by Cat, Nov 2013 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
Included: 1. Basic Croutons; 2. Garlic Croutons; 3. Herb Croutons
Most of us probably buy a box of croutons, not realizing how easy they are to make. Plus, it’s a great way to use up bread that is going stale. Croutons are a tasty garnish to soups and salads, but are also used to make dressings and stuffings for poultry and other meats.
Each recipe has two different methods for making the croutons. I have better luck with method 1, which is adapted from The Vegetarian Epicure, by Anna Thomas, and Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, published 1969, 1978, 1986. Method 2 is adapted from FineCooking website, but I lost the link and cannot find it again.
This makes 1 ¼ cups croutons
- 3 – 4 slices whiter whole grain bread that is beginning to go stale, but NOT dry
- 4 Tbsp real butter
- Unrefined sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Allow ¼ cup butter to soften in a small bowl.
- Remove crusts from bread (if desired), then spread butter thinly on both sides of bread, then cut bread into cubes.
- Arrange on a baking sheet and toast in oven preheated to 350° – 400°F for about 15 – 20 minutes, tossing around occasionally so all sides get toasted; or toast in a cast iron skillet, stirring/tossing so all sides get toasted.
- Remove from oven/skillet and set aside.
- Remove crusts from the bread and cut into ½” cubes.
- Melt butter in large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add bread cubes and sauté until golden.
- Remove to paper towels and season to taste.
- If you want them to be crispier, preheat oven to 250°F. Transfer croutons to a baking sheet and bake in preheated oven about 15 minutes.
- basic recipe plus:
- 2 – 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- Use olive oil instead of butter, if using with a Mediterranean or Middle Eastern recipe.
Follow Method #1, except: Mince garlic, sprinkle with salt, then press to a paste with the side of your knife blade. Let rest a few minutes, then mix into softened or melted butter; spread thinly on bread slices before toasting.
- basic recipe, plus
- minced fresh, or ground, dried herbs, as desired
Follow Method #1, except: Mince fresh herbs (or use powder/ground dried herbs). Stir into softened buttered, then spread thinly on bread slices before toasting.