I’ve been having a renewed love affair with homemade croutons recently due in part to the copious amount of salad I’ve been eating and in other part to my need to update pictures on my blog. I believe the latter inspired the former.
Homemade croutons are easy to make and oddly impressive. Any time I share some homemade croutons with someone new they fall in love. I also believe they happen to make any salad recipe better but especially a caesar salad. There’s something about the crunch contrasting with the softness of the leaves.
All you need to make a really good homemade crouton is leftover bread, some oil and some seasoning. If you want to get really fancy you can add some parmesan cheese. And any leftover bread will do. Typically I use leftover homemade bread or artisan bread I bought at the store. But for this recipe I used some Dave’s Killer Bread that I bought at Costco and keep in the freezer.
The secret to these croutons is cooking them until they are crunchy throughout and not chewy inside. This can take some time but it’s definitely worth it. I like homemade croutons so much that I generally will not eat store bought croutons anymore. I made a salad the other day and the recipe called to add croutons. I didn’t have any homemade croutons but did have some store-bought ones that I use for Baked French Onion Soup — I omitted the croutons altogether from the salad because I knew store-bought croutons just would not be the same.
- leftover wheat bread, any kind
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- your favorite dried herb
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Break off bite-size pieces of bread from your loaf or bread slices and then place in a large bowl or ziplock bag. (I used 6 slices of bread and 1/4 cup of olive oil.)
- Drizzle the bread with olive oil, herbs, salt, and pepper; stir to coat (or close the bag and shake to coat).
- Place bread slices onto a non-stick rimmed cookie sheet; make sure the bread pieces are spread out and not touching.
- Place the pan in the oven and bake croutons until darkly browned, flipping croutons over approximately half-way through so that the croutons bake evenly. This could take approximately 30 to 45 minutes.
I like to have some crunch in every bite of salad I eat whenever possible and this is easier to achieve if you do not throw out the crumbs that inevitably form when you make homemade croutons. I just toss them right into my salad.