I love recipes that recycle and re-use foods that are beyond comfortable consumption but just need to be broken down a bit in order to be perfectly good again. I think that’s the case with blessed bread and all the blessings that come with extending food to serve more purpose than throwing it away as soon as we think we’ve run out of options for it.
Whole Wheat Bread Baked in the Oven
Bread crumbs are essential to Italian cooking (at least in my kitchen) so I use them often. I really don’t like most of the commercial ones sold with the addition of MSG (masked with the name of ‘natural flavoring’ to it) so I relish the chance to allow any bread in my home to become hard while on the counter overnight or to throw a variety of bread pieces into the oven to speed up the process.Any way you make bread crumbs, you most likely need a really good food processor to finely grind up super hard bread, although in my family there’s also been times when everyone gathered around to pound by hand (or pan) because of the lack of such appliances. That said, rustic bread crumb pieces (larger than the finely ground ones) are nice, too.
Rustic Bread and Baguettes Left Out Overnight (Uncovered) to Harden
Homemade Bread Crumbs
Yields 2½ cups
Cookie Sheets or baking pans
Day old bread or even fresh bread (which will take longer to process)
Cut the bread into small pieces before it hardens to make it easier to process. Leave overnight, uncovered, on a baking sheet and allow to dry out and harden.
Alternatively, you can bake fresh pieces of bread. For example a large baguette will harden at 325º for 45 minutes. Let cool before processing.
Place bread chunks or pieces in the food processor. Turn on high speed for about 1 minute, or until bread has reached the desired consistency.
Store unused bread crumbs in fridge. Will stay fresh for a couple of months.