I love croutons. Sometimes I just sit and eat them like they're potato chips. I like to make them because we seem to always have lots of leftover bread and because it makes the kitchen smell heavenly while they're baking. In case you're interested, here's the method to my madness...
* Whenever we have a heel or a partial loaf that's getting old and stale or one or two hamburger buns leftover, I throw the bag in the freezer. Then when the freezer is bursting at the seams with bags of old bread (as ours was today, evidenced by the amount of empty bags shown below), it's time to make a batch of croutons!
* First I throw all the bread bags in the refrigerator to thaw for a day or so (it always gets soggy if I thaw it on the counter). When it's all thawed, I remove the bread from the bags, chop it into small squares, and mix all together in a large bowl (this way we end up with a nice blend of white, whole grain, sour dough, rye, or whatever array happens to be in the freezer at the time).
* At this point I might notice Farm Dog staring longingly through the kitchen window and drooling at the sight of his absolute favorite snack on this earth (no matter how old and stale it is). And I might invite him in for a couple slices that accidentally fell on the floor.
* Next I melt one stick of butter (for each bowl full of bread pieces) and add seasonings to it. I like to use about a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of garlic powder, a teaspoon of French fry seasoning, a half teaspoon of pepper, and a half teaspoon of onion powder. But it's not an exact science, and sometimes I experiment with different seasonings.
* I then pour the seasoned butter over the bread pieces and toss in the bowl until it's evenly coated, spread onto a baking sheet, and bake at 350 degrees until crispy (about 30 minutes). We store them in a large Tupperware container and usually run out around the time that the freezer is overflowing with old bread again...
We had some of today's batch for dinner in our tomato soup. I'll have to share that recipe with you sometime when it's not so late...it's from Winn's Aunt Janice, and it is hands-down the best tomato soup I have ever tasted. But for now, my new body pillow and I are off to bed. Sweet dreams, everyone!
Coming soon: Handmade Christmas No. 4