Start to Finish: 15 minutes Servings: Makes 3 to 4 cups Difficulty Level: Beginner
Panko bread crumbs are easy to make and answer the question of what to do with day-old bread. Shredding slightly dry bread in a food processor produces airy crumbs that, after a brief bake, add a light, crisp coating to everything from deep-fried shrimp to oven-roasted chicken breasts. Plain white bread is typically used, though other types of bread and even crackers can be substituted in a pinch.
- 1 loaf slightly dry white bread, crust removed
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Slice your loaf of bread into chunks small enough to fit through the shredding disk of a food processor.
Push a chunk of bread through the food processor and repeat until the entire loaf has been shredded into coarse crumbs.
Pour the bread crumbs onto a large baking sheet, spreading into a thin layer.
Bake the bread crumbs for 6 to 8 minutes, shaking the tray every 2 to 3 minutes to ensure even drying. Keep an eye on the bread crumbs as they bake as you do not want them to brown.
Remove the bread crumbs from the oven and let cool.
Any kind of white bread will do. You can use pre-sliced loaves of mass-produced white bread, sourdough bread or French bread. For the best results, remove the crust and let the bread air-dry for up to 24 hours, or until slightly dry. Or, look for day-old bread at your local bakery or grocery store.
Crackers work in a pinch. If you don't have bread on hand, soda crackers, Melba toast or oyster crackers can be used instead. A few quick pulses in a food processor or blender will break the crackers down to desirable-sized crumbs; just be careful not to over-process. Or, put the crackers in a plastic storage bag and crush the crackers with your fingers until the desired crumb consistency is achieved. As an added bonus, there's no need to toast them in the oven as they are already crispy.
If you don't have a food processor, pulse a few small chunks of bread at a time in a blender until shredded into smaller crumbs of like size.
Storage and Shelf Life
Store panko bread crumbs in the freezer or at room temperature in a tightly sealed container or storage bag for 6 months up to a year.
For the best results, homemade panko bread crumbs should be used within a few months; after that time their quality and flavor can deteriorate. Examine older bread crumbs carefully before using. If the bread crumbs are giving off a stale odor or taste and their texture isn't as crisp, they are no longer good to use. If you see any evidence of mold, discard immediately.