19
May
09

Croutons 101


“You make your own croutons?!” our dinner guest exclaimed. “I didn’t know people made their own croutons.”  “I always buy mine in a bag,” our other guest interjected. 

“Well, you guys know me, always showing off” I joked.  Actually, it’s really easy to make croutons and so much tastier. 

 Home made croutons can be any size you want;  teeny tiny for little mouths or jumbo for those giant maws.  They can be plain, salty, hot and spicy, garlicky, herby, cheesy, even sweet. They can be any flavor you want them to be.  Croutons are a great way to use day old French or Italian bread left over from last night’s dinner or party.  They are especially good in Caesar Salad.  Croutons can be used as snacks and are a nice addition as a garnishment for soup.

 Here’s all you need:

 An loaf of unsliced bread, day old preferred

Olive oil

Herbs of your choice

 A baking sheet, a Silpat or aluminum foil

That’s it.  Now let’s get started!

Start with an unsliced loaf of bread

Start with an unsliced loaf of bread

Using a serrated knife, remove the crust from the loaf

Using a serrated knife, remove the crust from the loaf

Crust removed and ready to cube

Crust removed and ready to cube

Slice the loaf lengthwise into three pieces

Slice the loaf lengthwise into three pieces

Make sure they are as even as you can make them

Make sure they are as even as you can make them

There, three fairly even slices

There, three fairly even slices

 

Now, slice each piece into 1/2 - 3/4 strips

Now, slice each piece into 1/2" - 3/4" strips

Cut the strips into cubes

Cut the strips into cubes

Cut them as large or as small as you prefer

Cut them as large or as small as you prefer

Place in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil, about 1 -2 tablespoons

Place in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil, about 1 -2 tablespoons

Add seasonings of your choice, 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoons each, or to taste

Add seasonings of your choice, 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoons each, or to taste

Toss seasoned bread cubes until evenly coated

Toss seasoned bread cubes until evenly coated

Place cubes on a foil or Silpat lined baking sheet and place in a preheated 350 degree oven

Place cubes on a foil or Silpat lined baking sheet and place in a preheated 350 degree oven

This is what they look like after 20 minutes at 350 degrees

This is what they look like after 20 minutes at 350 degrees

And this is what they look like after 30 minutes.  Be sure to taste the croutons after about 20 minutes.  If they are still a bit soft on the inside, give them more time.  These are done to perfection!

And this is what they look like after 30 minutes. Be sure to taste the croutons after about 20 minutes. If they are still a bit soft on the inside, give them more time. These are done to perfection!

Now, taste that!  You now have your first batch of home made croutons.  After they are totally cool, keep your croutons in an air tight container.  They should stay fresh for about two weeks, if they last that long!

Now, taste that! You now have your first batch of home made croutons. After they are totally cool, keep your croutons in an air tight container. They should stay fresh for about two weeks, if they last that long!

 

Have fun and be creative with your seasonings!

VG

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