[VIDEO] Small Batch Homemade Garlic and Herbs Croutons

No bread goes to waste with this Homemade Garlic Croutons Recipe. Ditch the store-bought croutons and make your own instead, it’s super easy and you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor of salvaging your leftover loaf of bread. Plus, this taste better than store-bought. It’s light, airy and crunchy not like the store-bought one that sometimes tends to be hard. 

Croutons are  well known for being used as toppings for salad and soup, but for me it’s almost like popcorn that I can actually munch on for snacking. It is 100% better because there’s more than just air, you feel you are actually eating something, which is true because it is a bread cut and re-baked in smaller pieces. Making croutons are like a life saver for me when it comes to leftover bread. Of course you can use fresh bread, but the dry texture of old bread makes it more suitable for making croutons. I hate throwing food, and whenever I have load of bread lingering in my fridge, I always make it into this delicious crunchy light croutons. 

What is Crouton?

Crouton is a cubed seasoned bread baked (or re-baked) until it dry out and becomes crunchy. They are great accompaniment or topping for salad, soup and stews.

Where Can You Use Crouton?

For toppings on Salad, Soup and Casserole, but even on its own it is nice to munch on. It’s a nice snack on the go, pack it and enjoy it on the road. 

Why Homemade Crouton is Better

There is a huge difference in texture when it comes to traditional store-bought croutons and homemade croutons. The croutons used in restaurant have a drier texture and they are quite hard too and more compact. Homemade croutons on the other hand have a lighter, airy texture. They are like mini pockets of crunchy light bread. I personally like the texture of homemade croutons, the lighter airy texture made it quite more inviting to eat not just as topping but even on its own. When it comes to color, store-bought croutons have darker even brown color, as opposed to homemade that have uneven browning, which actually is not a big deal. Last but not the least, flavor. Store-bought croutons or the one used in restaurant often comes plain, while homemade croutons could have more flavoring and taste. You can add variety of herbs and spices, you can add cheese, and you can adjust the amount of salt. Bottom line, homemade croutons are simple and easy to make and they are 100% better than the one that you eat in restaurant.

Tip in Making a Great Croutons

  • Use the right type of bread: So you are probably asking, “What type of bread is suitable for making croutons?”. Although technically you can use any left over bread, there are breads that will give a far better texture. Use a bread with nice airy texture. That loose and airy structure allows the heat to penetrate the cubed pieces thus producing a light and super crispy crouton. The denser the bread, the harder the crouton will be and the longer it will need to bake. I personally like using white slice loaf of bread, it has a nice soft and airy texture that when baked becomes light and crunchy. You can also use baguette or sourdough although I find that texture of these two bread tends to be gummy, and the croutons do not turn up as light and crunchy as when using a regular loaf bread.
  • Avoid using fresh bread: The fresher the bread, the softer it is which means longer baking time. An old bread tends to be drier thus making it perfect for making croutons.
  • Generous coating of good quality olive oil: The oil coating helps to dry and make the crouton crunchy. But do not just use neutral or flavorless oil, use a good quality olive oil as it adds taste of the crouton. To make sure that each piece of bread has fair enough oil coating, either use a olive oil spray and spray the bread once you have it transferred on the baking sheet. You can also use a pastry brush and dip the brush in olive oil and dab it in each piece of bread.
  • Do not crowd the pan: Give the croutons room to breathe, do not just squeeze them in. The gaps will allow the hot air to circulate giving in between the sides of the croutons producing a crispy end product. If you dump pieces on top of each other, some will be soggy because of the steam it will create, while others will be crunchy.

How To Know When The Croutons are Done?

Because the duration of the baking time depends on the type of bread you use and how old the bread is, you have to make the call and decide when it is done. The baking time in this recipe is based on a white loaf bread, few days old that has been kept in the refrigerator. Here are some signs that you can use to decide if it is done.

  • Color – The croutons should be nicely browned. See how white it is when we started baking it and how it turned brown once its done?
  • Texture – Try to eat a piece, if the texture is already crunchy and dry, then it is done. Do NOT over bake as it could burn easily as soon as it start getting brown. The croutons will get crunchier as it cools down, so it doesn’t have to be spot on crunchy.
  • Aroma – A smell of freshly baked bread is an indicator too. Once you smell it, check it. Take it out of the pan and give it a toss. I had this baked twice, and left it inside the oven for 10 minutes with the oven OFF. The last 10 minutes it is inside the turned OFF oven helps produces a drier crunchy crouton.

