Some things are just better homemade, and croutons happen to be one of those things. Croutons and rusks (rusks = big croutons!) keep well for several days in an airtight container, so make a large batch if you have enough bread on hand. To make croutons, remove the crust from the bread, if desired. Cut…
Some things are just better homemade, and croutons happen to be one of those things. Croutons and rusks (rusks = big croutons!) keep well for several days in an airtight container, so make a large batch if you have enough bread on hand. To make croutons, remove the crust from the bread, if desired. Cut the bread into cubes. You can cut the croutons into any size you like, from tiny cubes for garnishing soups in cups to large cubes for garnishing soups served in soup plates or to add to salads.
For Garlic-Flavored Croutons:Mince 1 garlic clove for every cup of croutons you are preparing. Sprinkle the garlic with 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt and mash to a paste with the side of a large knife. Add the garlic paste to the butter or oil before tossing with the bread cubes or brushing onto rusks. Bake as directed above.
For Cheese Croutons:After the bread cubes have been tossed with the butter as above, toss with 1/2 cup very finely grated Parmesan, Romano, or other grating cheese (a rotary cheese grater or a microplane grater will give you the finest texture and help the cheese adhere to the bread). Bake as directed above.
For Goat Cheese or Cheddar Rusks:After the rusks are baked and crisp, top them with grated cheeses such as Cheddar or Asiago, or spread them with a soft cheese like goat cheese or brie. Return the rusks to the pan and broil or bake just long enough to heat the cheese. For Herb-Flavored Croutons: Add chopped fresh or dried herbs (such as oregano or rosemary) to the butter or oil. Toss with the bread cubes and bake as directed above.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Toss about 1 cup cubed bread, with or without crusts, with enough melted butter or oil to lightly coat the cubes and season them with salt and pepper. Spread the bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until golden. Stir the croutons once or twice during baking so they brown evenly.
- Rusks are actually large croutons. To make rusks, cut a baguette or other bread into slices about 1/2 inch thick. Brush the bread with some melted butter or olive oil and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake at 350°F until the bread is dry, crisp, and lightly browned. Turn the rusks once as they bake.
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