These easy, rustic, crunchy homemade vegan croutons are delightfully crispy, crunchy. A perfect addition to any salad or soup! These croutons or mini toasted bread are flavoured with olive oil, herbs and salt.
Croutons are delightful little portions of rebaked bread. These can be seasoned and flavoured with oil or butter, dry herbs and spices as well as cheeses such as parmesan.
The word crouton comes from the French word croûton which means "little crust".
What You Need for this Recipe
This recipe requires two baking trays about 23x33cm (9"x13") big. A mixing bowl, some measuring spoons and a bread knife.
Olive oil - use the best olive oil you can afford.
Herbs - dried oregano and sweet basil. This is where you can let your imagination fly free, pair the herbs and spices with the type of dish you are serving. In this particular case, I opted for sweet basil and oregano to compliment my Roast Tomato Soup.
Garlic powder can be replaced with garlic flakes, garlic granules or onion flakes.
Salt - sea salt gives nice pockets of saltiness on these croutons.
Bread - I used a ciabatta loaf, but any sort of artisanal loaf would work really well. Even thicker slices of sandwich bread (which is designated as toast bread here in New Zealand) would also do really well.
Herbs and Spices - this recipe is really versatile in that you could use pretty much a herb and spice which takes your fancy. I like to think about what herbs and spices on the croutons will complement the dish it is being served with.
Finely grated parmesan can be added to the croutons before baking, for this particular recipe I would add between ½ to ¾ cup of grated parmesan. Take note that adding cheese will reduce the storage time to 3 days.
Step 1 - Preheat the oven to 190°/375F/Gas Mark 5
Step 2 - Dice the bread of choice into blocks between 1 and 2.5cm squared (½" to 1").
Step 3 - Toss the cubed bread with olive oil, herbs and salt until the seasoning is well distributed.
Step 4 - Distribute the cubed and seasoned bread in a single layer on the baking trays. Bake for 10 to 25 minutes, this depends on the size of the crouton, with smaller croutons crisping up much quicker than larger ones. Check the croutons halfway, and give them a flip before returning to the oven. The croutons are done baking when they are golden brown and crispy.
Step 5 - Allow cooling slightly before serving or place in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
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Pro Tips for this Recipe
Ovens: A conventional oven needs to be set at 20°C or 25F higher than a fan-forced or convection oven. Oven temperatures are not consistent, the best way to determine if your oven dial is correct is to use an oven thermometer.
Bakeware: Metal bakeware is superior when it comes to baking biscuits, cookies, brownies, muffins and quick bread, scones, cakes. These heat up and cool down faster than glassware. Glassware is heavier, heats up and cools down slower than metal and are more suited for bread puddings, pies, crisps, crumbles and cobblers.
Check on the croutons fairly often while baking to gauge the progress of the bake which is dependent on the size of the crouton.
All my recipes are currently tested at sea level.
Storage and Freezing
Croutons without cheese can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks, and up to 6 weeks in the freezer.
Croutons originated in France where it first referred to as bread crusts that were cut into small pieces and served with drinks.
Croutons must be stored in an airtight container. They can be stored at room temperature, in the fridge or even frozen.
Yes. Croutons can be frozen. They are best used within 6 weeks of being frozen. Defrost croutons on a paper towel on the counter for about 30 minutes.
Dry or stale bread can be used to make croutons, as long as the stale bread is not mouldy.
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- 450 grams bread sourdough, ciabatta, french loaf
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoons dried sweet basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1½ teaspoons sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 190°/375F/Gas Mark 5.
- Toss the cubed bread with olive oil, herbs and salt until the seasoning is well distributed.450 grams bread, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoons dried sweet basil, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1½ teaspoons sea salt, ¼ cup olive oil
- Distribute the cubed and seasoned bread in a single layer on the baking trays. Bake for 10 to 25 minutes, this depends on the size of the crouton, with smaller croutons crisping up much quicker than larger ones. Check the croutons halfway, and give them a flip before returning to the oven. The croutons are done baking when they are golden brown and crispy.
- Allow cooling slightly before serving or place in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Nutrition information is an estimate. If scaling the recipe remember to scale your cook and bakeware accordingly.