Don’t throw away your old bread! It is easy to make Homemade Croutons from your Stale Bread!
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You know how you go to make a sandwich with that piece of bread that has been sitting on the counter or in the refrigerator and there is a bunch mold starting to grow one it? We have all been there! Well don’t throw it away! It makes great croutons that are so much better for you than the store bought versions and have so many uses!
This will definitely not be necessary for the ultra processed breads with about 40 preservatives at the end of the ingredients list. (Think Wonder bread, if you are American) That stuff will sit on the counter for 2 months and not get moldy! Think, instead of that nice, crusty loaf of French or Italian bread. Any bread that hasn’t been sliced works really well! Rye, Wheat, Oat, Sourdough all lend themselves perfectly! You could use presliced bread, but then you will have little tiny croutons. I usually grind the pre-sliced bread into coarse crumbs and then dry them for homemade bread crumbs!
The other beautiful thing is that you can pat yourself on the back for several reasons. First you are helping reduce food waste, (which is a huge problem in the US!). You are keeping your particular loaf of bread out of your local landfill, (which are running out of room!). You are helping to keep you family healthy by controlling the ingredients in your croutons, in comparison to the store bought kind. You are reducing your grocery bill and you can use up your spices faster so that you don’t have to throw them out after 6 months (that’s what the recommended time is to keep most spices or they lose their flavor).
You can use bread that has been in freezer too long and has gotten hard, too! All you have to do is cut off any moldy spots. You can cut all of the crust off if you wish but it’s not neccessary! Cut into bite sized squares. Then add any spices that you like. I do different spices and mark to baggies when I store them. Some spices that I use regularly are an Italian blend with basil, oregano and parsley. I often use dill. Thyme and sage are great for croutons that you will use for stuffing, (cornbread works well for that!). Add a touch of salt, if you wish, and some pepper. It is easiest to put the croutons in a large plastic bag, but working with your hands in a large bowl works well too.
Drizzle with olive oil. Mix. If they seem overly dry, just drizzle a little more olive oil. You don’t want the croutons drenched in olive oil. The olive oil is just used to help the spices stick. Plain croutons are great too! Use a slow oven, about 300°F to toast. Spread the croutons on a baking sheet, in a single layer. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the croutons are dried through but not too brown. So next time you find that bread that was better 3 days ago, make your family some homemade croutons. Croutons are a great topping for soups, like this Curried Yellow Squash Soup.
They are obsviously great for salads. I previously mentioned they make great stuffing for fish, chicken or turkey. Furthermore, in a pinch, you can grind them up in the food processor and use them for dried bread crumbs too!
Thanks for stopping by today! Enjoy! And have fun cooking!
Why buy croutons? They are so easy to make at home!
- 1 loaf stale crusty bread, such as; Italian, French, Rye, Sourdough
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp mixed spices
Cut any mold off of the bread. You can cut the crust off of the bread if you like but it is not mandatory!
Cut bread into bite sized cubed pieces.
Place cubes in a large plastic storage bag or large bowl. Drizzle olive oil all over the cubes. Add spices and shake bag or mix with hands.
Place on a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 300°F for 20-30 minutes until dry and golden brown. Don't let them brown too much or they will be hard.
Cool thoroughly. Store in a plastic bag at room temperature.
For Italian flavored croutons use 1 tsp. each oregano, basil and parsley.
For Stuffing croutons us 1.5 tsp. each sage and thyme
Other great flavors are dill weed, rosemary, onion powder, garlic powder.
Get creative! You can use any mixture of spices that you enjoy!