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What are Croutons?
Croutons are a delicious treat that is often added to salads and soups, bringing crunchiness and flavor. They can also be eaten as snacks, and they come in all shapes and sizes, although they are most commonly little cubes, around the size of sugar cubes.
These seasoned breads are usually flavorful and light, and you will often see them if you eat out at restaurants, where they tend to be served incorporated into other meals. Some people also make them at home, with various herbs and spices being used to flavor the croutons.
Croutons are, in their simplest form, a piece of bread that has been fried or baked to make it crispy and crunchy, sucking the moisture out of the bread. Often, other ingredients will be mixed in to flavor the bread, and usually it will be buttered or oiled prior to baking or frying.
Garlic croutons are a particularly common option, but you can make croutons with almost any herb used for flavoring, and they can be tailored to suit various meals. In general, croutons are cut into cubes, but they can also take the form of full slices of bread. These may then be floated on the surface of soup to absorb the liquid.
They are a particularly popular ingredient for Caesar salad, but can be used in many other dishes as well.
The History Of Croutons
Croutons come from France, and they may have been inspired by the French biscotti. The word likely comes from the French croûte, which is literally translated into “crust,” meaning the hard, crunchy part of the bread. A croute originally was a sliced baguette, but over time, this meaning has developed and evolved.
Useful as a means of using up stale bread, croutons quickly became popular, and many people enjoy these as part of their meals even today, in a society that is less conscious of food waste. If you’ve ever eaten croutons, it’s likely that they were made from whole slices of bread, rather than dried-up ends.
Ingredients Of Croutons
Croutons, at their most simple, only need to contain two things:
However, many other ingredients can be added to make croutons more nutritious and interesting, and common variations include things like:
You can add almost any herbs or spices that you enjoy to croutons and they will make a good addition to a meal.
Croutons Nutritional Information
Croutons are generally not considered the healthiest part of any meal, although if you use wholemeal bread, they may be a good way to add fiber to your diet. They aren’t particularly unhealthy, but if you use a lot of fat and fry them heavily, they aren’t a nutritious option.
The same is true if you add a lot of salt to them, as this will make them high in sodium, which could be dangerous. Make sure you are only lightly buttering your croutons before frying or baking them, and moderate the toppings that you add to keep them healthy.
How To Make Croutons
Croutons are made by cutting slices of bread to the desired shape and size – often cubes, but not necessarily. This bread can be stale and dry, or it can be fresh, but dry bread will often work best because there is less moisture in it, so it will fry/bake more effectively.
Once the bread is in the desired size, butter it or toss it in oil, add flavorings, and then add it to the frying pan or put it in the oven. It usually takes about ten minutes for croutons to cook properly, but you can get them out as soon as they have crisped up to your liking.
There are many crouton recipes you can try, so it’s well worth looking around for different, tasty variations. If you love garlic, you might try a few garlic croutons with cheese melted on top for your next salad, or if you’re a fan of heat, spread a little mustard onto the bread.
Croutons are extremely versatile, so there’s no need to stick to one fixed recipe when making these treats – experiment and have fun!
What are croutons?
Croutons are small cubes of bread that are typically used as a garnish or topping on salads and soups.
How are croutons made?
Croutons are made by cutting bread into small cubes and then drying or baking them until they are crispy.
What types of bread make the best croutons?
The best croutons are made from hearty, crusty breads like sourdough or French bread.
Can I make my own croutons?
Yes! Making your own croutons is actually quite easy. Simply cut the bread into small cubes, toss with some olive oil and seasonings, and then bake in a preheated oven until crispy.
How do I store croutons?
Croutons can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
What are some common ways to flavor croutons?
Some common ways to flavor croutons include using different herbs and spices, cheese, or even bacon bits.
Do croutons have to be made from bread?
No, croutons can also be made from other types of starch such as rice or potatoes.
Are croutons healthy?
This is a bit of a controversial topic, as some people believe that croutons are nothing more than empty calories. However, others believe that croutons made from whole wheat bread can actually be quite healthy.
How many calories are in a crouton?
This will depend on the size and type of crouton, but on average, most croutons contain around 25 calories each.
Do croutons go bad?
Croutons technically don't go bad, but they will become stale and hard over time. If your croutons have been stored for more than a few weeks, it's best to just toss them out.
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