Monday, January 24, 2011

Less Waste

 A photo of our paprika roasted chicken, unrelated to the post, but it's there because it's beautiful.

Last night as my chicken was in the oven roasting I glanced up at the half loaf of french bread that had been sitting on top of my refrigerator since Christmas.  It's from Trader Joes, and in a perforated (tiny little holes) bag.  They never have molded on me, though they can easily become hard as rocks.

Which is just how I like them.

Random fact about me:  I have always loved stale bread.  My grandma (my Dad's mom) used to leave out slices of white bread for me to get stale and crusty because she knew I loved it.  I strangely like the taste, it's completely different from fresh bread.  And I am sure that is why I have always loved crusty bread, the texture perfection to me.  

I've made bread soup before, thanks to a suggestion from a former blogger who lives in the south of France.  It turned out well and is an easy thing to throw together.  But last night I decided that though I often make croutons from stale bread I don't think I've ever really given instructions here.  So now is as good a time as any.

Croutons from Stale Bread

* Stale bread
* Olive oil
* Parsley
* Herbs and spices

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

You will take your stale bread and chunk it up, tossing the pieces into a med-large bowl (always use a bigger bowl than you think you'll need as mixing can be messy).  It doesn't need to be perfectly squared (in fact, that's mildly creepy to me).  If it crumbles a bit and leaves bunches of crumbs, throw that into the bowl as well.  
Drizzle olive oil over it.  I drizzle a lot because I like the flavor once they're done.  Next toss in a bunch of fresh or dried parsley.  I always use dried because I keep a ton on hand.  After that you add whatever spices you care for on your croutons.  I generally use garlic powder, but we're out of that.  So I sprinkled on onion powder and garlic salt.  Turned out delicious, we're so doing it that way next time!  
Mix in the bowl, using a spatula or your hands (my preferred method!).  Scoop all of it out onto a cooking sheet and put in oven.  Occasionally you can turn the pieces using a spatula or do what I do and shake them up a bit on the sheet.  Toast until they are a nice golden brown and crisp.  
I have no idea how long these last as we eat them almost like crisps.  They're excellent sprinkled on salads, soup, and the crumbs are good mixed into an omelet.  These crumbs would also be excellent for the tops of roasted tomatoes.  

Have you made homemade bread crumbs/croutons before?  Would you consider doing them now that I've shown how simple it is (basically impossible to screw up unless you lose track of time and they burn)?  

Oh, and please share if you can think of any different flavor combinations of seasonings for these....I'm always looking for new things to try!


  1. You just reminded me, my BFF is a HUGE lover of croutons. Those are her snack food of choice. She is coming to visit next and I don't have a single crouton in my house. Thank you!!( I am not a crouton or stale bread fan so these are not tempting treats for me;-).

    Hope you are feeling well recovered and pain free from your spill.

  2. Funny as I was thinking of making homemade crouton yesterday. I've never made them before so your post got me excited! Thanks! And I hope you're feeling after your fall.

  3. Yum! I adore homemade croutons - there is nothing like them. I keep a bag of stale baguette cubes in the freezer for croutons and bread crumbs and they never go to waste. I make my croutons on the stove - I get some butter and olive oil sizzling hot, add the stale bread, season, and lower the heat until they're golden. We have a roast chicken every Sunday with a wine pan sauce, and I always serve croutons on the side rather than another starch. I really like your idea of adding herbs and baking them in the oven - I'll definitely try that soon.

  4. By the way, I hope you're feeling okay after your spill. I'm sure your husband is taking good care of you!

  5. I am for sure going to try this now. You make it sound so simple! I will let you know how it goes! Hope you're feeling well my dear friend.