Monday, April 28, 2008

Tasty Croutons and Breadcrumbs

We love fresh baked bread and we buy it almost daily. Our favorite is the baguette. Nothing is more tantalizing than the smell of the baguette as it is being taken out of the oven. We often tend to accumulate bits of old bread. So, instead of tossing out the old bread I turn it into something more appetizing, like croutons and breadcrumbs. My suggestion is to collect the odds and ends in a paper bag. If you have a cloth bread bag, the just leave the pieces in there to dry thoroughly. I don't recommend leaving the old bread in a plastic bag because if there is any moisture left, the bread will become moldy. Once you have collected a reasonable amount, then follow the recipe and you will have great tasting breadcrumbs and croutons which will keep for a long time in the refrigerator. While we use french bread, any bread will do. The croutons are so tasty that my kids have taken to eating them as a snack. It seems that I make croutons about once a week. We use up the croutons quite quickly and take our time using up the breadcrumbs. Originally, the primary reason for the recipe was making flavored breadcrumbs, but now I make it for the flavored croutons and the breadcrumbs are the bonus.


  • old bread -enough to cover a cookie sheet
  • 2tsp of garlic powder
  • 2tsp of onion powder
  • 1 tbsp of dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp of dried italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil (will give you a really rich taste)
  • 1 gallon size ziplock bag or larger
  • meat tenderizer gadget or mallet
  • one cookie sheet covered with heavy foil
  • food processor


  1. Place the bread pieces in the ziplock bag(s) and zip the bag(s)
  2. Place the bag(s) on a cutting board, break the bread using the meat mallet. Use the flat part. You will need to turn the bag(s) at least once to get all the pieces broken. The goal is to get the pieces to about bit size. The rest of the work will be done by food processor for the bread crumbs.
  3. Transfer the pieces and crumbs to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Thoroughly mix the garlic, onion, oregano and parsley all together in a small bowl.
  5. Sprinkle the mix over the bread pieces. Use a spatula and mix the seasonings into the bread
  6. The olive oil needs to be sprinkled a bit at a time into the bread pieces. If you pour it or spread too much over too little bread, then some of the croutons will be too oily and the other pieces too dry. As you sprinkle the oil, keep turning the mixture to ensure uniform coating of the bread. Not all the pieces will be coated, but there will be enough oil that as the mixture sits, everything should be coated enough.
  7. Let the mixture sit for about 30 minutes and give it a few turns during this time.
  8. Heat the oven to 400F.
  9. Place the bread on the cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes. if you have a timer, I would recommend using it since the croutons can burn quite quickly if you don't keep an eye on them. Take it out and mix the bread around.
  10. Return to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes. The length of the baking will depend on how brown you like the croutons.
  11. Remove from the oven and let the bread cool.
  12. For the croutons, remove the large pieces and store in a air tight container. Use as needed.
  13. To make the breadcrumbs, place the leftover pieces in the food processor and grind the pieces up. Use the pulse mode and check the consistency of the breadcrumbs. You don't want to over process the breadcrumbs or you will have mush.
  14. Remove from the food processor and place in an airtight container.
  15. Store them in the refrigerator.
  16. If the bread covered the cookie sheet, this will yield about a quart of croutons and one quart of breadcrumbs.
  17. I use these breadcrumbs for my Italian turkeyball and mushroom sauce turkeyball recipes.
  18. I use the croutons for salads especially the cesar salad.

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