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(In My Best Jan Brady Whine) "Panko! Panko! Panko!"

I will admit that I have yet to try them myself, but why is everyone on TV acting like Panko is the end-all-be-all of breadcrumbs? It used to be French Bread breadcrumbs, then it was Italian seasoned breadcrumbs, and now it's Panko? Are they REALLY all that and a bag of Kettle Chips??

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  1. They sure have been trendy for the last 3-4 years, but deservedly so when it comes to a lot of foods. They give a great texture to a lot of dishes, especially anything fried.

    1. I adore them. They are very different from regular breadcrumbs-much lighter and airier, but also not seasoned. If you can get them easily, I really recommending trying them. They may not become your only breadcrumb, but they are very much worth keeping around. I use them for about 99% of all breading at thing point. I find their crust much tastier than crust from either bought or basic homemade crumbs.

      1. Agreed with twyst and ErnieD. I converted a few years ago and use them almost exclusively now. As noted, they are lighter than traditional breadcrumbs and, when used as a coating for fried foods, seem to retain less of the cooking oil. I just made meatballs with them today and the texture is perfect.

        EDIT: I did crack up at the "(In My Best Jan Brady Whine)"

        1. Panko was the first bread crumb I grew up with (I'm a 2nd/4th generation American of Japanese ancestry - another story), so my bread crumb experiences are in reverse and less than luke warm. Trying recipes with "other" bread crumbs that recipes called for seem to fall short for me, so I would typically revert to using panko if repeating the recipe.

          Are you doing your Jan Brady whine pre- or post-braces? Less em-PHA-sis on the "p" if post! ;)

          1 Reply
          1. re: bulavinaka

            I'm in the same boat. The first (really, the only) time I bought 'regular' bread crumbs, I opened the can and thought, "What the...?? This looks like *sand*!"

          2. i have used them for a while...when i first started watching ICJ i found them..but now they are easier to find...
            i think they are better texture-wise because of the way they are made...when i want the extra crispy crust on a baked mac&cheese i use them...

            but i still use other bread crumbs as well...they havent taken over my bread crumb cooking

            1. I started using panko a couple years ago as well, but up until recently I also kept traditional breadcrumbs (unseasoned) in the pantry for some things. Now I use panko exclusively. I like the texture better, but also they are the only breadcrumbs I can find that do not contain sesame - and I have checked both seasoned & plain in various brands. My daughter has recently been diagnosed as having peanut, treenut, and sesame allergy, and I need something to use for breading & such. So, as far as I am concerned, it is a win/win situation for us.

              1. I first started using these when we were living abroad about 6 or 7 years ago. At first they were hard to find in the U.S. and I definitely sought them out because yes, they really ALL THAT. Now I can find them anywhere.

                1. Added to my turkey meatloaf they add the right umpf without weighing down the flavor.
                  Love panko on shrimp, veggies.

                  1. They are great but very different from "regular bread crumbs".

                    My understanding is that Panko are essentially expelled from nozzles and instantly freeze dried. They aren't really bread that has been baked and dried. This gives them a very crunchy texture that holds up to breading.

                    So it stays extra crunchy and/or doesn't get as soggy when used in something like meatballs. And they are cheap so yeah, for what they cost and the difference between them and regular breadcrumbs - they are all that ;)

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: thimes

                      My understanding is that the batter is sprayed on a hot surface so it is essentially baked very quickly. Wiki says a current is run through dough producing bread without crust but that would nit explain the light flakes and I'm skeptical. There are some videos out there that If someone has time to watch them.

                      1. re: babette feasts

                        Yeah I knew when I posted that that it could produce some debate. I looked it up in Google too and found both of those explanations of how it is produced as well. I remember seeing a "How It's Made" show on panko breadcrumbs and they said it was sprayed and instantly freeze dried - or at least that is what I remember them saying - I thought it was so interesting which is why I remembered it and was surprised that I found other explanations online.

                        Maybe there is a panko expert out there that has a more definitive answer as to how it is made commercially.

                          1. re: srsone

                            Hmmm - I wonder what show I saw and how I got it so twisted . . . .learn something new everyday . . .

                            1. re: thimes

                              i knew it was a crustless bread that was made to turn into panko and the one i saw a few years ago also mentioned the dough being extruded thru a special screen..
                              but i dont remember what show it was either

                      1. I will have to give them a try then. Maybe next time I make Fresh Snapper Fried Lite?

                        1. I like them because they work better than other breadcrumbs at approximating the texture of fried food even when you cheat and bake it instead.

