How To Make Perfect Croutons
I often wonder why people buy bagged croutons at the store when they are so easy and inexpensive to make at home. You can make them out of any bread, even hot dog buns, and are a great way to do something with stale bread rather than throw it away.
You can season them with anything you like. Herbs, cheese, chili powder, sugar and spice, whatever. Let your imagination go wild, you can’t really screw them up. But today, I’m going to focus on a basic recipe that I love and seem to make the most. The bread I’ll be using is week-old Grandma’s Bread, which I’ve decided makes the best croutons ever.
Start by slicing the bread in uniform sizes. I like mine about ½ inch thick, but you may like yours smaller. Once sliced, turn the stack and slice in strips, then turn again and slice to get uniform cubes.
Place the cubes in a baking pan and drizzle with oil. I like extra virgin olive oil, but you could use any that you like or have on hand. Butter is especially delicious if you’d like to use it.
Season with fresh-ground black pepper and kosher salt. You won’t need a lot of salt because of the dressing you will be eating the croutons with later, so a couple of pinches for the entire pan should be sufficient. Sprinkle with thyme, maybe ½ teaspoon for the entire pan.
Finely grate some Pecorino Romano cheese, sprinkle liberally on top, and then toss the croutons with your hands to coat with the oil and seasonings.
Bake at 350˚ for twenty minutes, then turn them with a spatula and bake for an additional 20 minutes. They should be perfectly golden brown and very crunchy.
Serve hot or cold on a simple green salad; toss with tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar; try them in Chipotle Romano Salad with Croutons; or put them in a bowl of hot soup. Delicious! They will keep in a sealed container for a couple weeks, but I’ve never had mine last more than a few days. Enjoy!