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Panko vs. Bread Crumbs

Q. What is the difference between Panko and regular bread crumbs? Is one better than the other and can they be used interchangeably?  –Hannah, Appleton

A. Panko crumbs are bread crumbs that are larger and coarser than standard bread crumbs which tend to be finer. Panko crumbs are prepared using only the inside white part of the bread, and since no outside crusts are used they are much whiter than traditional bread crumbs that are made by grinding all of the bread including the crusts. For these reasons, Panko crumbs tend to be more expensive than traditionally prepared bread crumbs. Panko crumbs are usually used when a crispier, crunchier coating is desired on the product being made. In essence, Panko crumbs and traditional bread crumbs can be used interchangeably, but the results will be noticeably different. I keep both Panko crumbs and traditional bread crumbs at home so I have a choice when I am cooking. For example, I use Panko crumbs on my baked coconut shrimp recipe to give them a nice crispy coating. I oven-bake my Scotch eggs, and because of this I prefer to use Panko crumbs to provide a little more crunch on the crust. If I need bread crumbs to help bind a crab cake, I would use traditional bread crumbs. 

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