To complement my potato leek soup, I made homemade croutons--one of those extra foods that are just so easy to purchase at the store without a thought that I could possibly make them almost as easily! But they are truly very easy to make, and are a wonderful addition to soup, salad, or just munching. My photos show croutons made with pumpernickel bread given to us by our sweet neighbor Judy, whom we call our food angel.
Since I didn't use a specific recipe, I'll simply tell you what I did.
I took a loaf of bread--pumpernickel in the photos below, as I said--and tore it into chunks. The size is up to you. Thickly sliced bread yields more nicely shaped croutons, but that's okay. I dumped all the cubes into a large bowl.
I then mixed up some herbs. I started with salt, no more than half a teaspoon for a whole loaf of bread (less if you're watching your salt), then another teaspoon of whatever herbs grab my fancy--garlic powder, oregano, basil, thyme, whatever. I used an herb blend for these pumpernickel croutons.
I melted about two tablespoons of butter, then drizzled that over the bread cubes and gave them a nice toss or two.
Then I spread the cubes evenly into my stoneware jelly roll pan, and placed them in a hot oven, about 400 degrees F.
After about ten minutes, I checked the croutons, tasted for crunch, and decided they needed to toast a little more so they would dry out a little more and be nice and crunchy. They get a little browned on the edges; this is just fine! I baked them about 7-8 minutes more, and declared them done. They sure were yummy on our potato leek soup! They were also delicious on my veggie salad, with a chunked hard-boiled egg thrown in.
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