Have you ever come across a recipe that calls for fresh breadcrumbs and wondered how fresh is fresh? Should you use soft bread or should you let the fresh bread get stale before you crumb it up?

Here's what you need to know.

To make fresh breadcrumbs, you should let the bread get stale but not rock-hard. If you use very soft bread, the bread won't crumb, it will ball up and get sticky.

You can speed up the rate bread gets stale by placing torn up pieces (see below for why you want it torn) into a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for about 20 minutes to remove much of the bread's moisture.

Types of bread for breadcrumbs

bagel Let bagels get a little stale, and turn them into breadcrumbs. (Photo: Handmade Pictures/Shutterstock)

Sandwich bread will do, but it's not the best choice. Better choices are baguettes or Italian bread. The truth is, though, that any bread can be made into crumbs — sandwich bread, baguettes, Italian bread, bagels, burger or hot dog rolls, English muffins, naan, hoagie rolls — anything that you can allow to get a little stale. You can remove the crusts or not; it's up to you.

Making fresh breadcrumbs

torn up bread Bread should be torn into pieces before it's turned into breadcrumbs. (Photo: Michael C Gray/Shutterstock)

Tear the stale bread into small pieces and put them in a food processor or a blender. Pulse or blend for a few seconds at a time, stopping to check to see if the bread is forming the size crumbs you want.

If you don't have either kitchen appliance, you can grate the stale bread on a cheese grater, but if you do, you'll want the bread to be in larger pieces so it's easier to manage on the grater.

You can keep the crumbs plain or season them with complementary seasonings for the dish you'll be using them in.

If this seems really simple, that's because it is.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

How to make fresh breadcrumbs
A rundown of the many questions that arise when a recipe calls for fresh breadcrumbs, like do you use soft fresh bread or let it get stale first?