Easy Delicious Crunchy Homemade Croutons
Summer time is salad time in our house. I crave the crisp summer greens and colorful veggies all tossed together with a yummy dressing. The topper of choice to make my salads the absolute best is my easy, delicious, crunchy, homemade croutons.
These also work great crushed into crumbs for my Aglio Olio recipe.
I use a loaf of rustic french bread a young man bakes. He has a side business baking the yummiest bread for the local wineries and restaurants then delivers it fresh from the oven. I know most of you don’t have access to such a source a good dense french bread will work great or I have used the Torta rolls from Costco and they are just as delicious.
Cube your bread, you can make them larger or smaller as you please, I usually have mine roughly about 1 inch. Smaller ones will be easier for kids to eat, they are quite crunchy. You only have to shorten to baking time for smaller croutons.
My ingredients are as follows:
French Bread (I usually don’t make an entire loaf into croutons but around 2 to 3 cups of bread cubes)
Salt (to taste)
Pinch of black pepper
1 clove garlic (I also have used granulated garlic in lieu of the fresh)
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons of Butter
Fresh Parsley (optional) You can add any herb you like and switch up the flavors. I also have used some Parmesan or Asiago cheese on them and it adds a great flavor.
On low heat saute your sliced garlic clove in the olive oil, you don’t want it to turn dark brown, just a golden color. If you cook it on too high of a heat and get it too dark the garlic turns bitter. (if using granulated garlic skip this step)
Strain out the garlic pieces so you are left with a garlic flavored oil.
Melt your butter into the olive oil and drizzle both over your bread cubes.
Toss cubes gently as you drizzle to distribute the liquid evenly over your cubes. They should not be drenched with oil/butter but only slightly moistened.
Snip your fresh herbs (if using) using kitchen shears and a small bowl. This technique is so much easier for me than chopping them with a knife. The small bowl keeps them in a tight location so the tips of the shears snip them easily into small bits.
Sprinkle on the salt, pepper, and herbs (if using granulated garlic this is when you would add it) Toss to coat the bread cubes well. The oil/butter mix moistening the bread should help the herbs and spices to stick to the cubes.
Spread the cubes on a baking sheet evenly. Place in preheated 375 degree oven(I use my toaster oven) and bake 10 to 20 minutes. Remember smaller cubes less time, fatter cubes more time. Also you can bake them to your degree of toastiness, I like mine a bit darker but if you like yours lighter then decrease the time and/or temperature. Keep a close eye on them the first few times you bake them to see what is the best baking time for your taste.
Let them cool completely. They should be crunchy all the way through with no softness. I actually got these a bit too dark but they were good anyways.
This was a small batch of croutons and you can adjust amounts according what you wish to bake. I turn my bread that is starting to get older into croutons so the amounts change all the time. I typically wing it so don’t be afraid to experiment yourself.
Easy delicious croutons for salads, soups or even just a snack. Experiment with different flavors. Use different herbs, oils and additions like cheeses to switch it up.
Easy Delicious Crunchy Homemade Croutons
Oven temps vary as do regional weather conditions that can effect cooking time so keep track of what works for you and adjust as necessary.
Enjoy creating these tasty treats for your summer salads. They are delicious on soups too.
Easy delicious croutons for salads, soups or even just a snack.
Experiment with different flavors. Use different herbs, oils and additions like cheeses to switch it up.
More You Will Enjoy
Nine Fabulous Salad Dressings
Aglio Olio with Chicken
Lime Basil Grilled Chicken
These look so fresh and yummy. Another great use for fresh herbs in the summer. Of course, I don’t have a great bread guy like you but they do sell rustic bread at my supermarket. Just another reason to buy some. Thanks for the inspiration.
Any denser bread works, even a good sour dough. Yes, it is a wonderful way to use the wonderfully fresh herbs from the garden. That reminds me I have some fresh cilantro seedlings to put out. It has been quite hot so a shady spot is best. 🙂