Homemade Croutons, Serious Crunch

croutons finished

Follow the hyper-link to a great bread recipe. It is a no-knead bread recipe using a Dutch Oven. Homemade bread is a great choice for homemade croutons since you control the ingredients and avoid the chemical additives found in commercial bread products.

Homemade croutons, in addition to the degree of control you have over what you are putting into your system, you control the texture. Less time in the oven results in s softer crouton. More time in the oven leads to homemade croutons with the serious crunch mentioned in the title. This crunch is a welcome texture when added to your favorite salad or soup.

Another benefit of homemade croutons is you control the varying degrees on flavor. You can try different oils to alter the flavor. Just be careful of the temperature at which the oil burns. Olive oil burns at a lower temperature than, say, vegetable oil. If you choose Olive Oil, the olive oil may scorch; whereas, the vegetable oil may be fine or take longer to bring on the crunch. You can also experiment with different herbs. Once you toss the bread crumbs in oil, dried herbs will adhere to the bread crumbs. One final control you have is any type of shredded cheese you might add. The recipe below opts for a mild Parmesan cheese. You can select a bolder cheese if you prefer a bolder flavor profile.

If you care to know more about bread crumbs, this link provides some background on all things bread crumbs.

If you want to go down the rabbit hole, check out this link. It should take you to a good read that will put you on the homemade band wagon.

Homemade croutons and homemade bread, in general, provide a firm foundation for improving your family’s health and well being.

Homemade Croutons, Serious Crunch

Homemade bread, destined for homemade croutons, delivers serious flavors to these crouton crunchies.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Croutons
Servings: 12 servings
Author: John
Cost: $10.00

Equipment

  • Baking sheets
  • Medium Glass Bowl

Ingredients

  • 2 cups bread day old, roughly torn
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup cheese, parmessan

Instructions

  • In a glass bowl, roughly tear bread to make 2 cups
  • Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat bread crumbs.
  • Add pepper, salt, Parmesan cheese, and garlic powder.
  • Gently stir to coat the bread crumbs.
    croutons mixed
  • Spread seasoned bread crumbs on prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake in a 375 degree oven about 10 minutes or until bread is browned and fragrant.
    croutons finished

Dutch Oven No Knead Bread

This Dutch Oven No Knead Bread is super simple. There are only 5 ingredients and they come together quickly. However, you need to do some planning with this recipe. There is a 12-18 hour rise and another 2 hour rise. This recipe is based on the technique pioneered by Richard Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery in Manhattan.  If you are pressed for time, you can shorten the first rise. The long rise time develops the flavor of the bread, so, you will be sacrificing flavor for time. Choose wisely.

I used a 6 quart Lodge Dutch Oven for this project. I also used a floured piece of Parchment paper rather than flouring a tea towel (I have a mental resistance to using a tea towel for some inexplicable reason). It worked out fine but the exposed parchment paper gets crispy during baking; be careful when using to lift the bread out of the oven.

This is a recipe of patience. Don’t rush this recipe and you will be rewarded with a rustic, artisan-style loaf of home baked bread.

Dutch Oven No Knead Bread

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time21 hrs
Course: Breads
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 Slices
Calories: 197kcal
Author: John

Ingredients

  • 2-1/4 Cups Bread flour
  • 3/4 Cup Rye Flour
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Dry Yeast
  • 1-1/2 Cups Water Cool
  • 1-1/2 Teaspoons Salt

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, whisk together bread flour, rye flour, salt and dry yeast.
  • Add water and stir with a wooden spoon. The dough should come together as a shaggy, sticky dough.
  • Cover and let rise for 12 to 18 hours but no longer than 24 hours.
  • I used parchment paper for this step rather than a tea towel. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured piece of parchment. Use a rubber spatula or bench scraper since the dough will be sticky.
  • Using lightly floured hands, fold the dough over, pivot the parchment paper 180° and repeat three or four times.
  • Turn the entire dough ball over, seam side down, and cover with plastic wrap. place on a wooden cutting board rather than leaving on a cool surface. Let rise for 2 hours.
  • 30 minutes before the end of the second rise, move the top rack of the oven to the lower 3rd of the oven to make room for the Dutch Oven. Fire up the oven to 475° and place the Dutch Oven on the rack to preheat.
  • At the end of the second rise, remove the plastic wrap from the dough, remove the Dutch Oven from the oven, remove the lid. Exercise caution during this step since the oven will be extremely hot.
  • Using the parchment as a caddy, place the dough and parchment in the oven, replace the lid to the Dutch Oven and place it back in the oven.
  • Bake covered for 30 minutes then remove the cover and bake for an additional 15 to 30 minutes until the bread is a beautiful golden brown. (An internal thermometer, inserted in the center of the bread should register 200°.)

***Nutritional NOTE:

Nutritional information should not be relied upon to make dietary decisions. It is provided for informational purposes only; your results could vary significantly from what is listed here.***

Helpful Hints:

Mix well but don’t over-mix. All ingredients should be stirred until they are all incorporated

Don’t overwork the dough. The less you handle the dough, so much the better.

It is helpful to use parchment paper to transfer the dough to the pot.

Be careful when working with the pot and oven. 475° is very hot. Exercise care when handling the Dutch Oven as it comes out of the oven to remove the lid.

Let the bread cool completely. The flavor develops further as the bread cools. Don’t give in to temptation to devour the loaf while still warm.