It's easy to make homemade croutons for your soup or salad with day-old bread. No need to turn on the oven; you can make these croutons in about 10 minutes on the stovetop.
- French or Italian loaf bread, or a French baguette, at least a day old
- 3 to 4 tablespoons butter
1 Cut the bread into cubes: Cut the bread into even-sized cubes, about 3/4-inch to an inch wide. A loaf will yield about 8 cups of cubed bread (give or take a couple cups, depending on the size of the loaf).
2 If the bread isn't dry enough, put it in a warm oven: Your bread should be a little dry, at least a day old if you are using French or Italian loaf or a baguette. You don't want the bread cubes to be all dried out, just a little dry on the surface so that they brown better, and they hold up better when tossed in a salad or baked in a stuffing.
If the bread cubes are not dry enough, spread them out on a baking sheet and put them in a warm oven (200°F or 90°C) for about 10 minutes.
3 Brown croutons in butter in sauté pan: Melt the butter on medium high heat in a large sauté pan. Add the croutons and mix them up in the butter so they get lightly coated. Spread the croutons out in a single layer in the pan.
Then don't stir them until they start to brown on one side. Once they start to brown, use a metal spatula to lift them up and turn them over, so more sides brown. When the croutons are at least a little toasted on a couple of sides, remove from heat.
If storing, let cool completely before putting in an airtight container. Otherwise the steam released from the warm croutons will take away their crunch.