Every week I bake a lot of bread, which means that we inevitably have some dried out, day-old bits. I do my best to bake only what we need and eat everything I bake; however, life happens. BUT it doesn’t have to be wasted.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that there is no shortage of great options for using up day-old bread, but in my house, croutons are the favorite because they are so quick and easy to make and my children LOVE them.
Before I tell you how I make the croutons, here are some other ways I use up old bread:
- Vegan French Toast [ItDoesntTasteLikeChicken.com]
- Vegan French Toast Casserole [NoraCooks.com]
- Bread crumbs for Buffalo Cauliflower Bites [NoraCooks.com]
- Avocado Toast [or any kind of toast]
- ALT [Avocado, Lettuce and Tomato] Sandwich
We’ve done all of these things at one time or another, but croutons are my favorite because they can be made in just a few minutes and thrown on soup or salad [my two favorite food groups].
I actually learned how to make croutons from my brief stint as a bakery associate at Panera bread about thirteen years ago. Did you know they make their croutons in store? [At least they used to.] And Panera has the BEST croutons.
Croutons can be made on the stove top or in the oven. [The Panera method is in the oven.]
Stove top croutons
To make croutons on the stove top, just heat up some oil in a skillet, cube and season your bread, then add to the skillet and toss occasionally until brown and crispy on the outside.
You have to watch them so they don’t burn, but it only takes a few minutes – maybe 3-5.
I season them with literally whatever I have on hand. Usually some version of garlic salt and then a green herb like oregano or thyme, but I’ve been known to get funky and throw smoked paprika on them [I put that sh*t on everything]. Just plain ol’ salt and pepper works great too.
Oven baked croutons
The process is very similar with baked croutons. Cube the bread and toss with seasonings and olive oil, then spread on a baking try and bake at 350° for roughly 7-10 minutes. I usually toss them once to get them crispy all over.
No matter how you make them, they are delicious!
Perfect for fall soup season! Add croutons to the list of things you’ll never need to buy again.
One thought on “[Nearly] Zero Waste Kitchen: Homemade Croutons”
Mmmm that sounds great in soups for the fall and winter!