How to Make Croutons: New Life to Old Bread
I cannot stand letting food go to waste. Because of this, I transform old bread into homemade croutons. Here I will show you how easy it is to make homemade croutons…
When I moved back to Cincinnati I was in between finishing culinary school and having my older son. After cooking every day for almost a year a half and developing thick calluses on my hands, a break from cooking sounded good. Once Mac (my oldest) was born and he was in his routine, I started to get the itch. Anybody who works in the kitchen understands: every day you pray for a break but as soon as you spend more than 5 days out of the kitchen you wonder “when do I ever get to go back?”
I was blessed to start working at a local market that sold produce, meats, cheeses, and had the most amazing bakery. I started working there because I could work from 3AM – 10AM in the morning and then I could come home and Mac would just be waking up. While working at the market, efficiency, organization, and never-wasting-a-single-item-of-food were ingrained in me. If produce was almost past its peak, we would throw it in a tart. If veggies weren’t selling they would go into a quiche. If bread wasn’t fresh we would make homemade croutons. Nothing ever went to waste.
If ever you were the new kid in the kitchen, or if you were late for work that day, you would be put on crouton duty and would make homemade croutons all day. Your calluses would blister after slicing loaf after loaf into perfect cubes. You would fall asleep with your hands in the position of holding a knife. You would wake up ten minutes earlier the next day because you feared being on crouton duty… However, it is one of those things that today I use in my own kitchen at home. If hotdog or hamburger buns might go to waste, I turn them into croutons. If fresh herbs are starting to go bad, melt with butter and flavor my croutons. In my kitchen, nothing ever goes to waste! Here is a simple how-to for homemade croutons.
Homemade Croutons Recipe
- Bread (fresh, flavored, buns or otherwise, all bread is perfect for this recipe)
- Salt/ Pepper
- Seasonings (fresh herbs, dried spices, citrus zests are all delicious)
- Preheat your oven to broil.
- Add butter and flavorings to a large saute pan. Turn to medium heat, cook until the butter melts and bubbles. Turn off the heat.
- Slice your loaves of bread into traditional slices. Stack your slices of bread and cut lengthwise and then turn the bread 180 degrees and cut again to create cubes. (It is easier if you keep the bread stacked together.)
- Add your bread to the saute pan full of melted butter and toss.
- Season the with salt and pepper and toss, add to a roasting pan.
- In your pre-heated oven, lower the top shelf so it’s a few levels lower and not directly under the flame.
- Place your roasting pan in the oven and let cook 1-2 minutes until the croutons start to get golden brown. DO NOT LEAVE THE OVEN DURING THE PROCESS, the croutons can burn easily.
- Once the croutons start to brown, remove from the oven and toss around so the other sides of the croutons can start browning.
- When the croutons are golden brown on all sides, remove from the oven and let cool.
- Store on your counter top in an air tight container and toss in your favorite salad or pulse in your food processor for homemade breadcrumbs.