Often made from day-old or stale bread, croutons are added to many dishes, most commonly soups and salads, for extra flavor and crunch.
Four ounces of any type of bread will yield between 2 and 3 cups of cubes.
Croutons are readily available in every supermarket, but homemade croutons have much better flavor and texture than store-bought varieties.
When making homemade croutons, first choose what kind of bread to use: day-old baguettes, rustic airy loaves like ciabatta, English muffins, sandwich bread, rosemary bread, even pita all make interesting croutons. There’s no need to remove the crust. Next, choose the size you want the croutons to be; you can cut sandwich bread and pitas into very small croutons (about 1/4-inch dice) and artisan loaves into larger pieces (1/2-inch dice). For a rustic look, simply rip the bread into pieces.
Depending on the texture you like, you can sauté your croutons or bake your croutons. Sautéed croutons have a pleasing crisp-chewy texture and will be irregularly browned. Baked croutons are crunchier all the way through and more uniformly golden.
Try one of these additions to give your croutons extra flavor:
Store homemade croutons in zip-top bags or in airtight foodstorage containers at room temperature for up to three days or in the freezer for several weeks. They also keep in the fridge for several days with only a small loss of crunchiness.