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.
- Quick Glance
- 5 M
- 25 M
- Servings vary
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
Cut or tear the leftover bread into roughly 1-inch chunks. Place the chunks in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.
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.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
There always seems to be leftover bread in our fridge, and I hate wasting stuff! I was making a baby kale and asparagus Caesar salad and thought I would give these easy croutons a whirl. I had a multigrain loaf to use, and like the recipe suggests, the cooking time really does depend on how fresh or stale the bread you happen to have on hand is. At 375°F, my bread cubes were crisp and thoroughly dry after only 11 minutes. You should really check the cubes after about 10 minutes—not only does the freshness of the bread matter in cooking time, but also the heat of your oven. I have to say, I loved that no additional oil was needed on these tasty croutons. They really did add a special crunch to our salad! (I have a loaf of challah in the fridge as well...my next mission is to use this croutons recipe for a custard dessert!)
I ran a mini-experiment with two slices of stale baguette. My bread had a lot of holes in it, so the chunks were very rough and misshapen, not at all even cubes. My bread was completely crisp, dry, and toasted after 18 minutes, and, even during this short baking time, needed regular monitoring throughout in order to end up with the desired dry cubes that were evenly toasted on all sides but not burnt. I love croutons and could make them again and again with different breads. The next I make these, I might turn the temperature down a bit in order to slow the browning part and allow me to be less attentive during baking. I can always eat croutons as a snack—no need to worry about what to do with them! I once gave someone a lovely container of homemade croutons. While I don’t think they had the same love for tasty morsels of crispy dried bread, croutons are a great way to salvage leftover bread of any type, size, shape, or flavor, even though I did not get perfect little squares from my very hole-laden bread.