Soft Bread Crumbs
Dried bread crumbs, whether they're the kind available at the supermarket or those made from stale bread, are a handy kitchen staple, but you may never go back to them once you've cooked with crumbs made from fresh bread. The soft, spongelike crumbs create meatier coatings for sautéed and fried foods (like the Chicken Kiev) than their dried counterparts. Fresh crumbs are also perfect for using in fillings for stuffed mushrooms and for making meatballs. Melted butter and fresh bread crumbs are bosom companions; I combine them to make a topping for such deep-dish American classics as macaroni and cheese. To make one cup of crumbs, cut the crusts off of three slices of white sandwich bread, tear the bread into pieces, and pulse it in a food processor—two or three times for coarse crumbs, more for a finer consistency.