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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Homemade Croutons - Freshly Baked

I enjoy making things at home. There is a different kind of satisfation to watch raw, basic ingredients come together and turn into something completely different and beautiful. This is true for any activity which provides a creative outlet. Be it cooking or making jewelry or painting, the list is endless.  So, whenever I have an opportunity to make something at home instead of buying it readymade, I try it out. I made tomato bisque recently and we had run out of croutons which are an absolute must, for this dish. So, instead of going to the store, I decided to make them at home. I had some home made bread and presto, I had delicious croutons ready in lesser time than it would have taken to go to the store.


Ingredients
4 - 5 slices of white bread, crusts cut off
1 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste
1 tsp garlic powder (optional)


Method
Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut the slices into cubes, roughly about 3/4 by 1/2 inch rectangles, basically bite size rectangular pieces. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle the garlic powder and salt over these bread cubes. Mix it all together. Bake for about 10 minutes, till the bread is brown and has a toast like texture. Top your favorite soup with these freshly baked croutons.


Tips
You can skip the garlic powder if you want plain croutons. If you want Italian croutons, sprinkle Italian spice mix or if you want spicy croutons, add red pepper flakes. The options are endless.
Keep an eye on the croutons. Ovens vary in cooking time, based on how efficiently they retain heat, so it may brown fast or take additional time.

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