So… I think I’ve mentioned that I’m currently on a brief low-carb thing (6 days left!). Naturally, that means I’ve been thinking about – what else – carbs. And what’s more carb-loaded than bread? Nothin’, that’s what!
While I haven’t actually made these tonight, I did take pictures when I made my last batch, so here we are… My homemade croutons sit in an airtight container, silently waiting for the day they’ll be used in a salad or with soup. I silently sit at my desk, wondering how many bites of delectable croutons would still be low-carb (by the way, if you’re wondering, the answer is “none”).
Oh well, they’ll wait. It’s not like they could go stale or anything. That’s because they are, in fact, made from stale bread. Or regular bread. Whatever’s handy, really. Homemade or store-bought, if it’s bread, and not actually spoiled (as in mouldy) then you can turn any kind of bread into delicious croutons.
All you need is time, a little oil (I like the spray kind) and an oven. And a baking sheet. And some seasoning, if you want it. Maybe a bowl…
Personally, I leave out any extra seasonings, and leave the flavours to the thing the crouton goes in. It usually works out pretty well. If you want to try mixing up flavours, I like pre-packaged sweet pepper and garlic seasoning. Just a dash goes a long way.
- Bread. Stale, not mouldy works best, but fresh bread will do (it just takes longer).
- Canola or Olive oil
- Desired seasonings are optional (for example, packaged seasoning mix like sweet pepper and garlic)
- Cutting board and bread knife
- large mixing bowl and tongs
- Baking tray
Pre-heat the oven to 200F. Your goal is to dry out the bread, not cook it further.
Cut your bread into crouton-sized chunks. I like ’em about 2cm x 1cm x 1cm. Whatever size you go with, try to keep them roughly the same size, that way they dry out evenly in the oven.
Toss your bread in a mixing bowl with a very small amount of oil. I like to use a light spritz of spray-oil, but you could use a baster brush to lightly baste a bit of oil on top. Shake the bread around until it’s all lightly coated with oil. If you have a lot of bread, you may need to do this in batches.
Spread the bread into an even layer on the baking tray. Make sure the bread is in a flat layer, and not stacked on top of each other. Shake the tray a bit and make sure nothing falls off. You’re going to be doing that a few times, might as well make sure it’s stable now.
Put the baking tray in the oven for 20-minute intervals. At the end of 20 minutes, take the tray out and give it a good shake so everything shifts around. The goal here is to avoid burning any bread by leaving it in one place. Put it back in the oven for another 20 minutes. Repeat until the bread is dry and crunchy, or when it’s golden brown.
With really stale bread, you might be done in a round or two. Fresher bread might need a bit more.
Let cool for an hour with a dry tea-towel over top, then store in an airtight container.
Use in leafy green salads or as a garnish with soups.