Most days I make a loaf of bread, and if there are leftovers the next afternoon, it goes to the chickens to enjoy (and the dogs love a crust or two to nosh on). Then I had on Sunday where I threw a loaf of bread into the bread machine, and went off island to run errands. I came home to a perfect cooled loaf that no one had eaten any of. Turned out they ate other things for lunch. Which is OK of course.
So not wanting to waste an entire loaf of bread on Monday, I got to work. I trimmed the loaf, sending all that to the chickens, and prepped the interior into light and crunch croutons for topping lunch salads.
No waste and so much better tasting than commercial bagged croutons (paying $3 to 5 for a tiny bags of literal stale bread…..).
The baking aroma lured down 2 teens and they wanted to know what smelled so good. They ate half the batch as a snack. I hid enough for our next salad. I had to laugh, they didn’t want the bread the day before, but this they wanted.
You can use nearly any bread, day old is best. Stale bakes best. And homemade has a short ingredient list…and no preservatives (natural or unnatural) added, so it bakes up perfectly.
Homemade Croutons recipe
- 1 loaf bread (used my daily white sandwich bread)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning blend
- 1 tsp granulated garlic
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 375°.
Cut the crusts off the bread loaf, then cube the interior into crouton-sized chunks and place into a large mixing bowl.
In a small bowl mix the seasoning and the olive oil well. Pour half the oil over the bread, toss to coat. Then repeat and toss again.
Spread the cubes out on a baking sheet. I used a pizza pan that has air holes, that helps with air crisp up faster.
Bake for 20 minutes, pull out and stir well. Remove any nicely brown croutons, set on a cooling rack. Continue baking for 5 minutes, check again.
You want the croutons to be nice and crispy, and very golden/to dark brown.
Spread out on a cooling rack and let cool off fully, then package in an airtight container (preferably glass). They will last for up to a week on the counter, fully sealed.