Bread is not healthy. That’s why it tastes so good. So to stay healthy, I chop my bread up into little pieces, soak it in oil, toast it, cover it in dressing, and then eat it in a salad. That’s how I keep my shapely form.
Like the rest of the world, I started making bread at home for some reason back at the start of the pandemic. But I never stopped. I’ve made so much bread in the past year that I spoiled myself and started exclusively eating fresh bread. Which led to me making a fresh loaf of bread every day. Which led to me having a lot of half-eaten loaves of bread laying around.
When one has loads of loaves, one must get creative. I tried to get my kids to play with them like toys: crumb castles, loaf lands, slice cities. I even built a bread bed for Emma’s dolls. But at the end of the day, kids don’t want to play with old loaves of bread. They want to play with real toys. So I needed another plan.
Croutons are a more adult solution to having a pile of stale bread in your house. And while I’m super fancy in baking the bread for myself, you can really make croutons with anything. Old bagels? Croutons. English muffins at the back of the freezer? Croutons. Leftover hot dog buns? Croutons. That weird loaf whole grain bread you bought when trying to be healthy that’s been in your freezer for a year? Croutons.
These croutons are perfect for salads, sure, but they’re also a great way to add texture to soup. They’re a quick-and-easy grab-and-go snack, too. You’ll really find any number of excuses to grab them from the pantry. I even caught Emma putting croutons on bread once, which if you’re taking notes at home, is a crouton sandwich. Oh, and they’re shelf stable for up to two weeks. Though I’ve never had a batch last that long!
Anyway. As you might imagine, making your own croutons is super simple. Just dice some old bread, drizzle it in oil, and then season it with salt and herbs before reheating it.
There is a fierce debate in the crouton community about baking or sautéing as the optimal heating technique, but I’m here to put that debate to rest because anyone who sautés their croutons is a ridiculous fool. Baking is superior in every way. Frying bread in a pan is offensive; it burns too easily, splatters oil everywhere, and crumbles up the croutons. Baking, though, is easier. It fills the house with a beautiful aroma, requires only a single crouton toss halfway, and allows for optimal crunch specificity.
Let’s be honest: croutons are basically just little pieces of toast. But if you need an excuse to get some extra bread into your diet, this recipe is a can’t-miss!
- Stale bread
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Herbs (I use herb du province)
- Cube bread and spread on sheet pan. Note that bread cubes will shrink slightly when cooked.
- Drizzle oil, salt and herbs over bread cubes and gently mix together.
- Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees before turning bread mixture. Finish for another 5-10 minutes until croutons are at desired doneness.