Friday, 12 July 2019

A Great Addition

We're breaking out of the hockey chatter today because I had a problem on my kitchen counter this week that I needed to solve. I like a good sandwich as much as the next person, but I find that bread seems to go stale - or worse - on my counter because . I just can't eat a loaf fast enough. Yes, I'm going to start breaking loaves of bread bought from the grocery store into smaller amounts so I don't have to worry about this, but I still had a half of a loaf to deal with tonight. What can one do with this semi-stale, starting-to-harden load of rye bread besides feed it to the birds? Well, if you're like me, you enjoy a few croutons on your salad, and that's the future for this bread!

Honestly, these croutons are amazingly light and tasty, and they aren't like the store-bought croutons that are hard and crunchy. These still have a nice crunch to them, but they melt as you bite into them. The soft crunch turns into rich flavour rather than just a dry bite similar to melba toast. And that's why aging bread on my counter ends up in the oven as croutons - they're better than anything one can buy!


Stale or day-old bread
Olive oil*
Freshly-ground pepper
Herbs of your choice


As stated above, this one is easy. Preheat your oven to 400F. Cut the bread into cubes. Place bread cubes in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, and add pepper and salt to taste. Mix the cubes so that the oil, salt, and pepper coat the cubes. Add your herbs if desired for taste. Mix well, and spread onto a lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and store in an airtight container for up to a couple of weeks.

If you note the asterisk on the olive oil, I use chili oil (red pepper flakes + whole jalapenos in a bottle of olive oil) on my croutons to add a little spice whereby I no longer have to add the herbs or red pepper flakes for flavouring. Yes, it's divine! I've also used rosemary and herb submarine sandwich bread as well, and that saves on the herb usage in that crouton creation as the olive oil really highlights those herbs!

My advice is find the bread you like for croutons, and then work on the flavouring. Lighter breads - french breads, for example - give more light and airy croutons where heavier breads, such as the sub sandwich breads, give a heavier crouton that really absorbs the oils and flavours. If you like your croutons to deliver that punch of flavour, use a heavier bread.

Don't pay for croutons that are hard and extremely stale at the grocery store. Invest that money in some decent bread and make your own. I guarantee you'll like them entirely more than the store-bought variety. You can flavour them as you like, you can make more than just a handful of croutons so the return on investment is high, and they just taste so much better.

Do yourself a favour - make croutons.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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