This week’s Guest Post is by Jim
” Eat your Crusts, they’ll make your hair go Curly ” so said Nanna, all those years ago.
You might remember a while back that I wrote about a bread pudding inspired by my old Nanna’s “Waste Not, Want Not” ethic.
I’d been putting end-crusts away faithfully ever since, until I went to the freezer a couple of days ago. Uppermost in my mind was my immediate need to put away some scrumptious locally-killed meat which I’d just trimmed into meal-for-two sized pieces.
You guessed it!
A freezer-drawer jammed with dutifully-frozen end-crusts ….
What to do? … Reduce the volume and convert to a format not requiring cold storage, dummy!
By chance, I had just finished some oven-baking, so the oven was still good and hot. Grabbing some disposable pizza-trays (not strictly disposable – with a little care they are good for at least a dozen extra uses!) from my kitchen drawer I placed 6 end-crusts each onto 2 trays and let them dry out for about 20 minutes or so in the heat of the still-hot oven. There should still be enough heat in the oven (especially if it’s electric) to do this drying process without having to re-activate the heating element, unless you’re in a very humid environment, in which case, give it another few minutes at a middling-to-low setting.
After letting them cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes or so, down to room temperature, I placed the crusts 2 at a time into a large ziplock bag (you don’t need to buy these specially, either, if you are already in the habit of buying flat bread – just make a point of keeping the little dehumidifier sachet in the bag after the bag is emptied so no moulds or other mankiness can establish themselves), and then folded the bag over double.
Then, with my trusty rolling pin, a few gentle bashes with the flat end and a couple of rolls along the length of the doubled-over ziplock bag, et voilà! lovely fine toasty breadcrumbs to put into a repurposed Moccona jar.
Five repeats of this process reduced 12 fairly bulky end-crusts into a quantity fitting easily into one 200 grams (8-ounce jar), giving me enough crumbs for my frying purposes for at least a couple of weeks for no extra costs.
Thinking about it – even the energy was sort-of-free, as I already had the oven hot for my prior baking purpose. Win / Win!
There are a few things to really pay attention to in this process:
Dryness of the bread – the drier at the start, the better. Watch the humidity, too; if it’s a really rainy day, or if you live in a humid climate, a little extra time in the oven can’t do any harm. Don’t be tempted to use your toaster – it will almost certainly not remove all the moisture, unless you’ve set it to the ‘Exterminate!” setting, and black crumbs are rarely called for in a recipe.
Cleanliness and air-tightness of your storage container – no point in letting the fruit of your labour go stale or manky, is there?
Fullness of the container – the less air in there, the better the product will keep.
Oh and don’t forget to check out my previous post How to Repurpose Bread to make a Dessert
Until next time, Happy Crumbing!
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