Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How to make croutons

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I make homemade croutons every week. In fact, I buy extra bread specifically for croutons. Croutons get my family to eat more vegetables. Homemade croutons garnish every salad and float atop every soup I serve.

[pause]

Who am I kidding? Here's why we go through so many croutons: because we eat them standing up at the counter straight from the baking sheet. Homemade croutons are one of the most delicious snacks known to humankind. They're crunchy and salty. You won't be able to stop licking your lips. Or your fingers.


Homemade croutons are exponentially better than store-bought croutons, and they're extremely easy to make. In fact, making croutons seems so basic to me that I wondered whether it even warranted a recipe. I asked my Facebook friends and they said yes, they would welcome a post on how to make croutons. So here we are. 

My favorite bread for croutons is La Brea Bakery rosemary olive oil bread, which, conveniently, I get at my local Costco. I like sturdy croutons with a good hefty chew, and the sturdier the bread, the sturdier the croutons. But you can really make croutons out of any kind of bread. More delicate bread like challah or brioche yields a dainty crouton. Dense, hefty bread makes solid nuggets. Play around and see what you like.


Tips: Leave the crusts on. Don't use your best olive oil. Cut the cubes of bread small enough that you won't break your teeth on the finished croutons. And make more than you think you need.

print recipe
Homemade croutons
Turn extra bread into salty, oil-slicked croutons in less than half an hour. Use them to dress up salad or soup if you can keep yourself from eating them straight from the oven.
Ingredients
  • 1 loaf rustic bread (try sourdough, French bread, Italian bread or La Brea Bakery rosemary olive oil loaf)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp garlic salt (substitute 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp granulated garlic and 1/4 tsp dried parsley)
Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.Cut the loaf of bread into 1/2-inch cubes. Spread the cubes of bread on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the oil over the bread, then sprinkle the garlic salt on top. Using your hands, toss the bread cubes until they are evenly coated with the oil and garlic salt.Bake the croutons approximately 20 minutes, until they are a light golden brown (start checking after 15 minutes). Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the croutons cool on the baking sheet. Store in an airtight container or zip-top bag up to 1 week. If you keep them longer you'll notice that the oil will develop an off taste.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: approximately 6 cups

8 comments:

Cookin' Canuck said...

Seriously, how can you resist eating fresh croutons straight from the baking sheet?! Not possible! These sound wonderful, Erika.

Jean (Lemons and Anchovies) said...

Looking forward to trying your recipe. I can never seem to get it right. Thanks so much for posting!

Anonymous said...

It seems your doubt about whether croutons warranted a recipe caused the guilt that drove you to add a bonus. That would be the spontaneous chuckle-snort - such a fun surprise - that was triggered after the pause. Croutons and comedy!

Erika Kerekes said...

@Anon - glad someone got a laugh out of it. I amuse myself all the time, but my kids certainly don't think I'm funny...

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

I only make croutons right before I am going to use them or I just eat the whole batch. They never make it to a plastic bag if they have to go by my mouth!

Erika Kerekes said...

@Rocky - I think we were separated at birth.

Mama's Gotta Bake said...

I make a salad almost every night but have never taken the time to make homemade croutons! These sound delicious, but I will probably just eat them right out of the oven, I'm sure.

Gemma said...

great post! thanks!

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