While panko might sound super fancy – it’s actually just a type of crumb. The word panko comes from the Japanese for “pan” meaning bread and “ko” meaning flour. If you have ever used these types of breadcrumbs, though, you will know that it’s delicious. It can also be quite expensive to buy from the store.
But you can make your own version of panko breadcrumbs at home. Not only is it easy, but you will also reduce waste.
While panko crumbs are made from a very specific type of bread – which results in its flakey rather than crumb texture – you can replicate it at home. Or, if you are happy to just go with standard breadcrumbs, you can do that too.
Do not ever think about throwing out those leftover bread and rolls again. Gather all those extra pieces of leftover bread, pretzels, crusts and crackers then use them to create fresh, homemade crumbs.
For an an extra special kind of breadcrumb, use leftover pieces of sourdough bread. This adds a unique taste to the crumbs – with or without extra sprinklings of seasoning.
What you will need to make your own breadcrumbs
A big mixing bowl
An air tight container with a large seal
A food processor (or a pestle and mortar)
A food dehydrator or an often that can cook on a very low heat
Extra ingredients to make your own breadcrumbs
Depending on the taste and flavour you want from your homemade breadcrumbs, you might also want some seasoning. Below you’ll find a list of suggestions of dried herbs and spices you can add to your breadcrumbs.
- Garlic powder/salt
- Green onions (dried), chopped
- Black pepper
- Seasoned salt
You can use almost anything you want or like. Some really good flavours you could make include lemon-sage crumbs, parmesan-oregano crumbs, almond and garam masala crumbs and coconut-lime crumbs.
How to make your homemade breadcrumbs
To make your own breadcrumbs, you first need to collect bread. Keep a freezer bag or container in your freezer to store any leftover bits of bread until you have enough to make the crumbs. About two freezer bags full of leftover bits is a good start.
Import: For a more-panko like crumb texture, only use white bread with the crusts removed.
When you are ready to make your own crumbs, remove the bags from the freezer and allow to thaw.
Once defrosted, put all of the leftover bits inside the food dehydrator for six to eight hours on its lowest setting. You can also use a biltong maker, but this might take a bit longer.
If you are using an oven, preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
When the oven is at temperature, spread your leftover pieces on a tray and bake for five to seven minutes. Keep a close eye on the pieces to make sure they do not burn. Reduce the heat if you are worried about not being able to watch carefully. Lower and slower isn’t bad in this case.
Once the leftover pieces are dehydrated, blitz in a food processor or use a pestle and mortar to create the crumb texture. You can also put the crumbs in a plastic bag and gently beat it with a wooden spoon or rolling pin to create crumbs.
If you notice that some bits are not quite dry yet, return the crumbs to the oven or dehydrator in a tray. Easy does it.
Take the bread from out of the dehydrator then put them inside the food processor. Blend or chop the bread pieces. Make sure that all bread pieces turn into very fine crumbs before turning off your food processor.
To create the very fine texture you get from panko breadcrumbs, use a grater with small holes to crush the leftover bread.
If you want to add some seasoning to your homemade breadcrumbs, mix it through by hand once your crumbs have cooled completely
Storing homemade breadcrumbs
Store the fine crumbs inside an airtight container and keep them where it is cool and dry. It’s very important that you only store them once you are certain that your crumbs have completely dehydrated – otherwise, there is a risk it might grow mould.
You can also use the freezer bags for storing any leftover crumbs – the crumbs will keep in the freezer and all you have to do when you are ready to use them is allow the homemade breadcrumbs to thaw at room temperature.