Homemade whole-wheat croutons otherwise known as, “The Food Matters Project: Week 12 - Densest Bread Ever Baked”. This week, our host, Melissa from The Faux Martha, chose Real Whole Wheat Bread (page 539) or Mostly Whole Wheat Baguettes (page 542).
I decided to go with the Real Whole Wheat Bread recipe (which was VERY simple!) and used King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour. I let the bread rise 24 hours for the first rise and 2 hours for the second rise but it just didn’t work out. Now, I don’t think this recipe was or is a fail – I think I might have done something wrong or my yeast wasn’t as ‘active’ as it should have been. Because my bread didn’t rise enough and when I baked it, well, let’s just say it was so dense I considered using it as a weapon to throw out the window at the landscapers who woke my son up from his nap. That thing was HARD!
So, what to do with that insanely dense, yet tasty bread? Make croutons, of course!
I love croutons and prefer homemade because most store-bought croutons have some nasty additives, preservatives and flavorings. When it comes to the natural brands (which is what I buy when I don’t make them homemade), they are good but just expensive and like most things – not as good as homemade.
I am considering this little bread baking experience a success because it inspired me to whip up a batch of my favorite croutons and share the recipe with you. Plus a lovely reader shared what looks like a fabulous whole grain sandwich bread recipe with me after hearing me complain about my dense loaf on Facebook. Score!
Now, let’s go check out all of the breads and baguettes other Food Matters Project members made this week!
- Any dense whole wheat bread will do. You DO NOT have to make home-made bread to make home-made croutons. Just use a loaf that is getting older.
- If your bread is very fresh, cut into cubes and leave the cubes out on the trays for a couple of hours before seasoning with the oil, herbs and spices.
- 1 pound dense whole wheat bread
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- ⅛ teaspoon paprika
- Preheat oven to 300F. Cut crusts off bread and cut into 1" squares x ½" thick (approximately). Place cubes in gallon size ziploc bag and toss in olive oil. Zip and shake to coat.
- Open bag and add in remaining herbs and spices. Zip back up and shake until spices are evenly distributed.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or tin foil (coated with non-stick cooking spray). Two trays so there is room around the croutons and they get nice and crisp. Don't crowd the pans!
- Bake for 15 minutes. I only used both foil and parchment because I ran out of parchment paper.
- Rotate the trays and bake another 10 to 15 minutes until crisp but not burnt.
- Remove trays and let cool completely before storing croutons in a airtight container. Enjoy!