If you’re throwing away bread when it becomes too stale to eat, stop it now! Make homemade croutons instead. You can even put your staling bread in the freezer, and simply defrost it when you need it.
Bread is one of the most commonly wasted foods in households across the world. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, one-third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted every year, with bread being a significant contributor. But did you know that you can turn your stale bread into a delicious and versatile ingredient? Enter homemade croutons!
What are croutons?
Croutons are small, crispy pieces of bread that are commonly used as a topping for salads or soups. While store-bought croutons are readily available, making them at home is incredibly simple and much more sustainable. By using up old bread that would otherwise go to waste, you can save money. You’ll also help reduce the amount of food waste generated by your household.
To make homemade croutons, all you need is stale bread, olive oil, salt, and any other seasonings you desire. Simply cut the bread into bite-sized cubes, and toss them with the oil and seasonings until evenly coated. Then, spread them out on a baking tray and bake in the oven until crispy and golden brown. That’s it!
How can I use homemade croutons?
One of the best things about homemade croutons is their versatility. You can flavour them in endless ways, from classic garlic and herbs to spicy chilli flakes. Or even make sweet croutons with cinnamon and sugar, for example. Plus, you can make them from any type of bread, whether it’s sourdough, whole wheat, or even gluten-free.
This recipe is the most basic version, but you can liven them up any way you see fit!
Not only are homemade croutons a great way to reduce food waste, but they also add a delicious crunch and texture to any dish. Toss them on top of a Caesar salad or a hearty soup – like this roasted red pepper and chilli soup – for an extra burst of flavour and texture. You could also use them as an extra topping for mac and cheese, or as a crunchy addition to a charcuterie board.
In addition to being tasty and sustainable, making homemade croutons could also be a fun activity to do with kids, or with friends. Get creative with your seasoning combinations and experiment with different bread types to find your perfect recipe.
In summary, homemade croutons are a delicious and sustainable solution to bread waste. By using up old bread that would otherwise go to waste, you can not only save money but also help reduce the amount of food waste generated by your household. Plus, they’re versatile, easy to make, and add a delicious crunch to any dish. So, the next time you find yourself with stale bread, consider turning it into homemade croutons instead of throwing it away. Your taste buds (and the planet) will thank you.
- 200 g stale bread cut into cube-shaped chunks about 1-2 cm across
- 4 tbsps olive oil extra virgin is best
- sea salt generous pinch
- black pepper generous pinch
- heat your oven to gas mark 4 (180C / 350F)
- place the bread pieces on a baking tray
- drizzle with olive oil, and season
- toss the bread until it's well-coated with the oil and seasoning. It's bit messy, but for best result, get stuck in and use your hands!
- cook the croutons for 20 – 25 minutes, until the croutons are crisp, brown and evenly cooked
- either serve them straight away with soup or other hot dishes, or let them cool to use in salads or to eat as a tasty snack. Homemade croutons will keep in the fridge for several days and you can easily reheat them in the oven if required