April 20, 2012
How To Make CroutonsBread dries out with time. If your bread was purchased fresh from the bakery (or homemade) and left in a paper bag, it will become hard and dry fairly quickly. If your bread was pre-packaged in plastic it probably has enough preservatives that it will dry out before getting moldy (mouldy). If your bread has any signs of mold – throw it out! But, if it’s just dry and unappealing as bread, think about making croutons or bread crumbs. Both are dry anyways, so the perfect choices to make use of your old bread. They are not difficult to make and since there aren’t many uses for old bread, you are basically getting a new item for the cost of a little oil and running your oven, which if you are baking your dinner at the same time – is nothing. I just love to get something for nothing, and the crunch these puppies add to a salad is definitely something!
Ingredients – Here’s what you’ll need:
Instructions – How to make Croutons:
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2) Dice your bread to whatever size croutons you prefer.
3) Toss the bread squares with olive oil and spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet(s) and sprinkle with salt for basic croutons.
For flavor variety, see the suggestions below and toss those in after you’ve tossed with the olive oil and before spreading in the pan(s).
4) Bake 15 minutes then toss the croutons, rotate the pans and bake for another 10-15 minutes until crisp and golden.
5) Let them cool completely in the pans.
Store them in airtight containers at room temperature, your fresh croutons will keep at least a month. Congrats – you’ve just extended the shelf life of bread for another month! The exception is if you made Cheese croutons – cheese croutons should be used within a week.
CHEESE – Toss with 3/4 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
SPICE – Toss with 2 Tablespoons Paprika, 1 teaspoon ground Cumin and 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
HERB – Toss with 1/4 Cup Parsley and 1 Tablespoon chopped Thyme or Rosemary (fresh, if you’ve got it)
If you’ve got some old bagels and would like Bagel Chips, try the same instructions with thinly sliced bagels.
If you’d like Bread Crumbs, just put the croutons into a food processor (or a plastic bag and take a mallet to them).