home-made croutons, bread, olive oil, cheese, herbs

Home Made Croutons

I bought a box of croutons and after tasting them, never repeated that action – but I have since been subjected to store-bought croutons over and over at the homes of family and friends. Sorry guys, it had to be said! I have to admit, it’s nice to have that little crunch in the salad but it can be so much better!

home-made croutons, bread, olive oil, cheese, herbs

Home-made Croutons from real bread. Crispy, chewy deliciousness!

You can toss out home-made croutons in minutes. Just use a little leftover bread, a little olive oil. Add some garlic, a few herbs, maybe a sprinkle of cheese if you’re inspired.

They taste amazing, cost pennies, and if you’re using leftover bread, prevent waste. Why would anyone want to pay so much more for a package of them when these are so good?

If you’re like me, you’ll look at the amount of oil and think it’s too much – and you’ll cut it back. Having made these for years, I can absolutely attest that you’ll realize it’s not enough, You’ll have to start adding oil and you’ll end up using more than the original.

home-made croutons, bread, olive oil, cheese, herbs

Home-made Croutons from real bread. Here the bread was torn into pieces – lots of nooks and crannies to crisp up.

There are two methods:
  • Pan Frying:  Requires a little more attention and the croutons absorb more oil but they (duh!) taste the best. Crunchy on the outside, a little chewy on the inside makes them just about addictive.
  • Oven Method: Uses less oil, and doesn’t have to be watched as intensely. These turn out hard and crisp, a little more like store-bought.
Storage: 

Homemade croutons, stored in a plastic container or a plastic bag, last several weeks, unrefrigerated, depending on how dry and crisp they are. The baked seem to store a bit better. Don’t worry, though, about storage – they’re always gone way before then!  Plus, you can make as few or as many as you’d like.

Size: 

For either method:  Cut or tear bread into cubes or rectangles. If cutting, just stack and slice.  Anywhere from a half-inch to an inch or so is a great size, so go petite or large – it’s up to you. The larger ones tend to give a softer interior, and smaller ones easily crisp all the way through.

Ingredients:

Have your ingredients ready, because croutons take minutes and you won’t want to be fumbling around for something:

  • Oil:  I prefer to use olive oil, but any oil to your taste is fine.
  • Herbs:  Good herb choices are basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, parsley or chives. Garlic powder may be used.
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Other seasonings: Just about any powdered spices could be added to croutons – cayenne, smoked paprika, any flavor profile one might like.
  • Cheese:  Any hard cheese is a good choice, so don’t feel limited to just Parmesan.
Sautéed Croutons:
  • 3 cups of cut up bread
  • 1/2 cup of oil, plus more if needed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated cheese (optional)
  • Herbs of your choosing

Heat a skillet on medium heat. Add the oil and heat. Once the oil is hot, toss in the breadcrumbs, immediately tossing and turning around to coat with the oil. Saute, allowing them to crisp, tossing frequently to prevent burning.

When about halfway done, add the garlic if using. Watch like a hawk, nudging any individual croutons over onto their unbrowned side, and don’t be afraid to scoop some onto a plate if it looks like they are done, then drop any unbrowned on one side back into the skillet on that side only.

If you’re just making a few, the process goes much quicker.

The croutons darken just a bit more after being removed, and if left in the hot pan, they will continue to cook and likely burn, so remove promptly from the pan. When finished, add in a few herbs and cheese, if you’d like and toss.

If you prefer, cook a clove or two of crushed garlic as you heat your oil. Remove your garlic when it’s browned, before you add the bread.

Oven Baked Croutons:
  • 3 cups 1/2-inch cubes day-old bread
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated cheese (optional)
  • Herbs of your choosing

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a shallow baking pan toss bread with oil. Toss bread with cheese and bake in middle of oven, stirring occasionally, 8 to 15 minutes depending on size, or until golden.

They may need to be turned, depending on size. Toss with herbs of your choice when pan is removed from the oven.

Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:
  • Use a coupon matching site! Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
  • Follow my 12 Strategies. You’ll find lots of tips on how to shop for and manage groceries
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Read Strategies Applied for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.

 

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2 thoughts on “Home Made Croutons

  1. bethanie

    Hmm, can’t decide which one to try first. These look amazing. So many bread crumbs are dry and lifeless and not worth the carbs, if you know what I mean. Thanks for posting!

  2. Pingback: Roasted California Chilies and Garlic Chowder with Rosemary Sourdough Croutons « My Spanish Translator

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