Any good cook knows that bread crumbs are a versatile and vital component in the kitchen. They can be used for coating vegetables, chicken or pork chops for frying. They can also be used in meatloaves, crab cakes or salmon patties as a binding agent or as a way to extend the expensive protein ingredients.
Why Use Bread Crumb Substitutes?
Sometimes you have no choice but to use substitutes when you run out of prepared bread crumbs. An even better reason to use bread crumbs substitutes is to add variety to your menus and recipes. Also, the density and texture of your food will change depending on whether you use crushed crackers, cereal or oats. It's a quick and simple way to perk up your family's favorites with a little extra something.
Making Bread Crumb Alternatives
Dry bread crumbs are most often used as a coating for fried foods such as chicken, pork chops and vegetables. It takes one slice of bread to make 1/3 cup of dried bread crumbs. To make your own dry bread crumbs: bake bread slices in a single layer in a 300 degree oven until the bread is totally dry and lightly browned. After the bread is cooled, break it up into pieces and either give it a whirl in your food processor or put it in a plastic bag and crush it by rolling it with a rolling pin. An added benefit to making your own bread crumbs is that you can flavor them any way you want. With salt, pepper and your favorite herbs you can create your own seasoned bread crumbs for much less than it would cost you to buy the prepared kind.
Creating Soft Bread Crumbs
To create 1 cup of soft bread crumbs you need 2 slices of bread, 3/4 cup of cracker crumbs or 1 1/3 cups of uncooked old-fashioned oatmeal. One slice of bread will also yield 3/4 cup of soft bread crumbs. To make soft bread crumbs yourself, tear bread slice into fourths and put the pieces into a food processor or blender and then pulse on and off quickly until it is the consistency you want.
The Best Substitutes for Coating Foods
Consider finely crushing your favorite crackers or cereal as a substitute for bread crumbs in coating foods. Corn, wheat or rice flake cereals work quite well. Do remember however, to use unsweetened cereals. Three cups of cereal flakes are equal to about 1 cup of bread crumbs.
Binding Agent Alternatives
Old-fashioned oats (not the quick cooking kind) are an excellent replacement for use in meatloaves and croquettes. Oats can help make expensive ingredients such as crab go further. Leftover cornbread also works well in these types of foods.
Using substitutes for bread crumbs in your recipes can liven up an old favorite like meatloaf by giving it a different texture as well as flavor. You are limited only by your imagination and taste preferences when you decide to use bread crumb substitutes to your favorite recipes.