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What's the best (fastest, most efficient) way to make breadcrumbs from scratch, without having any old bread?

I'm curious if there's something quick I can do, when I realize I want 5 cups of breadcrumbs and have no old bread, and don't want to buy or bake a loaf of bread just to immediately pulverize it.

That is, what is the fastest, simplest, easiest bread-like thing one could make, which would turn into breadcrumbs in a food processor?

One more edit: I didn't really intend this to be asking "what other ready-made things can I buy (or have around) and turn into breadcrumb substitutes". I want to know, at the very least, the best way to streamline the process of making and drying bread given the fact that I don't care if it's ever moist enough to eat as bread, and don't care about its overall shape or texture or anything else we usually care about in bread.

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I am confused - you want to make bread crumbs without first making or buying bread? So are you looking for an alternate ingredient from which to make breadcrumbs? –  Katey HW Aug 23 '11 at 21:14
    
@Katey: Surely breadcrumbs do not require a full loaf of bread. You don't really care much about structure. I imagine you could get away with some sort of quickly thrown-together flatbread with minimal leavening (possibly just steam), rather than taking all the time to make a normal bread with yeast. –  Jefromi Aug 23 '11 at 21:44
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I somewhat suspect that anything you could make that would approximate bread crumbs when processed would be more expensive and time consuming to make than actual bread. We'll see what kind of answers arrive, anyhow... –  Aaronut Aug 23 '11 at 21:53
    
@Aaronut: Yeah, I don't know how answerable it is - maybe a quick soda bread, baked fairly thin to minimize baking time, is about the best one can do. –  Jefromi Aug 23 '11 at 22:01
    
@Jefromi No, they don't require a full loaf of bread, just some toasted pieces or hunks. I guess I am just not sure why you don't also want the leftover bread that would result from baking or buying a full loaf of bread. Substitutes (which is not what it seemed like you were asking) are going to be your best non-bread solution. –  Katey HW Aug 23 '11 at 23:57

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Dry biscuits (American 'biscuits' - not cookies), or anything other flour based quick bread that dried out - if you're trying to replicate the bread crumbs. You may be able to get by with a modified muffin recipe as well. You'll want to avoid fats and oils to reduce the moistness.

Yeast bread develops a particular flavor and larger hole structure than quick bread though. The flavor of a quick bread breadcrumbs should be slightly different, but in many dishes the subtle difference won't be overwhelming unless the breading is a 'star' of the dish. The hole structure really doesn't matter luckily - as developing that is a large part of the time factor of real bread.

Drying it out will be the harder part. The denser structure holds moisture better, so slice it thin and give it low, dry, long heat.

Personally, anything that you're going to make for the purpose of breadcrumbs that isn't just a substitute (like cereal, crackers, etc in the other answer), sounds like it'd be easier just to make a loaf of fast rise bread to me.

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Three substitutes come to mind:

  1. Saltine Crackers
  2. Pretzels
  3. Select brands of Cereal (Chex, Corn Flakes, etc.)

Take these for a spin in your food processor till you reach the consistency you desire.

Depending on your ultimate goal one or any of these could serve as a suitable sub for "bread crumbs"

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I'd also add that pita chips would be a solid option, if you have them lying around. –  Katey HW Aug 23 '11 at 23:58
    
Good point @Katey... though Pita chips are not commonly lying around at my place... –  Cos Callis Aug 24 '11 at 0:06
    
For a zero carb recipe you can use pork rinds as well –  lazoDev Aug 24 '11 at 3:35
    
@lazo: I don't know whether to be disgusted by the fact that it's pork rind breading, or disgusted by the fact I didn't think of it first. –  Satanicpuppy Aug 24 '11 at 3:45
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I like rice krispies myself. The poor mans panko breadcrumb. I'd also expand the cracker selection: I've made bread crumbs out of damn near every cracker in existence. If it's crunchy, it'll do. –  Satanicpuppy Aug 24 '11 at 3:48

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