[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="265" caption="Panko bread crumbs (image from Wikipedia)"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_571" align="alignleft" width="265" caption="Comparing the ingredients. The can of Western-style breadcrumbs gives more detail on its components, which is the main reason for the longer list."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_572" align="alignleft" width="265" caption="Comparing the texture side by side."][/caption]

Recently I was asked what the difference is between panko bread crumbs, which I started hearing about a few years ago, and just plain old breadcrumbs. I didn’t know, so I decided to do some research.

I first took out some regular bread crumbs and panko bread crumbs, and compared their ingredient lists. This actually wasn’t that helpful; I found that their ingredient lists were essentially the same (flour, corn syrup or dextrose, oil or shortening, salt etc. - though the panko crumbs contained egg, which may or may not matter).

Next, I went to the Wikipedia article for panko. Apparently, the major ingredient difference is simply that panko is made from bread without crusts! This seemed to be corroborated by a few other sources.

Food is not just its ingredients, of course. If you compare panko and regular bread crumbs side by side, there are a few other differences. Panko seems to be ground more coarsely. As a result, it has a crunchier texture; regular breadcrumbs are a little more like sand. Panko also doesn’t seem to be toasted as thoroughly, though it’s difficult to say for sure. This particular type of breadcrumb has a bunch of added spices and dried herbs, which makes it taste and look different as well, but that doesn’t matter for the basic comparison.