You can make croutons out of any bread. But consider the end use. (Are the flavors in your stale bread the same flavors you want in your gratin topping? Will the tang of sourdough be a nice counterpoint to the chocolate in your dessert? Would you enjoy rye bread in that soup?) And then act accordingly.
Croutons are useful for more than salad. Use them to thicken a soup, stuff them into a turkey, or soak them in custard for bread pudding as dessert. And any croutons can be turned into fine or coarse breadcrumbs in a jiffy. [Editor’s Note: To learn how to turn croutons into breadcrumbs, look for the note just beneath the croutons recipe below.]–Tabitha Alterman
LC Which Came First? Note
Which came first, the imparting of flavor to croutons or the baking of them? For most of us, the familiar order is tossing stale bread with oil or melted butter, salt, and maybe some finely grated cheese or herbs, then sliding the whole shebang in the oven. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But we gotta say, after trying this recipe, we’re going to reverse the order from here on. See, making plain croutons not only allows the croutons to last longer (quick science lesson: fat turns rancid more quickly than carbs), but it allows you to turn all your stale bread into croutons at once in one easy go without having to pause and contemplate exactly how much you want flavored this way and how much you want flavored that way. You can then fancy up your toasted croutons later, when you need them, in exactly the amount you need, with exactly the flavors you need. You’re welcome.
Homemade Croutons Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 5 M
- 25 M
- Servings vary
- Leftover bread (any type and amount)
- 1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
- 2. Cut or tear the leftover bread into roughly 1-inch chunks. Place the chunks in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.
- 3. Bake the croutons, tossing occasionally to help toast all sides evenly, until crisp, thoroughly dry, and browned to whatever your desired shade on all sides, anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, depending on the freshness of your bread and the size of the chunks. Transfer to a plate to cool completely.
How To Make Bread Crumbs From Croutons
- Making bread crumbs from croutons couldn’t be easier. Simply toss the cooled croutons in your food processor and pulse until the desired texture is achieved. (No food processor? No problem. Place some croutons in a resealable plastic bag, squeeze out as much air as you can, seal it tightly, and then bang on it with a rolling pin, heavy skillet, or empty wine bottle.) See? Easy peasy.
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Homemade Croutons Recipe © 2015 Tabitha Alterman. Photo © 2015 Tim Nauman. All rights reserved.
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