I make croutons all the time now. I love to eat crusty La Brea brand bread but those tapered ends don't work well for sandwiches or even a piece of toast. So, I freeze the bread ends till I have enough to make crunchy, garlicky, herby, oily croutons. Stale or even fresh bread is fine too! I usually make too much and end up snacking on them cause they're so good!
     Slice your bread into the size crouton you want. About an inch is the largest you want to go or they take too long to cook and are cumbersome to chew. Don't worry too much about the shape or size consistency. While evenly sized croutons cook more uniformly, I find the variance in size and crunch a welcomed inconsistency. Yeah, I know the top chefs preach consistency but sometimes you need to break the rules! Think rustic cooking.
     Heat a large pan on medium heat. Add half the olive oil, wait a minute and add the bread. Immediately start mixing the bread so the oil is distributed as much as possible. Drizzle the remaining oil over the top and stir again. Add the rest of the ingredients including garlic powder, herbs, salt and pepper and continue to stir till every piece is visibly covered in herbs and pepper.
     Let the croutons sit in the pan so they start to brown and then stir again. Repeat this process till you have a nice color on the croutons. Be careful not to leave them for too long or they could burn! Once they look good to the eye, transfer them to a preheated oven at 300 degrees and cook for twenty minutes. I just leave them in the same pan but if it's not oven safe then transfer them to a cookie sheet.
     No need to wait till your significant other is home for dinner, just start popping them in your mouth. I eat them right out of the oven to test the crunchiness but honestly that's just an excuse to snack. Once they've cooled down I start dipping them in Caeser Dressing. Good thing my wife doesn't like croutons. More for me!
     These croutons go perfectly with a Caeser Salad. Go the extra mile and add some Parmesan Crisps too.

Ingredients: Serves: 8

  6 Cups Cubed White Crusty Bread (1 inch Cubes Maximum)
  1/3 Cup Olive Oil
  1/2 Tsp Salt
  1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder
  1/2 Tsp Italian Herbs
  1/4 Tsp Black Pepper (Freshly Ground)

Steps: Prep Time: 30 Minutes

Cube Bread
Slice your bread into one inch cubes maximum. The larger the cube, the longer the cook time.
Mix Ingredients
Add half the oil to a large pan on medium heat. Add the bread and mix. Add the rest of oil and mix again. Add the remaining ingredients and mix again.
Brown Bread
Let the bread sit in the pan so it can brown, turning to prevent burning.
When a nice color has been achieved, transfer the croutons to the oven and bake on 300 degrees for twenty minutes. Test for crunchiness and cook longer if needed.
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