Tag Archives: Bread

Waste Nothing: Home-made Croutons

Dear Franchu,

Over the past couple of weeks I have been having terrible luck in the kitchen, more specifically with the oven. It is like every time I put anything in there, it will inevitably come out terrible. The dough never cooks enough, so return it to the oven to then over-cook it, the top is never brown enough, so then I have to put in on grill mode. Long story short, that is why I have had no desserts to post about. I have attempted to make: 2 types of granola bars, 2 crumbles, 1 bread, and 3 cakes. All of them have been one failure, after the other (and I can never throw food away, so we sit and eat it little by little, until it is gone…) But in this post I am going to share with you one of my success stories, in recycling a baked bread gone dry into a little something wonderful.

Last weekend was Easter, and for Easter we make this special bread in Greece called “Tsoureki”. Tsoureki is very similar to your Challah, and a more distant cousin of brioche. At any rate, this bread needs to rise 3 times before baking, and is one of the most finicky baked goods anyone can prepare. If the slightest thing goes wrong, you have 2 whole loaves of tsoureki gone bad. But I decided – what the heck, let me go for it anyway, in the spirit of Easter! My tsoureki was the thickest/most dense bread in hte history of baking, Scandinavian rye bread was more airy than this piece of work! So, in this post I will not share the recipe with you, as it did not come out. What I will show, is how to make your own home-made croutons with any left over bread you may have around. It salvaged the tsoureki I had made, and actually turned it into some of the most delicious croutons I have had. Trust me, after this, you will never buy croutons again!

my beautiful work pre-baking, lost completely in the bake!

CROUTONS A LA MATINA

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 loaf bread
  • 3/4 cup oil (6 tbsp olive & 6 tbsp veg.)
  • 3 crushed cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp rosemary
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp thyme (i had sage, so this time I used sage)
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper/or chili powder(optional)
  • Salt and Pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 325˚F (220˚C).
  2. In a small bowl combine all the dried spices.
  3. Cut the loaf of bread into thick cubes, and place the cubes into a baking dish.
  4. In a slow steady stream drizzle olive oil. Stop every now and then, toss to check if all chunks are lightly coated in oil. Keep adding and tossing until all pieces of bread are lightly coated.
  5. Sprinkle spices over the bread cubes, stir thoroughly, but gently making sure not to break up cubes. Add plenty of salt and pepper.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven, toss, return to oven. Keep up this process until you bread cubes have turned into crisp golden brown croutons. (20-30 mins)

Delicious over soup, salad, and anything else you may use croutons for!

Note: You can make this using any kind of spice mix(I used to make this with only Italian seasoning), but I love the sweetness of the bread mixed with the really earthy flavors of oregano, thyme, rosemary, and a little kick at the end of the cayenne pepper.

Post script: We traditionally dye eggs red for Easter Sunday. This year, as I was going to spend it away from Greece, I decided to take the initiative and dye them myself. Feeling a little more ecological than usual, I decided that I was going to dye them naturally, in beetroot juice… (they came out chocolate brown, instead of bright red) Conclusion: Always buy artificial food coloring for dyeing your eggs on Easter!

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