To make crumbs - Use one of the following methods:
Toaster Method: If starting with bread slices that can fit into a toaster, toast them lightly. Then grind the toast in a blender or food processor.
Dried Bread Method: If starting with part of a baguette that has become dry, slice it up into chunks (if it's too difficult to cut, heat it in the microwave for a bit). Then grind the chunks of bread in a blender or food processor.
Oven Method: If starting with leftover bread that hasn't dried out completely, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the bread into slices and place them on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, or just until the bread is dry but not browned. Proceed to grind the bread in a blender or food processor.
Fresh Bread Method for Soft Breadcrumbs: If looking for a soft texture, just grind up fresh bread in a blender or food processor without toasting or drying it first.
Italian Bread Crumbs
Let bread crumbs cool on the counter if the bread was heated in the oven or toaster. In a bowl, mix cooled bread crumbs with basil, garlic powder and pepper, using a fork or spoon. If using the bread crumbs right away, mix in the Parmesan and salt, if needed.
Store any leftover breadcrumbs with cheese in an airtight container for up to a week in the refrigerator. Breadcrumbs without cheese mixed in can be stored for up to a month in the refrigerator or three months in the freezer.
When adding Parmesan later to stored breadcrumbs, use a ratio of 2 parts bread crumbs to 1 part cheese.