I make them as fine as I want by rolling them with a heavy rolling pin

        1 Reply
        1. re: todao
          huckfinn Jan 23, 2010 02:46 PM

          That's what I do also, and then I sieve out the very fine particulate.
          bonus points: it works during a power outage.

        2. c oliver Jan 23, 2010 03:05 PM

          Interesting. I just break it into chunks, throw into the FP with the regular blade. I use the "pulse" button so it doesn't get finer than I want but that shouldn't affect the ability of the machine to do its job. Maybe you need a new FP????????????? :)

          1 Reply
          1. re: c oliver
            m
            millygirl Jan 23, 2010 05:10 PM

            The bigger pieces get sauted in some olive oil, and seasoned with whatever dried herbs I feel like using and voila, croutons! Yum.

          2. s
            small h Jan 23, 2010 05:14 PM

            I use my coffee grinder. It works very well.

            1. c
              chococat Jan 23, 2010 06:34 PM

              Freeze bread solid and then use the grater attachment. I think I saw somewhere that this results in breadcrumbs with a texture vaguely similar to panko crumbs.

              1. d
                dmd_kc Jan 23, 2010 07:38 PM

                I've found the best way to make crumbs from problematic bread is -- oddly enough -- the meat grinder attachment with my KitchenAid mixer. I've encountered your problem with crusty and/or chewy stuff, and this is the only method I've found that doesn't clog or bind up. I assume you could use a crank model easily too.

                1. Sam Fujisaka Jan 23, 2010 07:41 PM

                  Blender works bettter than a FP for bread crumbs.

                  1. kattyeyes Jan 24, 2010 07:28 AM

                    Here's a suggestion in a different direction: why not make either bread pudding (my favorite is chocolate) or strata? I have recipes for both if anyone is interested.

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