Ok, so we don’t grow the wheat or make the flour, but I do make some amazing bread with the wheat flour we buy. Last weekend I made French bread, and yesterday some of that became what will be tomorrow’s stuffing for the bird.
Personally, I like homemade croutons and breadcrumbs way better than the store-bought stuff. I think the flavors are fresher, stronger, and you’re not limited to Plain, Italian and Panko. When you’ve got a garden full of herbs and spices you can have any flavor stuffing you want.
But this is Thanksgiving, so there will be no cayenne, lemon peel and cumin bread cubes in the turkey. We’re going straight-up American classic with oversized croutons flavored with sage, rosemary, thyme and a touch of basil. You know, just like the Pilgrims had.
If you haven’t made your own croutons or breadcrumbs, you’re missing out. Making them is dead easy — cut up old bread, toss in oil, toss on herbs, mix, and stick into a warm oven until dry. But don’t let the simplicity of making them fool you, anything you make with these — salads, fried food coatings, casserole toppings, and, of course, stuffing — will be 340% more awesome than it would otherwise. Scientific fact.
Here’s my (not so) secret recipe for amazing croutons:
Homemade croutons for stuffing
Time: Active 10 minutes, Total 2 hours | Yield: 1 quart paper bag full
- ½ loaf of old bread (we used French)
- Olive or vegetable oil
- ½ cup Herbs (we used rosemary, thyme, sage and basil)
- Cut your bread into cubes and put them into a large bowl.
- Chop your herbs into fine pieces with a knife or food chopper.
- Sprinkle a little oil over your bread chunks. A little is better than a lot. You just want enough to get the herbs to stick to the bread. Then add the chopped herbs and mix well.
- Put the bread piece on a baking pan (or pans if you have a lot) and place in a 200° F oven until crunchy throughout — usually 1-2 hours.
- Store the dried bread in a paper bag when you’re not using it. This helps absorb any excess oil on the bread while also keeping it dry and crunchy.
Now that you know the (not so) simple secret to making delicious dried bread croutons and breadcrumbs, go make some yourself. You’ll never go back to the store-bought kind.
(End note: Yeah, I know some people call “stuffing” “dressing,” but I don’t want to confuse it with salad dressing. Call it what you want, it’s still delicious)