Bread crumbs, also called breadcrumbs, refers to bread that has been broken down into small crumbs. They can be purchased or home-made.
All breadcrumbs are ground bread, but they can generally be divided into three varieties. Fresh breadcrumbs may be somewhat stale, but they are not typically thoroughly dried. This makes them soft in texture, and they absorb liquid well. Dry breadcrumbs are made from dried and toasted bread that is ground until fine in texture. Panko breadcrumbs are a delicate and flaky variety made from dried and coarsely-ground fine white bread.
Breadcrumbs can be used as a thickener, binder, topping, or coating. They may also be used to add bulk to dishes. Fine dried and panko breadcrumbs are often used to create a crispy exterior on fried foods. Fresh breadcrumbs may thicken foods, such as soups, sauces, and meatballs.