Making your own croutons could not be easier! It’s also much healthier to make your own with fresh bread, olive oil or butter, and a little salt and pepper. When you make your own breadcrumbs you can also add fresh herbs or cheese. I made this batch with a loaf of locally made bread from Fat Boy Bakery at the Ithaca Farmer’s Market. Fresh croutons can be made with gluten-free bread, whole wheat bread, or any bread of your choosing. Try making fresh croutons for your salads, the taste is much better than store bought!
Start with slightly stale bread, if your bread is not stale just toast it a little before you add the oil and seasoning. Croutons can be cooked on the stovetop, but I prefer the oven for even cooking. The bread can be cubed, or if you’re using a baguette sliced thinly. For salads bite-sized chunks are best, but slices would work well in a soup.
1/2 loaf of bread, slightly stale or day old
1/4 cup olive oil or melted butter
pinch of sea salt + fresh ground black pepper
Prepare bread. Preheat the oven to 375F. Cut bread into one inch cubes, tear into bite-sized pieces, or thinly slice. Place bread in a large mixing bowl and drizzle olive oil or butter over bread. Stir to combine. Add a generous pinch of salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Spread bread onto a baking pan.
Bake in the oven. Bake at 375F in the oven, stirring every 5 minutes, for about 15 minutes or until bread is browned and completely toasted on all sides. Let cool completely uncovered and store in a container for 3-4 days.
Variations. Add fresh herbs and/or garlic to the oil or butter before drizzling over the bread. For cheese croutons add finely grated parmesan to the croutons after the first 5 minutes of cooking. Stir to combine.