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Making your own dehydrated bread crumbs, stuffing, and croutons in your dehydrator is a terrific way to use up leftover bread and save on time when it comes to holiday preparations.
There are many benefits to transforming the last few slices of bread into dehydrated bread crumbs, croutons, and stuffing mix. This allows you to use them all year round, and you can always use them to prepare other recipes.
This makes them especially useful if you’re going to be using them during the holidays. It will be even easier to prepare your family’s favorite holiday dishes now that you have ready bread crumbs or cubes.
Bread Types You Can Dehydrate
You need to use non-oily bread, especially if the bread will be stored for more than a few weeks. Oily bread may go rancid fast, especially after it has been heated. Croutons are often among the first to oxidize and smell.
The distinction here is not simply in regular oil/fat usage when baking bread. Recipes that utilize a lot of fats or oils create fantastic short-term croutons, but they are not ideal for long-term storage in the cupboard or pantry.
Although sweetbreads can be used to make bread cubes or crumbs, keep in mind that you wouldn’t want to use them in savory dishes.
Some of the best bread options you can use include:
- Commercial bread
- Sliced bread
- Leftover rolls
How to Make Dehydrated Bread
There are two ways you can make dehydrated bread. One is by slicing the bread, and the other is by crumbling it. Both methods will get the job done, and it all depends on your preference.
Making Dehydrated Bread Slices
Here are the steps to follow if you want dehydrated slices of bread:
- The bread should first be sliced into 1/4-inch (6mm) cubes or slices.
- Spread the bread pieces on dehydrator sheets. Place a dehydrator tray covered with a baking sheet at the bottom to collect crumbs.
- Dry the bread until it has a crumbly and dry texture at 150°F/65°C. Typically, this process takes between 1-3 hours.
- In a food blender or processor, pulse the bread until desired consistency is achieved.
- You can store the dehydrated bread slices for 6 to 9 months in an airtight container. However, you need to keep checking for rancidity.
Making Dehydrated Bread Crumbs
If you’d like to have dehydrated bread crumbs, here are the steps to follow:
- Refrigerate the bread you want to dehydrate overnight or use stale bread.
- To make bread crumbs, pulse the bread in a food processor or blender.
- Spread the bread crumbs on parchment paper, lipped trays, or fruit leather sheets. Either of these can make suitable dehydrator trays.
- Dry the bread crumbs for about 1 to 3 hours at 150°F/65°C. Continue drying until the bread crumbles completely and can be separated easily.
- Store the crumbs for 6-9 months in an airtight container, but check for rancidity frequently.
If you prefer Italian or plain bread crumbs, pulse the bread crumbs in a food processor several times. To make Italian bread crumbs, combine the extra ingredients and optional Parmesan.
Toasted crumbs with a sprinkle of Parmesan make a fantastic topping for mac and cheese. Store your bread crumbs in a container that is airtight to make them last for months.
Making Dehydrated Croutons
Here are the steps to follow if you would like to make dehydrated croutons:
- Cut the bread into cubes.
- Sprinkle melted coconut oil, melted butter, or quality spray oil over the bread cubes.
- Toss the bread cubes after adding your choice of seasonings.
- If needed, add a little oil, but be careful not to oversaturate the bread cubes.
- Place the bread cubes on dehydrator trays lined with parchment paper, silicone liners, or silicone-lipped trays. Cheaper fruit leather sheets might stain from the oils.
- Dry the bread cubes until they reach a crumbly texture at 150°F/65°C.
- Store the dehydrated bread in an airtight container. It can last up to two months, but you should continue checking for rancidity. You may also choose to store them in a compact container to lengthen the shelf life.
What Can You Use Dehydrated Bread For?
You can use dehydrated bread croutons for making salads and stuffing bases. Instead of huge croutons, lightly toast them and use them as a salad topper.
Dehydrated bread crumbs can be used for a number of dishes, including:
- Schnitzels, chicken nuggets, or fish breading
- Meatball and meatloaf stuffing
- Pasta topping
Can You Use an Oven to Make Dehydrated Bread?
Yes, you can make dehydrated bread using an oven. This is actually a slightly quicker method, which produces oven-dried bread that has a toasted flavor.
Set your oven to the lowest setting or simply turn on the oven light to dry your bread cubes or crumbs in a matter of hours.
Dry bread crumbs baked in a low-heat oven can be used as a binder in burgers or meatloaf, as a crunchy topping for casseroles, and as a coating for crispy fish or chicken cutlets. They can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator for months.
Dehydrated bread crumbs are easy to make and a terrific way to utilize leftover bread. Dried bread crumbs give crispness to casseroles, aid in binding meatball ingredients, and are a must-have breading for crispy chicken fingers.
You can make your own dehydrated bread crumbs, cubes, and slices from leftover bread that has started to dry out. This is a no-waste approach that tastes a million times better than store-bought dried bread crumbs.
Homemade dehydrated bread also helps you avoid the toxins and unnecessary substances included in store-bought bread crumbs. The next time you have leftover bread, try dehydrating it rather than throwing it out.
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