Breadcrumbs or bread crumbs (regional variants: breading, crispies)
are small particles of dry bread, which are used for breading or
crumbing foods, topping casseroles, stuffing poultry, thickening
stews, and adding inexpensive bulk to meatloaves and similar foods.
They are documented in cookbooks as early as 1716. They may be
confused with simple cubed, dried bread or croutons, but breadcrumbs
are much smaller in size, akin to the size of common ants.
However, the crumb of bread is also a term that refers to the
texture of the inner soft part of a loaf of bread, as distinguished
from the crust, or "skin".
Dry breadcrumbs are made from very dry bread which has been baked or
toasted to remove all remaining moisture, and may have a sandy or
even powdery texture. They can be used to make a crisp and crunchy
coating for fried foods (see breading). The breads used to make soft
or fresh bread crumbs are not quite as dry, so the crumbs are larger
and produce a softer coating, crust, or stuffing.
Bread crumbs are most easily produced by pulverizing slices of bread
in a food processor, using a steel blade to make coarse crumbs, or a
grating blade to make fine crumbs. A grater or similar tool will