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A post from the archives by Not of This World
Today's post is a combination of Munchie Monday and Waste Not Wednesday.
Have you ever needed bread crumbs for a recipe, yet didn't want to spend that much money for the ones at the store? Or Have you ever wanted to make your own dressing and croutons? Well, we have found an easy and inexpensive way to make our own, without using a whole loaf of good bread. Our bread bags always seem to end up with thin, broken heels of bread in them. Sometimes there are even broken regular slices of bread left. These and any piece of bread or bun that is to dried out to eat can be used for bread crumbs or pieces. All you need is a sheet cake pan and a wire cooling rack. Though the cooling rack is not necessary. Place the wire rack in the sheet pan and dump your bread sack onto it. Spread out your pieces of bread on the rack and spread the crumbs out on the bottom into a thin layer. Now set this out of the way in a dry location. The top of the refrigerator works well, but any place you have space where it won't get knocked over works. All it takes is a couple of days to completely dry out. Sometimes they are dry in one whole day, but to make sure there is absolutely no moisture we recommend you leave them for a couple of days. The level of humidity in your area will also affect the drying time. Once dry your bread can be broken into smaller pieces or ground into crumbs whatever you desire. We break ours into pieces and store them in an empty oatmeal container (another way to waste not!). Then we have pieces of bread for croutons and dressing, or if we want we can make bread crumbs. Continue to dry the pieces of bread as you get them. It won't take very long for you to have enough to use in a recipe. Even if you don't currently use bread crumbs very often, it is handy to have them ready and waiting on the pantry shelf. Who knows you might start using them more once you actually have some that you didn't have to buy. To make the bread crumbs you can place desired amount of dried bread into a baggie and crush with a rolling pin or grind in a food processor. For croutons melt some butter in a small sauce pan. For garlic croutons you can add some garlic powder to the butter once it has melted. While butter is melting place your pieces of dried bread in a bowl. Pour your melted butter over bread crumbs while you stir/toss them around. Make sure your butter is evenly distributed. Now dump buttered pieces into a sheet pan, spread in a single layer. You can now place the pan in your oven under the broiler or if you don't have a broiler a hot oven with the door open will work. Stir them around fairly often until toasted and crunchy. Watch them very closely, they burn very easy! Hot croutons are delicious tossed on top of a bowl of creamy soup. However, you will want to cool completely before using in a salad. There you have it! A Munchie Monday and a Waste Not Wednesday all in one! Have fun wasting not! - Not of This World