Nothing is more frustrating to me then wasting food. Whether it be because I burnt something, forgot about it in the back of my fridge, made something less then stellar, or simply bought too much of it. Whatever the case, I hate to throw away food.
One of those foods that seems to always go bad before it’s eaten in our house is bread. One of my largest hinderances to baking fresh bread is knowing that it will probably go stale before we are even halfway through it. And, since I don’t like anything to be a hinderance to me in the kitchen, I got to work figuring out ways to use it up without having to gag on the dryness.
Two of my favourite ways to use up those bread scraps are to make homemade croutons and breadcrumbs. Not only does it save us money, but since they are things that we use on a regular basis, it’s nice to know that they are much healthier being made at home. Not to mention extremely easy.
Below are instruction on how to make both croutons and breadcrumbs as well as recipes for Parmesan Garlic Croutons and Italian Breadcrumbs. Here are a few tips on how to go about it.
- Do not use already stale bread. If you don’t like to eat stale sandwiches you won’t want to eat stale croutons either.
- If you find yourself with lot’s of little scraps that don’t seem worth the effort to turn into something else, freeze them. Once you have a larger collection, pull them out and get to work.
- If you do freeze your bread, this will probably mean you have a variety of breads stored away. The combination of breads will add a more complex flavour as well as some pizzaz to both the croutons and the breadcrumbs.
- If there is any moisture in either the breadcrumbs or the croutons, they will not be able to store at room temperature without going mouldy. If you would like, you can store them in the freezer. If they regain any moisture, simply give them a short toast to perk them up.
- To make croutons: cube some bread, toss it with oil and herbs, and bake at 375ºF until golden and crisp (15-20 min).
- If you use only olive oil and no other perishable ingredients you can store these sealed at room temperature.
- If you use butter in place of oil, or fresh herbs or garlic, you must store the croutons in the freezer.
- Some topping ideas: oregano, garlic, parmesan, thyme, basil, onion powder, parsley, rosemary, flavored oil.
- One slice of bread will yield approximately 1 cup of croutons, depending on the size of loaf.
- A standard recipe for croutons is: 2 cups cubed bread, 1.5 Tbsp oil, 1 tsp. dry herbs.
Parmesan Garlic Croutons
- 4 cups bread cubed
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. oregano
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1/4 tsp. parsley
- 1 Tbsp. finely grated parmesan cheese
- Toss the bread cubes in oil until well coated. Sprinkle on spices and cheese. Toss until evenly distributed.
- Spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 375ºF for 15-20 min. until browned and dry, stirring halfway through cooking time.
- Allow to cool completely before storing in a plastic container (or bag) in the freezer.
- In order to achieve the crispy breadcrumbs you purchase at the store, you will want your bread to be completely dried out and toasted. To do this, place slices of bread on a baking sheet, in a single layer, and bake at 300ºF for 10-15 min. until dry, flipping halfway through cooking time.
- If your bread is already quite dry and you are only making a small amount you can rather toast it in the toaster until dry.
- Once the bread is toasted, allow it to cool completely and then chop it roughly and place it in a food processor. Process until fine crumbs are created.
- If you are not able to achieve fine crumbs then the bread still has too much moisture. Place the crumbs onto a baking sheet and bake again until completely dry.
- Always allow to cool so that no moisture can build up, then process again until you are able to achieve the texture of crumbs that is desired.
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. onion powder
- 1/4 tsp. sugar
- 1/4 tsp. oregano
- Mix all ingredients together and store in a sealed container in a cool, dry place.
Breadcrumbs adapted from cdkitchen
Do you make homemade croutons or breadcrumbs? If so do you have any tips to share? What’s are your favourite flavours?