Make homemade whole wheat panko breadcrumbs in just three easy steps. And one step is as easy as making toast!
I’ll admit it: I’m late to panko breadcrumb party.
Sure, topping casseroles with extra crunchy breadcrumbs seems like a worthy idea. But honestly, it was just one more step that slowed getting dinner to the table. So I skipped it.
Until this dish. This simple winter Turnip & Roasted Apple Bake righted my misconceptions.
Without the homemade panko, that veggie casserole would’ve been just a mishmash of root veggies and apples in the same baking dish. But with the buttery crumbs, all the flavors and textures melded together: Earthy veggies + sweet apples and creamy sauce + complimenting crunchy crumbs.
Since becoming a breadcrumb believer, I’ve streamlined my process to make whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs. And now I add them to everything. They made this cheesy mashed potato casserole look extra fancy.
Whole wheat panko breadcrumbs are perfect for sprinkling on finished slow cooker dishes – because they add contrasting crunch to Crockpot meals that usually have no textures at all.
The process is so simple:
1) Butter 2-3 pieces of whole wheat bread. I like to use the hearty whole wheat bread from a local bakery because the panko crumbs turn out EXTRA-crunchy. But I’ll use regular whole wheat sandwich bread in a pinch. Cocktail rye bread works well too.
Make sure to butter the bread before toasting. This allows the butter to soak into the bread – so more crumbs become buttery – THIS is what makes them extra-crunchy. And essentially this is what makes the breadcrumbs panko breadcrumbs.
2) Toast buttered bread until crisp, but not yet golden brown. (Then when you bake in the oven, the crumbs won’t burn.)
3) Once the toast is cool – whiz in a mini-food processor or chopper – like the chopper that comes with many immersion blenders. Pulse only a few times to keep the crumbs light and fluffy – like packaged panko.
So, what’s the difference between panko and regular breadcrumbs? The texture. Compared to regular breadcrumbs that are very fine and crumb-like, panko are extra crispy, are light and airy and are in larger course crumbs. Packaged panko crumbs are generally light and fluffy with a few larger crumbs; they’re made with white bleached flour, oil, and some benign preservatives. They have a lot of crunch, but basically zero taste.
Using real ingredients will make your whole wheat panko breadcrumbs taste amazing. They work well for topping baked dishes and combined with finely chopped nuts for extra crunch and nutrition the panko is great as a crispy coating for chicken and fish.How to Make Whole Wheat Panko Breadcrumbs - make baked dishes and casseroles taste better via @TspCurry Click To Tweet
Have you been partying with breadcrumbs – or do you skip that step? Making any baked dishes for holiday get-togethers?