To make dry breadcrumbs, pre-dry fresh bread slices on an ungreased cookie sheet in an oven for 15 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit, cool the bread, and transfer chunks of it to a food processor or a blender jar. Pulsate the bread until you achieve the desired crumb size or until the crumbs resemble grains of rice.
To make dry breadcrumbs by hand, dry the bread slices in the oven, place them in a sealed plastic bag, and smash the bread with a rolling pan. Breadcrumbs stored in a resealable bag keep fresh for up to one month in the refrigerator and up to three months in the freezer. Feel free to use the heels of bread, but do not use stale bread when preparing breadcrumbs.
For serving suggestions, mix breadcrumbs with grated fresh Parmesan cheese, and sprinkle the mixture over any gratin or vegetable casserole, such as fennel. Dredge chicken breasts in breadcrumbs, and fry or roast the breasts. Add breadcrumbs to meatballs to improve texture and extend any recipe. Breadcrumbs lend body to homemade veggie burgers and stuffing for mushrooms or bell peppers. Sprinkle breadcrumbs onto fresh pasta dishes for added crunch. A sprinkling of breadcrumbs contributes crunch to sautéed chard or spinach.