How to make homemade sourdough breadcrumbs (from stale sourdough bread)
Use this guide the next time you have too much sourdough bread and not enough time to eat it. Or your sourdough loaf is getting a bit old and unexciting for fresh sandwiches or even toast. Or maybe you’ve run out of room in your freezer to store anymore random slices of bread. No matter what the reason is, knowing how to repurpose and make homemade sourdough breadcrumbs from stale sourdough bread is essential if you want to save money on your grocery bill or reduce your food waste.
I learnt the skills to make my own sourdough breadcrumbs a few years back when I attended an OzHarvest Think Tank. We were invited to provide ideas on how to engage every day people to cook with what they have and divert their precious food from landfill. One of the attendees made us all a jar of leftover sourdough breadcrumbs. She was Italian and said her Grandmother would make this once a week on a Sunday with the leftover bread. Nothing was ever wasted. It was what you did with stale bread. Toasted lightly, mixed with herbs, salt, pepper and ready to be added to meals. I wish I could remember who it was that gave me the jar but this tip has always stuck with me.
DID YOU KNOW: 1 in 5 bags of groceries ends up in the bin? Totalling $2,500 per year! That’s a lot of hard earned money that could be spent on better quality food or even a holiday.
HOW TO USE SOURDOUGH BREADCRUMBS
We use breadcrumbs for our schnitzels, to add texture to pasta, as a crunchy topping for pasta bakes, as a batter for crispy calamari. I prefer this homemade variety over the Panko crumbs Pierre requests I buy. I’ve noticed the Panko packets are full of random ingredients and preservatives I don’t vibe with and definitely don’t want to feed to baby BJ either.
PLUS: This recipes is completely free (besides operating your oven and the herbs and spices).
- Stale sourdough bread
- Herbs: thyme oregano, parsley, basil are great. Use a mixed herb pre-mix or make your own
- Spices: smoked paprika cumin, crushed fennel seeds
- Seeds: sesame seeds crushed sunflower seeds
- Preheat oven to 130 degrees C.
- Prepare your bread by slicing into small chunks. There’s no rule here, the smaller you chop, the fast your bread will dry out so it’s shelf stable. Aim for 3cm x 3cm.
- Scatter bread on baking tray and bake for 30 minutes or until bread is dried all the way through.
- TO TEST: You can test this by cutting in half with a knife. If it’s dry all the way through, your bread is ready. This step is important as we’re storing these breadcrumbs in the pantry. We don’t want mould forming, which cannot happen if your bread is dried thoroughly. If you’re unsure if your bread is dry, keep it in the oven a bit longer.
- Transfer bread to a food processor and process into fine-ish crumbs.
- SIDE NOTE: I thought I liked my breadcrumbs chunkier, but the recent batch I made was quite fine and I have to say, I’m pleasantly surprised. I’m really enjoying it.
- Pour crumbs into your glass jars or containers. I usually mix in 1/4 of the jar with the herbs, spices, salt and pepper. The remaining 3/4 is breadcrumbs. You can play around with this ratio.