Saturday, May 22, 2010

Homemade Croutons

For years I've made croutons, and never really thought anything about it. It was just something I did with day-old (sometimes week-old) bread, rolls, hot dog buns, etc. The prep time is minimal and they taste delish! Much better than any packaged croutons I've ever tried. Try them on salads, soup, or eat them by the handful. I store them in a ziplock bag in the freezer. Pull them out right before you serve dinner and they're ready to go.

8 slices "homemade" type bread - use day old for best results
4 TB vegetable oil
4 TB butter
onion powder
Garlic salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a serrated knife, cut bread into 1- to 1 1/2-inch cubes. Put oil and butter on a large rimmed baking sheet and place in oven until butter melts. Remove baking sheet from oven and sprinkle with onion powder and garlic salt to taste. Sprinkle bread cubes over melted butter and lightly toss until most of the bread is coated in the butter. (I use a large pancake turner and just scoop the bread and flip it over.) Bake about 20-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until bread is toasted and dry. Cool on baking sheet. Store in ziplock bag in the freezer.

1) Almost any type of bread works for croutons EXCEPT bread with whole grains (like wheat berries) mixed into the dough. The grains get very hard. I also have not had good success with using the dinner rolls from Sam's Club to make the croutons - the croutons never dried out. Perhaps it's because I live in a high humidity area? No idea.

2) The baking time is approximate because all types of bread have a different moisture content. If the croutons are getting brown but aren't getting crisp, turn down the heat in your oven and prop open the oven door just a crack with a wooden spoon.

3) I've made croutons with all different seasonings and spices including season salt, parsley, sage, rosemary, etc. All are good, but for a basic crouton that will go with anything, the onion powder and garlic salt really can't be beat.

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