Croutons are what stale bread does when it retires. Nobody should ever pay good money for a bag full of stale bread that has been lightly dressed and toasted. Seriously. Plus, homemade croutons are delicious. Sometimes mine don’t even survive long enough to meet any salads.
The better the bread, the better the crouton. My favorite bread for croutons is Acme’s walnut Levain . It presents a variety of textures and just the right ration of crust to inside part (that’s the technical term).
You can make any kind of crouton yourself with some bread, olive oil, a toaster oven and tray (or regular oven and jellyroll pan), and salt. Seasonings are optional but fun.
The bread doesn’t even have to be stale but it toasts up quicker when it is. Tonight, I used the last two pieces of a rye bread from Semifreddi’s plus the end of the walnut Levain. (My Dad used to call this bread “Pain of Levine” but you probably had to be there.)
At least three slices of bread cut into bite-sized pieces
About 3 tablespoons of olive oil (depending on how much bread you have and how greasy you like your croutons)
–or just salt if that’s all you have!
Drizzle the bread bits with the oil and add spices and/or salt. Mix. Toast on a very low heat for about 5 minutes. Stir. Toast again until you are satisfied with the crunchiness. If using a real oven, set it to 200 degrees and keep an eye on the croutons. They go faster that way.