Are you looking for a way to seriously improve your salad game? Swapping store bought for homemade dressing is the first thing you should do. The second is making your own croutons.
Homemade croutons are far better than any you can get at the grocery store. Making them yourself also allows you to add any seasoning you like and use up any bread that is going stale or is close to getting moldy. Not to mention it doesn’t require any skill and very little time.
All you have to do is cube the bread, toss with oil and seasonings and bake for about 20 minutes. Just be sure you make at least double what you think you need. Almost every time I make them people gravitate toward the kitchen and slowly snack on them as dinner is being finished. They’re so irresistible you might have to set aside what you actually want to put in the salad to make sure you have enough!
You can use any bread you have around, but they’ll be best with a bread that has a good crust. I usually make them with baguette, french bread, and sourdough. I would avoid any bread that is too sweet, like a whole wheat sandwich loaf, or too dense. Of course, it really depends on what salad you’re going to put them on! I’ve seen salads with cornbread croutons which are both sweet and dense, so really anything goes if it tastes good with your other ingredients!
- 6 oz. stale bread
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 T vegetable oil
- ½ t. garlic powder
- ½ t. dried basil
- 1 small pinch red pepper flakes
- salt & pepper
- Heat oven to 350°.
- Cube or tear your bread into about ½” cubes. Press, mince, or grate the garlic clove into a medium sized bowl and add the oils. Add the bread to the bowl and toss to coat. Sprinkle seasonings on top and toss again to coat.
- Spread croutons on a small baking tray and bake for about 20-30 minutes, tossing ¾ of the way through, until golden brown. If the croutons look very dry when you toss them, feel free to add an extra drizzle of oil before returning them to the oven.
- These measurements are just a guideline. Feel free to use more bread, oil, or different seasonings. This is just a very basic version of the croutons I make. I switch everything up depending on the salad and my mood.