Our guide to how to make croutons from stale bread that taste so good you’ll want to snack on them, will ensure you don’t waste stale bread again. Homemade croutons taste so much better than store-bought croutons, last for ages, and are super versatile, adding texture and crunch to soups, salads and pastas. You’ll be saving bread just to make our homemade croutons.
This guide to making homemade croutons from stale bread will make you crunchy croutons that add fantastic texture to salads, pastas and soups. We add them to everything from Spanish gazpacho and French onion soup to a Caesar salad, sprinkle crumbly croutons on pastas such as carbonara, and use them as a vehicle for Spanish tapas and Basque pintxos.
Our homemade croutons recipe will make you croutons from days-old bread that are so delicious you’ll want to munch on them as a snack, and you’ll always make sure to have some on hand – homemade croutons last for weeks in well-sealed glass jars or air-tight containers – and you’ll never waste stale bread again.
Whether it’s that second picnic baguette you bought that didn’t get eaten, your home-baked sourdough ends you waste every week, or those last few slices of an expensive bakery loaf, all can be transformed into delicious croutons you’ll want to make time and time again.
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How to Make Croutons from Stale Bread So Good You’ll Want to Snack on Them
Making croutons from stale bread is actually super easy, so easy that after making them once you’ll probably never need to look at our recipe again. The name ‘crouton’ is derived from the French word “croûton” or crust and were originally made with stale sourdough baguettes.
Croutons can come in the form of whole slices of baguette that are simply coated in melted butter or olive oil and rebaked, often with different types of seasonings, to give them crunch and flavour.
Whole slices are often used for soups such as French onion soup, where they’re topped with cheese, while the cubed is most commonly known for being an essential ingredient in a Caesar salad.
So what’s the difference between croutons and crostini and bruschetta? Well, why you can serve them all with salads and soups and also use croutons as a vehicle for tapas, especially wet ingredients, as they’ll hold their crunch better, there is a key difference between croutons and crostini and bruschetta.
Firstly, both crostini and bruschetta are only grilled or toasted long enough to make them stiff and dry enough to hold the toppings, while croutons are much more dried out, crunchier, and in some cases might crumble if used in the same as crostini and bruschetta.
Tips to Making Homemade Croutons from Stale Bread
Just a few tips to making homemade croutons from old bread, starting with the bread. These were originally made with stale sourdough baguettes, and we only make them with sourdough bread – no exceptions.
Normal commercial white bread nearly always has sugar and milk powder in it and trying to make croutons with them results in less than stellar results.
We always make our croutons in an oven as they dry out evenly – as opposed to a toaster which toasts the bread too fast. Toasted ones won’t be as crunchy and won’t last as long.
You can also make these on a griddle pan, but they do tend to end up with burnt spots which is not a great flavour for a salad, but croutons with charred lines do look enticing on the side of a soup.
Store them in an airtight container for up to two weeks or more.
Homemade Croutons Recipe
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 150 g sourdough baguette , cut into 1.5cm (roughly 1/2 inch) slices
- 2 tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp ground paprika
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Combine the olive oil with the cayenne pepper and paprika in a large bowl. Add the baguette slices, and toss until coated. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper and coat evenly.
- Spread the baguette slices on baking paper on a baking sheet. Bake until croutons are golden, this should take around 10 minutes.
- Remove the the baguette slices from the oven and allow to cool. Cut the slices into cubes with a break knife and place the offcuts in a food processor to make breadcrumbs.
- Store both the croutons and the breadcrumbs in an airtight container for up to two weeks or more.
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