Tuesday, November 09, 2010

VeganMoFo: DIY Croutons in 5 Easy Steps!

Store-bought croutons can be filled with scary ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, MSG, artificial flavors, and even icky preservatives. Moreover, lots of the croutons sitting around on your grocery store shelves are completely un-vegan-friendly.

In order to remedy this situation - and because almost every salad benefits from a few croutons - I've decided to provide a DIY post dedicated solely to these tasty little morsels.

The exact measurements are much less important than you'd think here. In fact, playing with the spice:oil ratio will ultimately lead you to the best croutons to suit your specific tastes.

First: Gather up your ingredients. You'll need some bread, obviously. Go with something you like, whether it's day-old French bread, a hamburger bun, whole wheat sandwich bread, whatever. Olive oil (or melted vegan butter) and dried spices are also required.

Let your imagination run wild when it comes to spices - I'm addicted to Bragg's Organic Sprinkle, but I always add extra garlic and onion powder, basil, paprika, and red pepper flakes to the mix. A dash of cayenne pepper is quite good, too.

Second: Slice your bread. This is where the manual labor aspect of crouton-making really comes alive, but don't let that scare you! It's quite a bit easier if you use a serrated bread knife and/or fresh bread (instead of the stale stuff).

Third: Dump your bread in a large sealable plastic bag or bowl. Coat the bread lightly with olive oil or melted vegan butter, tossing to cover all sides. Now, add spices to your delight - salt and freshly ground pepper included - and shake/toss everything together so that no naked croutons remain. Add a bit more oil/vegan butter if things don't seem to be sticking.

 
Fourth: Grab a rimmed-baking sheet (or two!) and line it with parchment paper. Pour your croutons onto the pan and arrange them in an even layer.

Fifth: Cook croutons at 350 degrees F. for approx. 10-15 mins. - under a watchful eye - shaking them around about half-way through. They're done when slightly browned, or when you like how they look. It's that easy!

Store in a sealable bag or covered container, almost indefinitely. Use in salads, soups, or even for snacking...

7 comments:

  1. Yum, I'll definitely be trying to make my own croutons.

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  2. Home-made croutons are the best, they really kick salad up a notch. I usually burn mine using the stovetop method so this idea is something I've gotta try!

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  3. I always make my own croutons, it's lovely and really simple too! I like your guide :)

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  4. Those crutons look superb. Thanks for the guide

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  5. Yum! Great minds think alike.. I will be making croutons the next time I turn my oven on.. I freeze leftover bread until I get enough for a batch of them...

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  6. The pictures in this post are so beautiful! Great job all around!

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