What are the Ingredients for Garlic and Herbs Crouton?

  • Bread – Old bread is suggested. Fresh bread will take longer to bake as it is still very soft. You want a drier bread to make croutons
  • Olive Oil – or melted butter
  • Salt – The recipe uses fine salt, adjust as needed
  • Italian Seasoning – or other herbs that you prefer
  • Garlic Powder – Do NOT use fresh garlic as it could get burn easily
  • Dried Parsley – or other herbs that you prefer
  • Olive Oil Spray

How to Make Garlic & Herbs Crouton

Start by preparing the bread. I recommend using at least a day old bread or older rather than freshly baked bread. Day old bread have drier texture which makes it suitable for making croutons because of lesser moisture in the bread. Remove the dark sides of the bread then cut the bread into small bite size pieces. 

Next, In a small bowl mix salt, paprika, Italian seasoning, dried parsley and garlic powder. Mixing it together rather than sprinkling it one by one gives a more balanced distribution. Because the crouton will be bake in a high temperature for 25 minutes, it is recommended not to use fresh minced garlic. If could get burnt easily and will leave a bitter taste, not good. 

Now that you have what you need to make the croutons, transfer the bread in a large bowl. Pour the olive oil mixture into the cubed bread and toss to combine. Sprinkle the mix spices and toss again. You will notice that the bread will not be fully coated with oil, that’s ok as we are going to spray olive oil before baking it. Transfer the bread  in a parchment lined baking sheet. Spray the bread with olive oil and sprinkle more paprika or Parsley.  I Bake for 25 minutes. First 15 minutes at 375F then next 10 minutes at 300F. After 15 minutes , take it out of the oven and move around for even baking. The baking time will depend of how old the bread you are using. If you are using a new bread, it will take longer to get to a dried crunchy state. Adjust the baking time as needed. I like mine crunchy but not hard and too dry. The bread will harden more as it cool. Turn the oven down to 300F then return the bread for additional 10 minutes of baking. After this, turn the oven off and leave the croutons inside for another 10 minutes. This will make the croutons dry and crunchy. 

Baking Tips:

  • Old bread is highly recommended in making homemade croutons as they are drier. A fresh bread will take longer to bake and dry out, you have to adjust the baking time if using a fresh bread

Ingredients:

  • 5 Pieces day old Loaf Bread – cut into cubes
  • 1/3 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Parsley
  • Olive Oil Spray

Substitution:

  • Olive Oil – can be substituted with melted butter. If using salted butter, reduce the salt in the recipe
  • Italian Seasoning – can be substituted with other herbs like Oregano, Basil, Rosemary, Thyme or any other herbs that you like
  • Italian Seasoning – can be substituted with other herbs like Oregano, Basil, Rosemary, Thyme or any other herbs that you like

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare the Bread: Remove the dark sides of the bread. Cut the bread into 16 pieces.
    • Alternatively, you can also retain the dark edges if you do not want to waste any bread.
  3. Mix the Spices: In a small bowl, mix salt, Italian seasoning, garlic powder and dried parsley.
  4. Transfer the cubed bread in a bowl and pour the olive oil onto the bread. Toss to coat, do not worry if at this stage the bread pieces is not fully coated with oil. We will so something about that later. Sprinkle the spices and toss to distribute. Transfer in the prepared baking sheet. Do not over crowd the pan.
  5. Spray the top with olive oil and toss, then spray more to coat the bread. Sprinkle more dried parsley and paprika on top, or you can also sprinkle some parmesan cheese.
    • Alternatively, If you do not have an olive oil spray, pour olive oil in a small bowl. Dip the pastry brush and dab on top of bread pieces. Toss and do the same for the other side of the bread.
  6. Bake at 375F for first 15 minutes. Remove from oven and mix/toss to bake the other sides of the bread. Lower the oven temperature to 300F and return the bread in the oven. Bake for another 10 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the croutons inside for another 10 minutes.

How to Store Homemade Croutons?

They can be left in room temperature for 3 days in an airtight container, better yet just keep them in the refrigerator. Keep them dry, because moisture is factor that could make the croutons bad. I’ve kept mine almost 2 weeks and they are still fine. Alternatively, you can keep them in a freezer bag re-heat them in a toaster when ready to use or reheat them in 300F oven until warm and crunchy, I would say 15 minutes.

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Hi, I'm Marilou. Welcome to my website SweetNSpicyLiving. My website is where I share my passion for baking, cooking, photography and traveling. It's a small piece of my Sweet & Spicy Life that I like to share with you.

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