These croutons may be the reason to give up candy!!!
Here's the ultimate way to use up one's leftover bread or rolls. Ciabatta bread will do very nicely as will French bread. How about a combination of the two? Go ahead and make these croutons well ahead of time. They freeze beautifully and will be ready to be used as a topping for that favourite salad or soup!
The croutons are very easy to make, and what's more, this is a recipe without a recipe! Use the amounts you want; let your inner chef take charge!
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Cut a loaf of bread into cubes of an appropriate size and place them into a large bowl. If you prefer to have rustic bread cubes, don't use a knife. Instead, use your hands to tear the bread into nice pieces. Either way will work, but make sure that whether torn or cut up, all the pieces are of similar size so that they cook evenly.
- Drizzle the bread cubes with olive oil and melted butter. The combination of olive oil and butter is important because it gives an extra delicious taste to the croutons. However, you may omit the butter and just use olive oil.
- Sprinkle some garlic powder, Italian seasoning, black pepper and a touch of salt over the bread. Toss until all of the bread cubes are well coated with the ingredients.
- If you are an oregano fanatic, add some extra dried oregano to the Italian seasoning before tossing with the bread.
- Do you have some shredded Pecorino Romano cheese? How about adding a touch of it to the mix? Not too much, though. Just enough so that it will be absorbed by the oil and butter.
- Do you have some roasted garlic or better yet some garlic confit in your refrigerator? If the answer is yes, use it. Forgo the garlic powder, mash some soft roasted garlic, mash it well, and mix it with the oil and butter. Drizzle over the bread.
- Spread the bread cubes onto the prepared baking sheet, making sure the bread cubes are in an even layer and not touching. If they are too close and overlapping, they won’t cook evenly and won’t crisp up.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, tossing halfway through, or until the croutons are golden brown. Check early to make sure you don’t burn them. The baking time will depend on how thick your bread pieces are and how your oven cooks.
- Remove those golden croutons from the oven and let them cool completely. Do fight the urge to snack on them! It can be a strong urge ... Why fight it? Because otherwise, there will not be enough croutons left for your salad or for your soup, that's why!
- The croutons can be stored in an airtight container for a week or they can be frozen for about a month.