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Breadcrumbs, Croutons, and Stuffing

Bread heals and dried out slices (you know, those ones at the end of the open bag that was left open all day and night) work great for breadcrumbs and croutons.

Don't buy dry breadcrumbs at the store. You can easily make your own from bread you have on hand and might not be able to use for anything else.

  1. Lightly toast white bread. (Skip this step if you're using bread that's already dried out.)
  2. Crush the toasted slices with a rolling pin or an empty bottle.
  3. Make fine crumbs by putting your dry or toasted bread in an electric blender or food processor and pulsing it for a few minutes.
  4. You can add flavorings (dried spices like parsley, garlic granules, etc.) or parmesan cheese (use one that doesn't need to be refrigerated) to the breadcrumbs at this point, and they'll be pre-seasoned when it's time to use them.

Freshly made breadcrumbs will keep for a week or more in a tightly closed jar in the refrigerator, or in the freezer for up to six months. Really dry or toasted breadcrumbs will keep for a couple of weeks in a tightly covered jar in the cellar or in a cool, dry, airy cupboard. If you live in a drier climate, you may even be able to keep them longer; if you live in a humid climate, you'll probably see that they don't last as long.

You can also use crushed cornflakes, bran flakes, or other unsweetened cereals, or crackers instead of breadcrumbs when you're in a pinch or when you want to try something different. Be careful with the crackers, though—they contain more sodium, so they add a salty flavor to your dish.

Do you love to make bread stuffing and croutons from your own bread? Cutting up all those little bits of bread with a long bread knife can be messy and unsafe. Next time, try using a pizza cutter instead. It cuts bread safely, quickly, and neatly.

Once you have your bread cubed, you can flavor it with olive oil, salt, garlic, onion, parsley, etc. (Whatever you'll be serving your croutons or stuffing with, flavor with complementary herbs and spices.) Toast your flavored cubes in the oven on a baking sheet. Guests at your next dinner party will be wowed when you serve these gourmet croutons with a soup or salad.

 

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