Homemade Croutons

July 2, 2009 by andrea | Filed under Food Gifts, Handy Hints, Holidays, Recipes, Salad.

croutons

It’s summertime and prime salad-eating weather. Sure, you can buy store-bought croutons to add to your salad but I challenge you to take a few minutes and make your own. I promise you, once you see how easy it is to make them and how good they are, you’ll never buy the store-bought kind again. Well, maybe you will but they won’t compare to this homemade version! I make these croutons all the time. They also make a tasty garnish for soup, and they’re a creative hostess gift or food gift when packaged in a pretty jar or bag. Who wouldn’t love to receive homemade croutons?

I find that a dense artisan bread makes the best croutons (not the fluffy loaves of French bread that major grocery stores carry in their bakeries). Grand Central Sourdough bread is my favorite for making flavorful croutons. The recipe calls for 3 cups of cubed bread but I use about 4 cups. The croutons usually take longer than 15 minutes to bake. I check them around 15 minutes, taste one, add more salt if needed, and continue baking them until they’re golden and crunchy. The croutons will be good for about a week if kept in an airtight container.

Homemade Croutons
-recipe from epicurious.com

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, halved
3 cups 3/4-inch cubes of Italian or French bread

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a small saucepan melt the butter with the oil, the garlic, and salt and pepper to taste over moderately low heat. Remove the mixture from the heat, let it stand for 10 minutes, and discard the garlic. In a bowl toss the bread cubes with the butter mixture, spread them on a baking sheet, and bake them in the middle of the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they are golden. The croutons may be made 1 day in advance and kept in an airtight container.

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