                          1. A friend gave me a box when I was complaining about the results of my Japanese meals. That was about 15 years ago. The only breadcrumbs I buy. The rest I make myself. Since I try to make traditional/authentic regional dishes, I have only crossed them over to fried chicken. The results are wonderful.

                            1. I like to use panko for many coatings and crusts, as everyone else here has noted.

                              I would just like to add, check the prices at various markets because I have found that they can vary widely.

                              1. panko is the bomb-diggity. :)

                                1. Love panko-if you like a crispy "crust" on your mac and cheese, scalloped potatoes, or any casserole, these are great. Now if only I could get the Brady Bunch rerun to stop playing in my head on a continuous reel.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: sherriberry

                                    My 9 year-old daughter has discovered the Brady Bunch via a close friend's nostalgic gift box including a DVD set of the series. I didn't remember how corny the show was and yes, the tune is like MUSAK in an elevator - can't get away from it - not even if I cover my ears with bags of panko...

                                    1. I don't know if you have had the opportunity to see Panko crumbs out of the package. The photo in this link shows the great texture.

                                      1. Spudhouse, how timely! I was watching Sammy King on FN this weekend and he was making Wiener Schnitzel with....PANKO! And I thought, is this the death of bread crumbs? Cuz I've been using Panko for a long time and I even told my really Italian friend to try it.

                                        I knew it was going mainstream when I didn't have to go to my favorite Asian store to get it. Though my favorite Asian store still has the best prices for it.

                                        So yes, you should definitely try it.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: pdxgastro

                                          I own a German-style butcher shop, and we use panko by the 25lb bag for schnitzels and cordon bleu, as well as in meatloaves. They fry up incredibly crisp, and so far, everyone's been too pleased with them to complain about the cultural crossover.

                                          The only problem I've had with them is just an occupational hazard. We make hundreds of schnitzel in a batch. The coarseness of the crumbs actually can be very irritating to the hands after the first hour of breading. Oh, the things I go through for my customers!

                                          1. re: FrauMetzger

                                            Ooch, I can imagine. Like having to handle broken Cap'n Crunch. Gloves pronto, Mrs Metzger!

                                            1. re: pdxgastro

                                              I have to confess, I hate wearing gloves, but this is one of the times I do it anyway. And of course, when I'm prepping food that will not be cooked by the customer. But tiny shards of panko can do quite a number on latex. I love your analogy, that's exactly what it's like!

                                        2. OMG, I remember the days when you couldn't find them anywhere but the asian mkts. Now they are EVERYWHERE

                                          1. In Japan, panko isn't just used for frying. It is also mixed with ground beef as an extender for hamburger patties and meatloaf-type items. It leaves the end result lacking in heaviness or breadiness.

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: Tripeler

                                              Just as I mentioned above, Tripeler. Panko is excellent in my turkey meatloaf!

                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                I, too, use it in meatloaf. Also like it for crabcakes-just a small amount makes an excellent binder. Don't coat them w/ it, though, prefer to broil rather than fry.

                                              2. re: Tripeler

                                                Golly Darn Dang to those Tempura who were coated in Panko.
                                                Sent to the oil, I watched of it's sizzlin',
                                                Shrimp crustacean in crust given movement by hashi
                                                Brought to the paper of soft draining napkin
                                                How does one say "drool" in Japanese?

                                                Not yet tried Panko in meatloaf,
                                                as I am a a diehard Oatmeal guy.
                                                But is Panko and beef a part of my future?

                                                1. re: FoodFuser

                                                  It's probably "da-roo-rae". Just kidding, I have no idea, although the ramune drink was originally named as Japanese pronunciation for lemonade.
                                                  Just sayin'

                                              3. I like panko for some things, but as a coating, it seems to me it doesn't cover very well. I don't do much breaded stuff except fish- usually end up with a mix of panko, bread crumbs, corn meal, and maybe mandioca flour if I have it.

                                                1. Well Hounds, I bought Panko last weekend and used them in a batch of Swedish Meatballs. I think I'm sold on them!

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                    Good for you potato. Always nice to try new things (especially when the result is good).

                                                  2. before anyone gets too wound up over the cultural crossover, do remember that this is BREAD, this is already a crossover into Japanese culture, so there should be no big deal about it coming back across the cultural border should there?