Husband mentioned off-hand the other day that a bag of the garlic croutons he likes on his salads cost 3 dollars. Granted, 3 dollars is perfectly fine expenditure if it makes him happy, but it got me thinking: we still have a lot of white bread from the pantry giving us two spare loaves, and it seems like the perfect canvas on which to create croutons.
I experimented by cutting stacks of the bread into small, 1/2 inch cubes, though I didn’t sweat it if some pieces weren’t uniform. I covered them with pepper and salt and garlic powder and some oregano flakes, then shook them up in a bowl to cover evenly. Then I added three tablespoons of olive oil, trying to distribute it through mixing the bread, but again, not sweating it too much. I layered it out on a cookie sheet and put the croutons into a 425 degree oven until most of the pieces were turning brown, probably somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes, but I was cooking other things so I didn’t pay good attention to the time.
The oven did a great job of making a soft bread into a crunchy crouton! The necessary step after that was complete cooling before I put them into the plastic bag I was going to store them in – I know that any leftover moisture can seep out and be trapped with the croutons, turning them into soggy oil bread… much less delicious sounding, you know? I let husband sample them and he pronounced them good! I always remember croutons being the thing that got me through salads I didn’t like, a little savory crunch for all that green. While not as easy as buying the three dollar bag, these are pretty easy and cost pennies total to make. I recommend using all leftover bread, even that which is heading toward being stale, to make these croutons!