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Herbed Croutons

Updated: Aug 24, 2021


What a bummer when you have too many loaf bums or stale bread loitering in the fridge. Let's put them to good use by making tasty croutons.


We all go through one of those days when we go overboard with our weekly grocery purchases and end up with leftovers. Bread loaves are one of them. Bought extras in excitement and now can't finish them in time. Discarding is not an option in my book especially when it is salvageable.


Croutons are an excellent way to use up any leftover bread. Homemade ones are far better than store-bought ones. Furthermore, we can make it however way we like. Control is in our hands. Add in your own choice of seasoning or twist and tailor it into a unique, fun, and delicious snack to nibble on. Take a look at the Q & A section towards the end of the post for variation ideas.


Even those loathed bread ends can be converted to croutons. Common peeps! Show them some love. These are actually the best bits, full of flavour and umami taste. Once you make it, you will make it time and time again. Super easy, effortless, and quick to make. So, let's get our batch going. Shall we?


Skip to recipe Herbed Croutons Recipe or continue reading for tips and stages of making the recipe


Here are basic ingredients that are easily found in every (Q)kitchen to make crunchy and delicious Herbed Croutons.

Stale bread slices (including the loaf ends), Oil, Parsley, and salt. Black pepper (optional).


Stages of Making - 3 Simple and quick steps


1. Cut Bread

Cut bread into 2cm cubes. It is important to make all the pieces the same size for even cooking. One of the common mistakes what most do is squash bread by pressing a knife into it. This destroys the porous texture of the bread. Instead cut bread with a saw motion (to-and-fro motions). A serrated bread knife gives the best results. If you do not have a bread knife, then any other sharp knife will do but make sure to cut using back and forth knife action. The porosity of bread makes croutons light and crispy. Place cut bread pieces on the baking tray. Spread them in a single layer, no overlapping.


Note: Stale bread or at least a day-old bread is easy to cut and best for croutons.


2. Make herb oil

To make herb oil take oil in a bowl. Pluck parsley leaves from its stem and pile them into a bunch. Do not discard stems, use them to make chutney or pesto. Chop parsley leaves into minute pieces as shown in the pic below. Add chopped parsley to oil along with salt and crushed black pepper. Mix all ingredients well until salt dissolves. Now take a good sniff of the beautiful herb aroma. I never miss this opportunity, and neither should you.


3. Brush and bake

Brush bread pieces with herb oil evenly. Alternatively, you can rub oil on bread using your hands but be delicate. Do not squeeze them or else you will end up with dense croutons.

Spread it in a single layer without overlapping. Place the tray in a preheated oven at 180°C for 10 minutes. Baking time will increase or decrease if you decide to make bigger or smaller crouton sizes.


Final result

There you have it, croutons with a perfectly golden-brown exterior, crispy green herbs, and just the right amount of seasoning. Begging to be tasted.


What type of bread to use?

Pretty much any kind of bread can be used to make croutons. Sandwich bread, toast bread, white bread, brown bread, sourdough bread, ciabatta bread, homemade bread, gluten-free bread, and many more. Stale and at least a day-old bread work best. However, if you want to make out of fresh bread then baking time will increase depending on how moist the bread is.

Crouton texture depends on the bread's texture and its density. The denser the bread the heavier and harder the croutons will be. It is all personal choice. Go for what you like.


Does bread piece size and shape matter?

Cut bread pieces of any size or shape that you prefer but keep them all same size for even cooking. The only important note to keep in mind is that the bigger the bread piece size the longer it will take to bake.

Jazz up your dish by making long strips of croutons or use a cookie cutter to cut out different shapes for themed presentation or tear bread pieces for a rustic look.


What about crust and loaf ends?

Of course, you can use the crusts and loaf ends to make croutons. In fact, these are my favourite portion of bread. It is loaded with flavour and crunch. I usually leave crusts on but if making for a party, trim the crust but do not throw them away. Bake crusts separately for your own snacking. Do the same with loaf ends and enjoy it with a dip.


Cooking option?

You can also make croutons in a pan over the stove. It will require constant stirring over a low flame. You can also toast entire bread slice in a toaster and then cut them to your desired shape and season it. Cutting may make a lot of crumbs.

Baking cooks croutons evenly and it is hands-free. Chuck it in the oven and set the timer on.


Variation Ideas?

Plain Croutons: Make plain croutons with just a splash of oil or make it oil-free if you like but this will produce lest browning.

Herb Croutons: I used parsley cause I have it growing in abundance in my garden and I love the flavour. You can use any herb of your choice in place of parsley, like thyme, rosemary, coriander, etc. or a mix of herbs is a good option if you can't set your heart on one.

Butter Croutons: Croutons can be made in butter instead of oil if that's your preference. Make sure to melt the butter before brushing it on bread.

Cheese Croutons: Sprinkle some shredded cheddar cheese or parmesan cheese along with seasoning and herbs if you like over bread pieces and bake to make cheesy croutons.

Garlic Croutons: Add garlic powder to the oil and mix until dissolved before brushing it over bread to make garlicky croutons.

Chilli Croutons: Spice up by adding finely chopped fresh chilies or add red chili powder to the oil before brushing it over bread to make hot croutons.

Chatpatta Croutons: Try adding chaat masala to the oil and spread it over the bread pieces. It will take you back to the India street food stall.


Ways to use croutons

There are immense ways of using croutons. The obvious is in soup... delicious...

- Add them to salads to build interest. Grind them to make breadcrumbs and use it to coat patty, paneer, onion rings, etc. Or use it as a binder.

- Make long strips of croutons and serve them with dip or salsa as a starter.

- Make tiny pieces of croutons, toss them with finely chopped tomatoes, onions, coriander, and drizzle green coriander chutney and tamarind chutney and serve it as chaat.

- Make medium size plain croutons and dip them in sugar cardamom syrup. Sprinkle slivered nuts and serve as sweet bites.

- Drop croutons instead of kofta or vegetables in the curry gravy and serve with Indian bread.

and the list goes on.


Storage and Shelf life?

Allow croutons to cool completely and store them in an airtight container in the pantry. These will stay well for 1-2 weeks. Use good quality oil to prevent it from going rancid soon.


Snack on them when feeling munchy, soak them in soup when feeling slurpy, toss them in salad when feeling crunchy, or simply grind them into breadcrumbs when feeling flaky.

Before and after, stale to fresh transformation. Couldn't look any better.

Recipe link below



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