Croutons are a delicious way of adding texture and flavor to soups and salads. If you have never heard of croutons, they are basically bread that has been cubed and flavored then re-baked or sautéed until they get a crunchy texture.
How to Store Homemade Croutons Without a Refrigerator
Croutons can be made ahead of time and stored at room temperature in resealable zipper bags or in airtight containers. Croutons that have been properly made and stored will last for 2 weeks at room temperature.
However, the key is to keep the croutons away from moisture and humidity which will affect their texture and taste. So if you are placing them in zipper bags try to squeeze all of the air from the bags.
How to Freeze Homemade Croutons
Freezing homemade croutons is a great way to store your croutons if you use them a lot but don’t always have the time to make them fresh. You can do so by:
- After making your croutons allow them to completely cool.
- Once cooled place them on a baking tray and put them into the freezer until they harden.
- Then remove them from the baking tray and place them into a freezer bag.
- You can defrost when you are ready to use and reheat them in the oven until crispy.
Homemade croutons can be frozen and kept in the freezer for up to one month.
Another method of Freezing Croutons is to simply freeze the bread cubes and then defrost them when you are ready to bake them. Brush the mixture of oil or butter and herbs onto them, then bake or sauté them until golden brown.
How to Easily Make Homemade Croutons
Croutons are very popular in the supermarket, but trust me they are so much better homemade. Plus the great thing about croutons is that they help to utilize leftover bread and prevent wastage.
- 1/2 lb stale (leftover) Bread
- 1/4 cup of melted butter
- 1 clove finely minced garlic
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon of your favorite dried herbs ( I use oregano or thyme)
Tip-Save all the leftover pieces of bread for a week in a zipper bag, in your refrigerator. And then use all the pieces to make the croutons.
- First, prep your bread by cubing them into the size of your choice.
- Then place the cubed bread onto a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer.
- Next, combine all the other ingredients into a bowl.
- Now, using a pastry brush, brush half of the butter mixture onto the bread.
- Then turn the bread over to the other side and brush the other side with the remaining mixture.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Then place the croutons into the oven for 5 minutes, after which take them out of the oven and turn them over.
- And put them back again into the oven for another 5 minutes.
- They will get a beautiful golden brown color.
- If the bread slices are a bit on the thicker side they may need another 5 minutes to get the golden brown color.
Recommendations- To learn how to properly clean a pastry brush, Try reading my article How to clean a pastry/basting brush.
How to use Croutons as Bread Crumbs
If you are running short on bread crumbs, try using Croutons to make Breadcrumbs. Simply place the Croutons into a food processor and pulse until you get the texture of your choice.
Another option that requires a little more manual power is to put the breadcrumbs into a zipper bag and use a rolling pin to crush them into the texture of your liking. If your croutons were unflavored, add the herbs of your choice to the crumbs and combine well.
Other Ways to Use Croutons
Croutons can be used in so many ways. Such as:
- Sprinkling them on the top of macaroni and cheese for a crunch buttery texture.
- Using them in salads such as Caesar or Cobb.
- On top of soups like French Onion.
- Eating just as they are, as a snack.