Homemade Whole Wheat Croutons

by Julie on April 12, 2012 · 16 comments

I’ve been experimenting with making things from scratch that I usually buy already prepared.

High on my list of things to try was croutons, because they are

  1. Expensive
  2. Not particularly healthy
  3. One more thing I have to remember to buy and keep on hand

I hesitate to call what I’m about to share with you a recipe, because it’s so much easier than that. Here’s what you’ll need:

Bread. Any kind or amount will do. I used whole wheat sandwich bread because it’s what I always have one hand. This is great to do with bread that is a little past it’s prime, since you’ll be toasting it anyway.

Cooking oil. I used extra virgin olive oil, but any kind will do.

Seasonings. Any kind you like. (Are you seeing a trend here?) The first time I made these I used garlic powder and kosher salt. The second time I made it easier and just used garlic salt.

The steps are these:

1. Using a serrated knife, cut the bread into cubes. Use a sawing motion. The bread will squish down a little while you’re cutting, but don’t worry, it will spring right back.

2. Put the cubes in a bowl and drizzle with the oil. Toss using your hands or a spoon. Use enough oil to coat the cubes and then add the seasonings to taste.

3. Put the seasoned cubes on a baking sheet and put them in a 350 degree oven. No greasing of the sheet is necessary.

4. Watch them closely and take them out when they get to your desired color and crispness. This will vary based on the size of your cubes and the number you’re baking.

The first time I made these, I left the crusts on. The second time I removed the crusts.

That resulted in croutons that look a little more like what you buy.

And I was able to throw the crusts in the food processor to make whole wheat bread crumbs.

I put any leftover croutons in a plastic bag, where they’ve stayed good for up to two weeks.

Of course I wouldn’t be sharing any of this with you if these croutons hadn’t passed the taste test with my husband and son, who are the real crouton lovers in the house.

Have you made your own croutons? What tips can you share? Are there other things that you used to buy that you’ve started making from scratch?

This post is part of One Project at a TimeFrugal Fridays and Finer Things Friday.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Tackling Our Debt April 12, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Those look very good! I love making home made croutons. It’s easy and they taste great. I use to make home made ceasar salad dressing as well. The two togther were delicious.

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Julie April 12, 2012 at 12:49 pm

I am making many more salad dressings from scratch too. I’d love to have your caesar dressing recipe if you still have it. That is a family favorite.

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Teresa April 12, 2012 at 7:06 pm

We haven’t bought bread in a store in a couple years. My husband had a bread machine before we were married, but hadn’t really used it. I don’t like cooking much, so baking bread was WAY beyond what I wanted to spend my time on. So after 10+ years of marriage, I was tired of seeing the bread machine all boxed up like new and wanted to send it to the thrift store. We decided to try it one time. I could not believe it was so simple and the loaf came out just fine (I had heard that the load wouldn’t bake evenly) Now we have wheat bread, rye, even oatmeal bread – no additives, preservatives or other weird stuff!

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Julie April 13, 2012 at 11:25 am

Teresa…that’s encouraging to know that it’s so easy. Quick question: how long does your bread stay fresh without the preservatives?

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Teresa April 13, 2012 at 12:09 pm

I put the loaf in a zip-top bag once it is cool and keep it in the fridge – have always kept any bread in the fridge. It has kept a week or more. The loaves are not as big as the store bought stuff. The recipe says 1.5 pound size, but it is much denser than store bread. It is SO easy! 5 minutes to dump stuff in the metal container. 3 hours later dump the loaf out and let it cool. Watch at thrift stores for the machines!

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Julie April 13, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Wonderful! Thanks for the info!

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Sara Tetreault April 13, 2012 at 10:55 am

Julie! These look great. We always make our salad dressings at home but I’m afraid these croutons probably wouldn’t make it into the salad bowl with the dressing – my teens would think they were appetizers! Thanks for the recipe.

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Julie April 13, 2012 at 11:25 am

You’re welcome. Always happy to share with another salad lover. :)

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Mary April 13, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Hi Julie,

Oh how we love homemade croutons in our house. We often wind up eating them as a snack! I often even use stale bread and they still taste great.

I put a bag in my freezer labeled “stale bread” and toss bread in there that is past it’s prime. When I have time, I take it out of the freezer, let the bread thaw and then cut it up for croutons or whirl it in the food processor for bread crumbs. To the bread crumbs, I often add Italian Seasoning and sea salt and then I’ve go my “seasoned” breadcrumbs on hand whenever I need them. :-)

Have a great weekend.

Love,
Mary

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Christa April 13, 2012 at 3:30 pm

I love croutons, so I’ll be sure to try this recipe — especially for bread that’s a little stale!

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Julie April 14, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Christa, it’s perfect for that. With just three of us in the house we often have several slices or even partial loaves left and this keeps me from tossing them.

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Shannon April 13, 2012 at 11:01 pm

I have a stash of bread waiting to be made into croutons. This is the recipe I use – http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2009/02/my-caesar-salad-part-2/ – the difference is in the cooking. She does 200 degrees for an hour and then a few minutes at 400.

I use all kinds of bread, including hamburger/hot dog buns that are stale. You can cut the buns in half lengthwise so the croutons aren’t so big.

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Julie April 14, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Shannon, I watched PW make those on her show just a week or so ago. I need to try them using her/your baking technique. Thanks for reminding me! And good tip on the buns. How often do you have a leftover hotdog or hamburger bun or two? Almost always!

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femmefrugality April 14, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Yum, yum, yum. I enjoy making my own bread sans bread machine. I’ve got it down to a pretty simple science. Never made croutons before, though! Gonna have to try.

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Julie April 14, 2012 at 7:04 pm

If you make bread without a machine, this will be so easy you won’t believe it.

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Audrey @ Mom Drop Box April 15, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Yum- those look good Julie!

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