Fresh bread crumbs can be made by removing the crusts from fresh or day-old bread and either tear by hand or pulse in the food processor until small crumbs form.
Dry bread crumbs can be made by placing day-old bread cubes on a cookie sheet and baking in the oven at 325°F (162.8°C) until very dry and lightly browned. Place cooled cubes in a blender and process until the desired size is obtained.
Fresh bread crumbs can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about a week.
To freeze, put either fresh or dry bread crumbs in a plastic bag and store for up to 6 months.
Lean, crusty breads are stored differently than soft, enriched breads.
Don't store bread in the refrigerator; it dries out, even when packaged in sealed plastic bags.
To preserve the crustiness in lean breads, store them in paper, but they will become stale within 1 day; they are best eaten the same day they are made.
If you want to preserve crusty bread for up to 1 week, cater wrap the loaves in plastic wrap (this means wrap them completely in both directions to prevent any air from getting to them), then place in a cool, dark location.
Soft, enriched bread, such as sandwich bread, is always best stored in plastic and kept in a cool, dark place. Regular soft bread loaves will have a shelf life at room temperature for 3 to 5 days. Exposure to sunlight causes the loaf to sweat, creating condensation in the wrapper and eventually mold on the loaf.
At room temperature, sourdough, whole wheat and multigrain will keep for 3 to 4 days; rye bread for 4 to 6 days.
To freeze crusty bread, either cater wrap or use a Ziploc bag (squeeze out all the air before sealing). When freezing, you can pre-slice the loaf so that you can remove only what you need without defrosting the entire loaf. Frozen bread will keep for 2 to 3 months.
Soft pre-sliced sandwich loaves are best for freezing, allowing the removal of only the slices you are planning to use (and they thaw much more quickly than whole loaves). Frozen bread will keep for 2 to 3 months.
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